The Best of Wi7’s Best Practices Sessions,” a roundup of booksellers’ top tips from the 2012 Winter Institute on everything from children’s bookselling, human resources, and Google Analytics to marketing your store as a digital location, empowering your indie business alliance, and more was presented by ABA CEO Oren Teicher at the Great American Bargain Book Show in Atlanta last Friday. The Southern Independent Booksellers Association, SIBA, hosted another educational seminar on Saturday morning, “Best Practices for Working GABBS to Your Store’s Advantage,” which gave booksellers a heads-up on what to find on the showroom floor and how to sort through it all. Moderated by successful bookseller Karin Wilson of Page and Palette in Tempe, Arizona, the session included buying tips to use on the show floor and a list of vendors and their minimums to help make the buying process more efficient. (More on this session in the next issue of Bargain Book News)
Teicher, who said he was bringing the best of what booksellers from across the country were saying and doing, summarized practical ideas that the booksellers attending GABBS Atlanta 2012 could implement in their own stores. He also introduced the session with some good news from ABA bookstore statistics saying that book sales for the last holiday season, Thanksgiving thru Christmas, were up 15% and that the sales for this January and February were much stronger than Jan-Feb 2011. “Sales fell off the cliff in a lot of stores. But January and February 2012 have continued to be very strong, and the reason is that there are people out there figuring out how to make this work.”
Some of the major tips include: Know each publisher, monitor cash flow daily, look for opportunities, let editors of winning books help you with what might work in your stores, learn to use Treeline, several promotional ideas, understand your account statements, relationship building and the importance of an online presence.
The information is available at www.bookweb.org and to read more on the subject by Oren Teicher visit http://news.bookweb.org/news/march-missive-aba%E2%80%99s-ceo. Teicher says in his March Missive: “Everyone recognizes that we are witnessing a profound change in our business, but these are also events whose full implications are far from known. Change always brings uncertainty as well as opportunity, and, given that, it’s very understandable that some members have shared with me their belief that ABA must balance the need to help members have a viable online presence with a firm commitment to our core market of print titles.
Let me be very clear: We hear you! It is the unequivocal belief of your association that print and reading are here to stay. Even with the rapid percentage growth in the sale of e-books over the past 18 months, the sale of print books makes up the lion’s share of business in bricks-and-mortar bookstores, and indie booksellers are masters at curating and hand-selling just those categories of titles that are showcased and enjoyed in print books rather than on e-readers or tablets.
But we understand, too, that in the today’s retail environment — where consumers no longer see distinctions between a bookstore’s physical and digital locations in browsing and purchasing — indie booksellers without an online retail presence or the ability to sell digital content will increasingly find themselves losing sales and customers, not just online but within the walls of their bricks-and-mortar stores. Where one or two years ago many booksellers justified the resources necessary to launch and maintain a web presence as primarily a marketing effort, today many ABA member stores are seeing very real growth in online sales of print books. And while e-book sales are still nascent for our channel, we have clear analytic data that show that a consumer’s ability to search our members’ retail websites for e-books is promoting the growth in online sales of print titles.
In contrast to the more absolutist predictions of some in the industry regarding the possible death of print books, in the end, I believe we will once again see that new media supplements and complements earlier media formats. There is disruption, to be sure, but not destruction. Television, as pervasive and influential as it has become, hasn’t killed movies or radio. Media co-exist, and in that co-existence, they evolve and reinforce each other.”
GABBS will be putting on its summer show August 1-2 in Boston’s Hynes Convention Center. Booksellers can register for the Boston show here.