Mid-South Independent Booksellers Association/Mid-South Independent Booksellers for Children

Trade show meets Thurs., Sept. 9—Sun., Sept. 12, at the Hyatt Regency, New Orleans, La.

After a year's absence, MSIBA returns to New Orleans, where "laissez le bon temps rouler," or "let the good times roll," is the slogan of natives and visitors alike. MSIBA booksellers have a motto of their own—"big enough to matter, small enough to care." Combine the two adages, and you have the makings of a superlative trade show. The hotel, located in the heart of downtown, is the main site of the four-day event. Educational programming starts Thursday at 1 p.m. with a two-hour seminar on bookstore profitability. ABA CEO Avin Domnitz guides booksellers through a step-by-step plan to increase sales and gross margin, reducing payroll costs and occupancy expenses. "Organize to maximize" is the maxim of the 3 p.m. workshop. Participants get clues on how to increase professional efficiency and personal effectiveness. At 5 p.m., publishers strut their stuff at a show 'n' sell highlighting the best of the fall lists. Afterward, hail a cab or horse-drawn buggy and head uptown to Octavia Books for an evening of camaraderie. Owners Judith and Tom Lowenburg host the official kickoff party at their beautifully designed bookstore, with local concoctions served on the patio.

At 7:45 a.m. on Friday morning, MSIBC cooks up a picture book and pancake breakfast featuring children's book authors Peter McCarty (T Is for Terrible), D.B. Johnson (Henry Works) and Cece Bell (SockMonkey Boogie-Woogie: A Friend Is Made). Tickets are required for meal events; plan ahead. "Education abounds," show organizers promise. Sessions run 9:30—11:30 a.m. and 2:15—4:30 p.m. The morning segment, organized by Dana Harper of Brystone Books, is dedicated to children's bookselling. All are welcome to join the roundtable discussion on great ideas that work in bookstores. MSIBA's version is called "Why Aren't You Doing This?" Then nationally known sales guru Jeff Gitomer steps up to the plate, ready to pitch hard-hitting pointers on the subject of selling. The workshop prompted by his book, The Little Red Book of Selling: The 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness, should convince audience members that sales can and do last forever. In a workshop of a different color (pink, of course), Ame Mahler Beanland, author of It's a Chick Thing, gets to work perking up the "drab" in bookstores.

The Food for Thought Luncheon begins at 11:45 a.m. If we're lucky, po'boys and muffaletta sandwiches will be on the menu. Pulitzer Prize—winning journalist Diane McWhorter (A Dream of Freedom) and children's and teen author Donna Jo Napoli (Bound) are guest speakers. A brief general membership meeting follows at 1:30 p.m. Educational programming resumes at 2:15 p.m. with the ABA's Len Vlahos leading a two-part discussion on BookSense.com and Book Sense gift cards. After that, Deb Lewis of Penguin Group (USA) presents a comprehensive business-to-business account program guaranteed to boost sales. That evening, MSIBA and MSIBC combine creative forces and undertake a bash of immense proportions—annual dinner, awards, auctions and casino night rolled up into a three-hour "win big" evening. It's happening at the Praline Connection Gospel & Music Hall, where owners Cecil Kaigler and Curtis Moore dish out soul food, down-home style.

Winners of the Mid-South Book Award and Children's Choice Award will be announced at the dinner. Auctions will be held, and a portion of the proceeds will be given to the Coleen Salley Bill Morris Literacy Foundation of New Orleans, a nonprofit organization promoting children's books to underserved school-age readers in local communities. Participating companies such as DK and Simon & Schuster are donating auction items.

