Winter Institute Session Aims to Stir Booksellers’ Passions

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The 2011 Winter Institute education session “Linked by Passion: Growing Sales Through Local Retail Partnerships” will examine the positive marketing and sales potential of various cross-promotion efforts among local business. The session will combine the insights and experiences of an indie bookseller with that of the branding and identity firm Brains on Fire (BOF), which in 2008 helped the American Booksellers Association launch the IndieBound movement.

Representing Brains on Fire will be the firm’s “Chief Inspiration Officer,” Greg Cordell, who worked closely with many indie booksellers and ABA in fashioning IndieBound. Cordell is certain that success begins with passion, especially in the case of independent booksellers. “Passion is the link, because without it, you’re just spitting campaign messages into the wind,” he said. “You can call anything a movement, but real movements are led and supported by people who rally as a community to take ownership of a message and a cause.”

Lisa Winn, ABA’s education manager, noted that the panel would integrate BOF’s insights on building enthusiasm and participation with the bookseller’s experience and knowledge regarding all aspects of starting and building viable local retail partnerships.

Cordell believes booksellers have a huge opportunity. “If there’s one group of business leaders that should get value in the lessons shared in this session, it is indie booksellers,” he said. “Independent booksellers have always been venues of community and influence, and most of their relationships have been built on word of mouth.”

Brains on Fire encourages booksellers to look beyond traditional marketing strategies to create retail relationships, and instead, have conversations about “support, inspiration, engagement, and celebration,” Cordell said. “It’s about doing something together that we both care about and want to grow. Grow your community to grow your business.” 

Cordell hopes session participants will become engaged in the challenge of creating a movement that will grow sales for both the bookstore and the bookstore’s retail partners.

“Building a word-of-mouth movement is hard work,” he said. “There is no magic button, no channel to turn to or app to download. It’s not for the passive, but the reward is your customer’s love for the value you bring into their lives.”

The Winter Institute – sponsored by the Ingram Content Group – will be held from January 19 - 21, 2011, in Washington D.C. Watch for the complete Wi6 schedule in next week’s BTW.

Winter Institute event registration and the host hotel, the Crystal Gateway Marriott, are both currently booked to capacity. ABA members who would like to add their names to the event and/or hotel waiting list should e-mail ABA’s Member Relationship Managers, Kaitlin Pitcher and Elizabeth Nichols. As cancellations are received, spaces will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Booksellers registered for Wi6 who are no longer planning to attend and those with hotel reservations that are no longer needed are also asked to contact ABA’s Member Relationship Managers so waiting booksellers can fill their places.