Great Lakes Booksellers Association
Trade show meets Fri., Oct. 3—Sun., Oct. 5, at the Hyatt Regency, Dearborn, Mich.
This year Great Lakes booksellers return to historic Dearborn and the Hyatt Regency for their 14th annual trade show. The location was well received last year, with facilities and customer service getting high marks. On Thursday afternoon, members of the board gather for their annual meeting, tentatively followed by an evening soirée hosted by the Friends of the Detroit Public Library.
Show volunteers meet at 8 a.m. Friday to receive their assignments while novice show goers get tips from GBLA staff members at an 8:30 a.m. breakfast. Educational programming starts at 9:30 a.m., and continues through the day. "If it niches, scratch it" is the theme. As in previous years, most sessions are organized on a track system: operations, technology, niche and author. Pick one and stay the course. Round one is the perennial favorite "ideas that work." Everyone is encouraged to start with this thought-provoking exchange led by Terry Whittaker. For the second round, discussions range from niche events to online bookselling technology, from university press books to children's humor titles. The lunch bell rings at 11:30 a.m. for the Great Lakes Book Award Luncheon and Presentation. Post-award entertainment (of sorts!) includes a "spelling bee" sponsored by American Heritage Dictionary. Expert AHD lexicographers work hard to stump the bookstore-publisher teams. Come root with lucky emcee Keith Taylor. The winning team receives a complete set of AHD reference books as does an area literacy organization designated as contest beneficiary. Panels and workshops resume at 2:30 p.m., with more sessions at 3:30 p.m. Third-round, concurrent sessions concentrate on ABA's ABACUS Study, DVDs and CDs, used books and "heartland" authors. Camille DeBoer and Sally Bulthuis of Pooh's Corner conduct a "picks of the picture books" session. The fourth and final round of the afternoon deals with other pertinent issues: Booksense.com co-op, graphic novels and store branding. Then there's a somewhat mysterious program called "above the treetops." A formal autographing session is planned for late afternoon, and the Association of Booksellers for Children plans to hold an hour-long meeting, at 5:15 p.m. Acknowledgement is due: Becky Anderson, Sue Boucher, Susanne DeGaetano, Chris Finan, Willetta Heising, Liz Murphy, Mark Nichols, Jeff Wexler and Rita Williams. Social activities start at 6:15 p.m. with a reception sponsored by Houghton Mifflin. Come celebrate the publication of Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating, with author Ari Weinzweig, co-owner of the famous eatery. There'll be plenty of great food. Save some room for a "moveable feast" of more than 30 authors. Local author and celebrity Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press (The Five People You Meet in Heaven) is keynote speaker. Delicious food, great conversation and a "bag o' books." Who could ask for anything more? Booksellers, of course, who will want to linger and collect favorite authors' signatures.
Baker & Taylor is sponsoring Saturday's 8 a.m. breakfast with the board. Agenda items include the annual membership meeting, new program announcements and a bookseller forum. Saturday is the sole day for exhibits 9:30 a.m.—5 p.m.; no educational programming or autographing sessions are planned. The regional author booth is manned throughout the day. Stop by and say "howdy." At 3 p.m., take a break and head over to the area designated for the hour-long silent auction. Saturday night's line-up is truly special. Festivities start at 6 p.m. with a reception, at which the "Readers of the Great Lakes" poster will be unveiled. Appreciation is given to the following supporters of this important project: Emmis Books and Workman Publishing, Hyatt Regency Dearborn and the Great Lakes Booksellers Association. An hour-long interlude in the form of "reading room" is a part of this celebration. Crime writer Jilliane P. Hoffman (Retribution) and novelist Larry Watson (Orchard) are among the many authors reading from their works. The 7:30 p.m. booksellers banquet is sponsored by Simon & Schuster. A toast honoring the winner and runner-up of the first GBLA "Get Caught Reading" photo contest takes precedence. Much-admired regional authors Haven Kimmel (A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland Indiana) and Jacquelyn Mitchard (Christmas, Present) are featured speakers. Chris Bohjalian (Idyll Banter) joins them. A late-night poker game follows the banquet. Book a place at the gaming table, and get a crack at playing against one of the great poker players—World Series of Poker finalist James McManus. Bar snacks and drink tickets for players and spectators are provided by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Signed copies of Jim's new book Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker will be available for players. It's your deal!
Sunday's children's book and author breakfast features the talented Betsy Lewin, illustrator of best-selling Click, Clack, Moo, its sequel Giggle, Giggle, Quack and the forthcoming Two Eggs, Please. Christopher Paolini (Eragon) and Doug Wood (Old Turtle and the Broken Truth) join her at the head table. Checkout time is 9:30 a.m. Another round of educational programming is planned for those staying the day. Presentations include talks on the Freedom to Read Protection Act campaign and customer service and workshops on selling mysteries and effective sign-making. In a plenary session at 11 a.m., Esmé Raji Codell (How to Get Your Child to Love Reading) and Nancy Pearl (Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason) lead a timely discussion on the independent's role in creating new readers. Hungry? Everyone should bring a bear-like appetite to the cookbook sampler, 12:30—2 p.m., autographing 12:40—2 p.m. The trade show and convention ends at 2 p.m.—but committee and board members stay for a debriefing on what worked and what didn't and outline plans for the 2004 show.
