SCIBA/ABA Spring Meeting 'Very Informative'

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

On Tuesday, April 17, the American Booksellers Association held an education program and ABA Booksellers Forum & Strategic Planning Session in conjunction with the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association (SCIBA)'s Spring Meeting at the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel in Long Beach, California. The free program was facilitated by ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz and COO Oren Teicher.

Lisa Stefanacci of The Book Works in Del Mar, California, told BTW that she bought her bookstore only a year ago and that this was the first ABA event she has attended. "It was great -- very informative," she said. "I think it was very helpful all around."

The day kicked off with ABA's "Participating in the Digital Revolution," where ABA's Domnitz demonstrated how technology is changing the way people interact and acquire and use information. Among the topics he discussed at the session was the digitization of content, social networking, open source, and print-on-demand, and how they affect independent booksellers today, as well as their ramifications for the future. He also discussed how booksellers can market themselves utilizing MySpace, Second Life, and blogs.

After attending the Digital Revolution session, Stephanie Thomas of Martha's Bookstore in Balboa Island, California, reported: "I think [the bookstore] will get a MySpace page now. It's an interesting concept that would never have occurred to me."

"It was absolutely amazing, overwhelming, scary," said Candace Moreno of San Marino Toy & Book Shoppe in San Marino, California, who explained that, from her experience conducting book fairs, she understands that kids are completely immersed in the online world. "The presentation was fantastic. It was easy enough to follow."

Stefanacci echoed these sentiments. "We need to put ourselves in the middle of things ... You really need to have a strong digital presence.... I am extremely inspired."

Following the digital session, Domnitz and Teicher presented a look at ABA's programs and gathered booksellers' feedback to help in formulating the next ABA Strategic Plan. "They first talked about the definition of what an ABA member is -- and whether to expand or restrict that definition," Stefanacci reported.

Stefanacci noted that there was also a discussion regarding the complexities of co-op, and that Domnitz suggested that perhaps it might be worthwhile to create an educational workshop on co-op.

Following ABA's forum, SCIBA hosted a workshop, "Sales Reps' Pick of the Lists" for spring, summer, and a peek at fall, an opportunity to speak with reps one-on-one at exhibit tables. "I always think the Rep Picks are great -- very informative," said Thomas.

Stefanacci said the Picks "were worth the entire trip -- you hear from your colleagues [about certain titles], and they tell you whether or not it's selling."

The day concluded with cocktails and conversation with Andrea Portes, the author of Hick (Unbridled), a May Book Sense Pick, and with the SCIBA Board of Directors.

Overall, the SCIBA/ABA Spring Meeting, said Thomas, made for "a pleasant day." --David Grogan