Midwest Booksellers Invited to ABA Forum & Education Program

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The American Booksellers Association is inviting bookstore owners and staff in the Midwest to a Booksellers Forum on Saturday, March 11, at the Clarion Hotel in Bloomington, Minnesota. The event, which features an education component, is being held in conjunction with the Midwest Booksellers Association (MBA) Spring Meeting. All members of MBA and ABA are welcome to participate in the free program. The event also coincides with the Minneapolis Spring Gift Show, which runs from March 11 to 14.

"The Spring Meeting offers booksellers a number of different opportunities, and we hope they will come for the publisher contact, for the networking, and for the invaluable education afforded by ABA," said MBA Executive Director Susan Walker.

ABA's forum program encourages discussion of regional as well as national issues affecting independent booksellers. In addition, ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz, Director of Membership Marketing Meg Smith, and ABA Board member Collette Morgan of Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis 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 programs and initiatives of the association.

To begin the day, an MBA session, from 9:00 a.m. - 12:50 p.m., will offer booksellers an opportunity to meet with six to eight publishers and commissioned sales reps. "We're not trying to do a mini trade show," explained Walker. "We want to give booksellers an opportunity to meet face-to-face with a group of sales reps, so they can get more information on new and forthcoming books."

From 1:00 p.m. - 1:50 p.m., MBA will hold a lunch/roundtable discussion on training staff, which, Walker noted, "is a perennial issue for booksellers."

Following the luncheon, from 2:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., will be the ABA session "Increasing Margin: An Advanced Course in Growing Your Bottom Line," presented by Domnitz. Intended for booksellers already familiar with principles of inventory management, "Increasing Margin" compares and contrasts a profitable and unprofitable bookstore. Topics include controlling product mix, direct versus wholesale ordering, electronic ordering, understanding the value of early payment discounts, managing seasonal title orders, and more.

The ABA Booksellers Forum, to be held from 4:45 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., will be moderated by Domnitz, Smith, and Morgan. Booksellers are invited to ask questions, express opinions, and share concerns with ABA and their bookseller colleagues.

An ABA- and MBA-sponsored cocktail reception, which begins at 6:30 p.m., caps the day. The reception will provide valuable networking time with ABA and MBA staff and bookseller colleagues. There will be hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar.

To adequately plan for handouts and the reception, 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/MBA Bookseller Forum should be directed to Petrie.

Questions and requests for information about MBA may be directed to the MBA office at (800) 784-7522, [email protected], or visit www.midwestbooksellers.org.

The Minneapolis Gift Mart (UMAGA) Spring Gift Show will feature exhibits at the Gift Mart showrooms at the Sheraton Hotel (formerly Radisson Hotel South) in Bloomington and in Minnetonka. Only UMAGA members may attend the Gift Show. Information is available at www.mplsgiftmart.com or by calling (800) 626-1298. Booksellers can also register on site at the Gift Mart or Sheraton. Business ID is required. --Karen Schechner