On Saturday morning, come to the author breakfast at 7:45 a.m. and see Andrei Codrescu (Wakefield) and Linda Stewart (25 Months). There's no educational programming during the exhibit hours: 9 a.m.—5 p.m. Mingle with vendors and authors on the show floor. Mid-day, visit the readers' lounge—take a break, listen to favorite authors read from their recent books and take a look at holiday catalogue titles and member-store photographs on display. After the floor closes, stroll over to the 6 p.m. "happy hour." The Sweet Potato Queen herself, Jill Connor Browne, warmly welcomes one and all to the "meet the author" shindig, with Mary Kay Andrews (Hissy Fit), Patty Friedman (Second Hand Smoke), Judy Goldman (Early Leaving), Jed Horne (Desire Street), Keith Remer (In the Midst of Wolves), Julie Smith (Louisiana Lament) and Anne Strieber (An Invisible Woman). No formal dinner is planned—no need, with Bourbon Street and the French Quarter nearby.

Sunday's breakfast features "beignets with the board"—a casual gathering of board officers and booksellers. Munch beignets (square donuts without holes, a local specialty), drink coffee and sip mimosas with colleagues. Novice bookstore owners should especially appreciate a chance to compare notes. Exhibit hours: 9—11:45 a.m. There's an incentive for placing more orders on the floor: for each order placed throughout the weekend, a drawing entry form will be given in exchange. More orders, more forms, more chances to win cash and books. Get it? At noon, names will be drawn. Be there to win.

Contact:Susan Kent, 6130 BluebonnetPond Lane, Kingwood, Tex. 77345; (281) 361-6977;MSIBAoffice@aol.com; www.msiba.organd Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop, 14532 Memorial Dr., Houston, Tex. 77079; (281) 497-8675;girlboss@bluewillowbookshop.com; www.bluewillowbookshop.com.

Southeast Booksellers Association

Trade show meets Fri., Sept. 10—Sun., Sept. 12, at the Cobb Galleria Centre and Renaissance Waverly Hotel, Atlanta, Ga.

Impressive facilities, world class service, prime location, gourmet catering—these are just a few of the amenities awaiting Southern booksellers upon their arrival in Atlanta, the site for this year's trade show. More than 300 vendors and 600 booksellers gather to explore better business practices and talk books. The programming on Thursday and Friday begins an edifying weekend. Get a head-start; sign up for the traditional pre-show booksellers' school scheduled for Thursday (9 a.m.—4 p.m.). Industry expert Marion Fleischman takes an in-depth look at industry resources and strategies for success. She will focus on store operations and customer service, with an emphasis on individual creativity and professional satisfaction. A rep appreciation reception is planned for Thursday evening (6—7 p.m.) at the hotel.

Friday begins at 8 a.m. with an hour-long breakfast and annual meeting hosted by the SEBA board (tickets required). Friday's educational programming is sponsored by Random House Inc. Sessions are held at the hotel, in meeting rooms near the breakfast and lunch venues. The first session starts at 9 a.m. Keep score with veteran bookseller Bob Steele as he covers the basics of inventory management in an entertaining, informative three-hour seminar. Too much, too soon? Instead, hear representatives from Baker & Taylor make a case for DVDs and music as profitable "upmarket" categories. At 10 a.m., join bookstore hosts Kelly Justice of Fountain Bookstore; Wendy Beeker of Hattie's Books; Joyce Moore of City Lights; and Leigh Baumann of Jekyll Books as each comments on the series of revivals held during the spring. Meanwhile, a focus group of small business owners talk about issues specific to small-scale operations. A "gold star" orientation for first-time exhibitors is slated for 11 a.m. The Kick-Off Author Luncheon at noon features Jennifer Haigh (Baker Towers), Jim Hightower (Let's Stop Beating Around the Bush) and Sharyn McCrumb (St. Dale).