Upper Midwest Booksellers Association
Trade show meets Fri., Oct. 10—Sun., Oct. 12, at the RiverCentre, St. Paul, Minn.
This year's organizers are doing things a bit differently. Weekend activities are centered around the scheduled two-day trade-show exhibit—a major change from last year's traditional one-day set-up. Exhibitors have the option of participating only on Saturday, or on Saturday and Sunday. A color-coded map will guide visitors to publishers and other vendors in their designated day blocks. Plan ahead! Exhibit hours are 10:30 a.m.—5 p.m. Saturday and 9:30 a.m.—2 p.m. Sunday.
On Friday, business starts at noon with an orientation program designed for first-timers. Tenured booksellers and sales reps show the greenhorns the ropes. Educational programming starts at 1 p.m. and ends at 5 p.m. Sessions run concurrently in three adjacent meeting rooms in Touchstone Energy Place at the RiverCentre. Advance registration is requested but not required. The impressive line-up features seminars, workshops and panel discussions on a range of topics. Interested in customer service? Though indie booksellers virtually minted the term "customer service," Jack Mitchell of Connecticut-based clothiers Mitchells/Richards puts a different spin on this elusive concept. In his one-hour presentation, Jack demonstrates a "proven way" to personalize sales and achieve astounding results. His motto—"once a customer, always a friend"—will become yours. Get ready for a little hugging; your customers may notice a new "loveable" you. If time management is high on your list, then David Allen's two-hour seminar is the ticket. David gives practical advice straight from the pages of his book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. Need a refresher course on marketing? Regional show-stomper Jeffrey Stamp is well qualified to instruct. He is the co-author of Meaningful Marketing: Selling More with Less Effort. Pay attention during his 3 p.m. seminar: there's a quiz later. Several 45-minute panel discussions fill out the agenda. Topics include inventory management and returns, buying practices, newsletter production and co-op, used-book pricing and sidelines. In between, take time to catch up with recent developments at the American Booksellers Association. In separate sessions, ABA staff members present an overview of the ABACUS Survey, clarify the new Book Sense gift-card program and explain ABA's online tools and resources, including its electronic book buyer's handbook. Thanks goes to Avin Domnitz, Jill Perlstein and Jeff Wexler for their fine presentations. On Friday night, a lively kick-off is promised, with hors d'oeuvres and cash bar. The official welcome reception, sponsored in part by Ingram Book Co. starts at 6 p.m. A "poker party" is also in the works, compliments of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, promoting author James McManus and his new book Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker. Feelin' lucky? Sign up to play, and win a big pile of chips. Sorry—no real money here, just a lot of fun.
At 7:30 p.m. on Saturday morning, the annual UMBA Book and Author Breakfast highlights regional talents Roger A. MacDonald (A Country Doctor's Casebook), Shannon Olson (The Children of God Go Bowling), Susan Allen Toth (Leaning into the Wind: A Memoir of Midwest Weather), Larry Watson (Orchard) and Kathy-Jo Wargin and Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen (The Edmund Fitzgerald: Song of the Bell). Advance ticket purchase is a must. An hour-long general membership meeting is scheduled for 9:15 a.m., at which Avin Domnitz and Oren Teicher will talk about Book Sense and Booksense.com, Internet sales tax initiatives, BookExpo America and more. An update of the ABFFE activities is also planned. All welcome. Doors open to the Roy Wilkins Auditorium at 10:30 a.m. Much like last year, the standing order for the day is "focus on the books." Networking opportunities abound with more than 400 publishers and vendors represented. Holiday catalogues are available at the special UMBA display—look for the banner. There is no educational programming planned. However, there is a surprise in store. Formal autographing sessions are back by popular demand! Autographing hours: 1—4 p.m. Publishers are invited to have authors at their booths or tables for the day as well. The Radisson Riverfront Hotel is the site of the book and author dinner, with a cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m. sponsored by Adventure Publications. Dinner follows at 7:30 p.m. Dinner tickets must be purchased in advance. General admission tickets are available for those unable to make dinner, or who plan to come late but are still interested in hearing the speakers. "A world of things imagined, myth and mystery" is the theme that guest authors Thomas Cahill (Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter), Diana Gabaldon (Lord John and the Private Matter), Malachy McCourt (The Claddagh Ring: Ireland's Cherished Symbol of Friendship), Anne Perry (No Graves as Yet) and Walter Wangerin Jr. (The Crying for a Vision) will address as each takes a turn at the podium. A truly magical night!
At Sunday morning's 17th Annual Children's Book and Author Breakfast, Esmé Raji Codell (How to Get Your Child to Love Reading; Sahara Special) joins Paula Danziger (Amber Brown Is Green with Envy), Jane Dyer (Little Brown Bear Won't Go to School!), Kevin Henkes (Olive's Ocean) and Doug Wood (Old Turtle and the Broken Truth) at the main table. Complimentary signed copies will be available, the same as at all breakfast and dinner programs. At 9:30 a.m., everyone hits the floor. Autographing hours: 10 a.m.—12 noon. Lunchtime comes so soon! Columnist and novelist Jacquelyn Mitchard (Christmas, Present) is the keynote speaker at the Second Annual Authors Lunch and Moveable Feast. At this sure-to-be-entertaining event more than 20 special authors will join booksellers for conversation. The weekend winds down at 2 p.m.; before then, remember to submit your orders to win prizes at the "Place Those Orders!" Raffle. You can go home a real winner!