ABA Program to Be Part of MPIBA Spring Show

The American Booksellers Association is inviting booksellers to a Booksellers Forum and Education Program to be held in conjunction with the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association Spring Show (MPIBA), which runs from Thursday, March 29, through Saturday, March 31, at the Doubletree Hotel in Austin, Texas.

All ABA and MPIBA store owners and staff are welcome to participate in ABA's free program, which will be facilitated by CEO Avin Mark Domnitz and COO Oren Teicher.

In addition to ABA's offerings, the MPIBA Spring Meeting includes a full range of programming, from sale reps' spring and summer Pick of the Lists and time set aside exclusively for rep/bookseller meetings to MPIBA educational seminars, roundtable discussions, and the Regional Book Awards Banquet.

Educational programming begins at 9:15 a.m., on Friday, with the presentation of "Participating in the Digital Revolution" by ABA's Teicher. Every day the news is filled with stories about how technology is changing the way people interact and especially about how they acquire and process information. "Participating in the Digital Revolution" will explore such phenomena as digitization of content, social networking, and open source and distributed computing and their effect on independent booksellers now and in the future.

Tony Weller of Sam Weller's Bookstore in Salt Lake City will share his expertise in the areas of rare and collectible books and the used book market at sessions that run from 10:45a.m. - 11:45 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m., respectively. Between Weller's sessions, booksellers are invited to bring lunch to roundtable discussions on the topic "The Best Idea I've Had This Year."

Also at 1:45 p.m., ABA's Domnitz will present "Understanding Basic Financial Documents." This hands-on presentation examines the three basic financial documents -- the Balance Sheet, Operating Statement, and Cash Flow Statement -- and is geared towards novice booksellers or those seeking a refresher course.

Other Friday afternoon programming includes the Pick of the Lists presentations and MPIBA Advisory Council and Focus Group meetings. The day will be capped by the Regional Awards Banquet.

Saturday morning starts off with ABA's "Booksellers Forum and Strategic Planning Session" from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Booksellers, including non-ABA members, are invited to share a continental breakfast as they learn about the latest developments relating to the association's programs and initiatives. Attendees will also have an opportunity to voice concerns and to offer input on the future direction of ABA as it formulates its next five-year strategic plan.

The forum format fosters discussion of regional and national issues affecting independent booksellers, and ABA encourages all bookstore owners and staff to attend. The Booksellers Forum program can help provide a broader perspective on how individual stores fit into the larger industry, provide valuable information, and serve as an opportunity to meet and talk with fellow booksellers.

ABA's Domnitz will also present "Handselling: Customer Service With Results" from 1:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. on Saturday. Booksellers will learn how to use or improve a store's existing customer service strategy to build reputation, energize staff, and increase sales.

Also on Saturday, show attendees will be able walk the exhibit floor, attend a second Pick of the Lists session, listen to four authors at MPIBA's Author Lunch, and learn how to use YouTube, MySpace, and blogs to enhance marketing efforts. Complete details and and registration information are available on the MPIBA website, www.mountainsplains.org.

For planning purposes, booksellers who will be attending ABA programming are asked to contact ABA's Margaret Nafz at margaret@bookweb.org or (800) 637-0037, ext. 6614. Booksellers are also invited to contact Domnitz or Teicher prior to the forum with questions, suggestions, or comments.