Booksellers Forum Tour Heads to Wisconsin on March 10

The American Booksellers Association is inviting booksellers to a forum and education program in Wisconsin on Saturday, March 10. The second stop on ABA's 2007 Winter/Spring Forum Tour is being presented in conjunction with the Midwest Booksellers Association (MBA) at the Country Inn and Suites - Milwaukee West in Brookfield, Wisconsin. All members of MBA and ABA are welcome to participate in the day of free programming.

Highlights of the day's programming include an ABA/MBA "Bookseller Forum & Strategic Planning Session," ABA's education sessions "Participating in the Digital Revolution" and "Handselling: Customer Service with Results," and MBA's "Let's Talk" Lunch and "Pick of the Lists." Attendees are also invited to a reception at Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop in Brookfield following the program.

The day will begin with the ABA education session "Participating in the Digital Revolution," presented by Len Vlahos, ABA's director of education and of, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Stories abound in the news about how technology is changing the way people interact, acquire information, and especially the way they consume. Included in this comprehensive workshop will be phenomena like digitization of content, social networking, open source and distributed computing, among other issues. This session will explore the latest developments in the technosphere and make practical recommendations on how booksellers can stay plugged in to new technologies.

A breakout session on using technology, "It Works For Me," from 10:25 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., will provide booksellers with an opportunity to network and to discuss the issues.

From 11:25 a.m. to 12:25 p.m., booksellers will meet with a table-hopping group of publisher reps to discuss issues and ideas during MBA's "Let's Talk" Lunch. After lunch, the reps will offer their "Picks of the Lists" from 12:35 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

From 2:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz will present "Handselling: Customer Service with Results." Booksellers will learn how to implement and improve their handselling strategies to grow a store's reputation, energize staff, and increase sales. The focus will be on attracting and training good handsellers, integrating handselling into marketing efforts, and ensuring that customers walk away with a unique and positive shopping experience. Video vignettes shown will illustrate some do's and don'ts of handselling.

Following the education sessions, Domnitz and Vlahos will facilitate the "Bookseller Forum & Strategic Planning Session," from 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. The Bookseller Forum provides an opportunity for members to receive updates on ABA's program and initiatives, as well as to voice concerns and to offer input on the future direction of the association, which is formulating a strategic plan for the next five years.

ABA's forum format fosters discussion of regional and national issues affecting independent booksellers; MBA and ABA encourage bookstore owners to attend with staff members. The day's programming can help provide a broader perspective on how individual stores fit into the larger industry, provide valuable information, and serve as an opportunity to interact with fellow booksellers.

The reception will be held from 5:45 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. at the nearby Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop in Brookfield.

To adequately arrange for handouts and lunches, ABA asks booksellers to contact Margaret Nafz at or (800) 637-0037, ext. 6614, if they plan to attend. Booksellers are encouraged to contact ABA's Domnitz and Vlahos prior to the show with questions, suggestions, or comments. General questions and requests for information about the ABA/MBA Bookseller Forum should be directed to Nafz.

Questions about MBA should be addressed to the regional's executive director, Susan Walker, at (612) 926-5868 or