The American Booksellers Association is starting off the new year in their new offices on a high note with strong sales for indies, according to CEO Oren Teicher. In a letter to membership in this week’s Bookselling This Week, he noted that sales for independents were up almost 8%, based on unit sales for 500 stores reporting to the Indie Bestseller List.

“I don’t for one second underestimate the myriad challenges we continue to face — and I appreciate that the increases in sales did not happen in every store — but the fact is that 2012 was a good year for independent bookstores in the United States,” Teicher noted. He also indicated that online sales for independents using the Indie Commerce platform have grown, up 28%. And the numbers for Kobo e-readers and e-books are “encouraging.”

In other news, ABA announced that the bookseller hotel will be back at this year BookExpo America. The Grand Hyatt New York at 42nd Street and Grand Central Station is offering ABA booksellers a special rate. Those who register before April 1 will be automatically entered in a drawing for free hotel nights, courtesy of BEA.

And ABA is readying its annual Spring Forums, which will kick off in Atlanta on March 15 in conjunction with the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance at the GABBS Atlanta at AmericasMart. This year’s educational component will focus on “The Top 10 Things You Must Do Now!” It is based on a soon-to-be-released survey of creative ideas that booksellers have successfully tried in all areas: marketing and promotion, finances, store operations, human resources, inventory, ambiance, and customer service.