Mountains & Plains Booksellers Association
Trade show meets Thurs., Oct. 2—Sun., Oct. 5, at the Marriott Denver Tech Center, Denver, Colo.
As if to disprove the proverb, "there is no new thing under the sun," organizers of this year's MPBA trade show have put together another great line-up of educational programs and special events. Registration opens on Wednesday afternoon, 2—5 p.m. Educational programming is scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Thursday is focused on bookselling basics. The day starts off (early! at 8 a.m.) with a brief session on how to work with sales and telemarketing reps. Derek Lawrence of Corvus Publishers, Eric Boss of the Penguin Group USA and Kathy Westover of Bookworm of Edwards give their advice. At 9 a.m., ABA's Len Vlahos and MPBA's Bob Sommer conduct a three-part seminar on technology as a bookselling tool. In-depth presentations and live demonstrations dealing with technology and productivity, online resources and data analysis, and Web site marketing and profitability make up the three-hour course. Everyone—including technophobes—should ask questions! At noontime, grab a sandwich, and scurry over to a workshop on basic bookstore operations aimed at small-to-medium sized bookstores. It starts at 12:30 p.m. At this afternoon-long workshop, Kathy Westover joins Catherine Weller of Sam Weller's Books to discuss the ins and outs of inventory management. There's only one other program on the bill—the essential "how to work the show" at 4:15 p.m. Off the Beaten Path's Leslie Ryan and other show pros share tips and techniques with rookies. The day ends at 5 p.m.
Exhibitor set-up runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. Educational programming continues to be the focus for everyone else. Friday's sessions immerse booksellers in effective marketing techniques, in-store genre development and reading group management. At 8 a.m., Jeffrey Stamp, co-author of Meaningful Marketing, Selling More with Less Effort, brings his high-energy, interactive presentation style to the topic, so be ready to participate. Don't know much about comic books or graphic novels? In a panel discussion slated for 9:45 a.m., enthused booksellers and publishers divulge tips on selling this increasingly popular genre—and to attract that hard-to-convert customer, the young male reader. Join ABFFE's Chris Finan at 11 a.m. as he shares the latest news about the Freedom to Read Protection Act campaign. Stick around for the full hour. The program includes a screening of Reading Your Rights, a new documentary about the landmark case involving the Tattered Cover. Break for lunch at noon, and get together with reps to check out the "pick of the lists." It's a new day and time slot for this much-anticipated rally. Reps get 15 minutes each to hawk their favorite titles and their holiday catalogue picks. It's an invaluable opportunity for booksellers who do not ordinarily receive rep visits. Meanwhile, in another room, Adam Olson and Mike Vella of Baker & Taylor talk about the advantages of their company's proprietary products, TitleSource and TitleSource II, followed by a q&a. Vintage and Anchor Books' highly regarded panel discussion on reading groups is at 2 p.m.: a fun-packed hour is guaranteed when authors, booksellers and publishers openly exchange ideas about building on successful reading groups. At 3:15 p.m., ABA's Avin Domnitz presents the results of the ABACUS Study. The MPBA general meeting takes place at 4:15 p.m., followed by a welcome cocktail party at 5:15 p.m. Everyone is invited to the gazebo area to mingle and relax at the cash bar after an exhausting day.
Saturday morning's 7:30 p.m. Author Breakfast for Literacy is open to the public for the first time. Award-winning author and illustrator Peter Sís (The Tree of Life: Charles Darwin) joins honor recipient Joyce Carol Oates (The Tattooed Girl) and other notable writers at this high-profile affair, including Karol Griffin (Skin Deep: Of Tattoos, the Disappearing West, Very Bad Men, and My Deep Love for Them All) and Marisol (The Lady, the Chef, and the Courtesan). Flyers have been posted around town since September touting this event and tickets are hot. Reserve now to guarantee a place at a table. Proceeds go to MPBA's literacy programs. Exhibit halls open at 9:30 a.m., with staggered closings for lunch: Columbine Center Exhibit Hall (noon—1 p.m.) and Evergreen Ballroom Exhibit Hall (1—2 p.m.). Autographing sessions are scheduled at 10 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.; check announcements for designated rooms. The MPBA board violates the general rule against Saturday educational programming, and offers a mid-day seminar. Community activist and Austin-based bookseller Steve Bercu presents the findings of a recent report on the economic impact of locally owned businesses using his store as model. Take a break from the floor, and come to this important session. The rest of the afternoon is spent in jammed aisles, or at crowded snack bars talking about books. Doors close at 5 p.m. The Saturday Night Reception is sponsored by Baker & Taylor; the cases of wine are compliments of Bloomberg Press, publisher of Paul Dolan's True to Our Roots, Fermenting a Business Revolution. Eat, drink, and be merry. Evening highlights include the presentation of the Gordon Saull Bookseller of the Year and Sales Rep of the Year Awards, followed by author autographings (new this year).
Sunday is a short day, beginning with the Children's Author and Illustrator Breakfast for Literacy starring award-winning author and illustrator Rosemary Wells (The Small World of Binky Braverman) and illustrator Betsy Lewin (Two Eggs, Please), both enormously admired in the children's books world. This event, like Saturday's breakfast, is open to the public. Exhibit halls open at 9 a.m. Autographing sessions are scheduled at 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Attendees have a few hours to visit vendors, trade stories, and catch up with colleagues. The show closes at 1 p.m.