Educational programming continues from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. Six sessions pack the two-hour period. ABA's Avin Domnitz reviews the results of the 2003 ABACUS Study and acquaints seminar participants with a bookseller version of the 2% solution. New Yorkerstaff writer Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink, challenges lecture attendees to "stop thinking" and instead rely on "snap judgments" to make things happen. Book reviewer Molly Weston conducts a workshop (with a little role-playing) on successful "mystery" events, while children's book author Lester Laminack (Saturdays and Teacakes) shares tips on creating and implementing the best-ever read-aloud program. The two 3 p.m. panels provide eclectic options. "Maximum fun" is on the agenda when children's book authors and illustrators Don Brown (Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein) joins Katherine Hannigan (Ida B...and Her Plans), Billy Moore (Little Brother, Real Snake), Dianna Hutts Aston and E.B. Lewis (When You Were Born) get together. A discussion on culture and conflict in American history occupies Maj. Gen. Sid Shachnow (Hope and Honor), James Webb (Born Fighting) and Philip Lee Williams (A Distant Flame).

Stroll over to the atrium for the 5 p.m. "good eats" party. Pat Conroy (The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes of My Life) joins rising culinary star and Alabama native Frank Stitt (Frank Stitt's Southern Table) to cook up favorite dishes and a whole bunch of Southern stories. Rocker Marshall Chapman (Goodbye, Little Rock and Roller) provides the entertainment. The 7 p.m. SEBA supper features Jill Conner Browne (Sweet Potato Queens' Field Guide to Men), Nelson DeMille (Night Fall) and Cassandra King (The Same Sweet Girls). At 10 p.m., Kay Day hosts the late-night readings. Take a page from Day's collection, A Poetry Break, Poetry for Your Pleasure. Enjoy poetry and prose, verse and rhyme by wordmaster Maurice Manning (A Companion of Owls), novelists Charlene Baumbich (Dearest Dorothy Are We There Yet?), Carter Coleman (Cage's Bend), Judy Goldman (Early Leaving), Ron McLarty (Memory of Running) and James Whorton (Frankland), and mystery and suspense writers Neil McMahon (Revolution No. 9) and Steve Berry (The Romanov Prophecy).

At Saturday's associates breakfast, Randall Williams manages a post-coffee and danish debate among opinionated authors John Egerton, Constance Curry, Laughlin McDonald and Susan Ford Wiltshire. This discussion takes off from a recent collection of their essays, Where We Stand: Voices of Southern Dissent. Exhibit hours: 9 a.m.—12 noon and 1:30—5 p.m.; autographing hours: 2—4 p.m. A "gold star" orientation for first-time booksellers is scheduled at 9 a.m. when other booksellers converge on the show floor. Collect raffle chits to win the afternoon drawing ($500 value). The noon book and author luncheon features bestselling authors Jacquelyn Mitchard (Starring Prima! The Mouse of the Ballet Jolie) and James Patterson (SantaKid). After lunch, it's back to business. Take the afternoon in stride, and stick around for the 4:45 p.m. drawing. Evening high jinks start at 5:30 p.m. with a garden party at the hotel, followed by a "moveable feast" of authors. A partial guest list includes: Dean Bakopoulos, Sonny Brewer, Robert Butler, Susanna Clark, John T. Edge, Adrian Fogelin, Lori Foster, Connie May Fowler, Mindy Friddle, Susan Gilman, Cynthia Graubart, Roy Hoffman, Silas House, Mark Kemp, Charles Martin, Moreton Neal, Jonathan Odell, Brian Railsback, Ron Rash, Kenneth Robbins, Brewster Robertson, June Spence and Frank Walker.

Sunday's 7:30 a.m. "breakfast of champions" promises a room overflowing with the crème de la crème of Southern bookselling. On this final day, what's left to be done? Submit more orders, collect more raffle chits. Exhibit hours: 9 a.m.—1 p.m.; autographing hours: 10 a.m.—noon. Gather for the floor drawing at 12:45 p.m. One lucky bookseller will win $1,000 and a luckier exhibitor will win a free table at next year's show.

Contact:Wanda Jewell, 2611 Forest Dr., #124, Columbia, S.C. 29204; (803) 779-0118;info@sebaweb.org; www.sebaweb.org.

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