Forum Tour Heads to MPBA Spring Meeting

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The American Booksellers Association's 2006 Booksellers Forum Tour continues with a forum and educational programming held in conjunction with the Third Annual Mountains & Plains Booksellers Association (MPBA) Spring Meeting, to be held from February 23 to 25, at the Marriott Denver Tech Center. All members of MPBA and ABA -- owners and staff -- are welcome to participate in the free program.

ABA's forum program format encourages discussion of regional as well as national issues affecting independent booksellers. In addition, ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz, COO Oren Teicher, and Board member Cathy Langer of Denver's Tattered Cover Book Store will provide an update on the association's many programs and initiatives. Over the years, these forums have provided ABA with very constructive member input and have been indispensable in shaping future programs and initiatives of the association.

Along with the ABA forum and educational programs, the MPBA Spring Meeting offers a rich mixture of sale reps' Pick of the Lists presentations of spring and summer titles; "workman-like exhibits"; time set aside exclusively for rep/bookseller meetings; an MPBA Forum; educational seminars; roundtable discussions; the Brown Bag Author Lunch, and the Regional Book Awards Banquet.

The Spring Meeting kicks off with a Welcome Reception on Thursday evening from 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., which is sponsored by HarperCollins to honor Thrity Umrigar and her Book Sense bestselling novel, The Space Between Us. Umrigar will speak briefly and sign copies of her book.

On Friday morning, events begin in the Aspen Amphitheater with the ABA Forum/Continental Breakfast, held from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. The forum is the venue to ask questions, express opinions, and share concerns with your bookseller colleagues. Domnitz, Teicher, and Langer will answer questions and discuss many issues of concern to independent booksellers. The exhibit hall will open following the forum.

From 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., ABA Board member Gayle Shanks of Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona, will moderate the ABA educational session "Buying, Selling, and Managing Gifts, Sidelines, and Other Non-Book Products." This session will discuss how the judicious use of gift and other non-book items can help propel a store into the black. Attendees will hear about the merits of adding gift items to the product mix, as well as basic principles of buying, merchandising, and selling gift items. Booksellers will learn how to create a non-book budget, how to create an "open-to-buy," how to deal with items that don't sell, and where to find gift and other non-book items. In addition, Shanks will address how to find a non-book buyer with the right sensibility, best merchandising practices, how to measure success, and more.

ABA members are invited to schedule short, private meetings (beginning at 2:15 p.m. on Friday) to discuss issues related to their store's operations with ABA's Domnitz. Those interested in setting up a meeting should contact Domnitz at [email protected].

On Saturday, February 25, at 10:15 a.m., Domnitz will present the seminar "E-mail Newsletters," which will discuss how to use e-mail newsletters to communicate with customers, further marketing goals, and drive traffic to websites and stores.

Following the "Brown Bag Lunch --The Best thing I Did in My Store This Year" will be the session "Improving Efficiency to Increase Sales," presented by ABA's Domnitz. This seminar will show booksellers how to use their time more effectively, make their staff more productive, and implement efficiencies throughout the store. Intended for owners and senior staff of bookstores of all sizes, the session will focus on how to streamline routine functions so that more time and energy can be devoted to achieving the goals booksellers have set for their store.

To adequately plan for handouts, lunches, and room assignments, ABA asks booksellers to contact Margaret Petrie at [email protected] or (800) 637-0037, ext. 6614, if they plan to attend. Booksellers are encouraged to contact ABA staff prior to the show with questions, suggestions, or comments. General questions and requests for information about the ABA/MPBA Bookseller Forum should be directed to Petrie.

Questions and requests for information about MPBA may be directed to the MPBA office at (800) 752-0249, [email protected], or visit