Monthly Archives: April 2010

Young Adult Authors Against Bullying

Josie Leavitt - April 15, 2010

When sixteen-year-old Pheobe Prince hung herself after months relentless bullying earlier this year, many people were shocked. A lot of us didn’t know what to do. Two young adult authors, Carrie Jones and Megan Kelly Hall, decided to something about it. They started a group called YAAAB: Young Adult Authors Against Bullying on Facebook.
To quote Megan: “The Phoebe Prince case really shocked and horrified me and the reactions from the alleged bullies sickened me. Especially when I read what one of the bullies had posted as her Facebook status right after Phoebe Prince had taken her own life; killed herself because at 15 she reached the point after relentless bullying and harassment that she felt she had no way out. The alleged bully wrote: Mission Accomplished. That just tore my heart out…. This group was created for Young Adult authors and readers to come together and put an end to bullying. Victims of bullying do not need to feel like they are alone. We are creating a platform for your stories. We are creating a safe haven for your concerns. We encourage all YA authors to become a part of this group, so that we can provide updates, mission statements, action items and simple ways to spread the anti-bullying cause.”
I asked Carrie Jones why writers and she said, “By sharing our own stories of being bullied and/or being bullied and living through that it’s going to hopefully be pretty empowering to kids who are dealing with that right now. I’ve gotten some really heart-wrenching emails from kids who read one of my own bullying stories who said it made them feel better to see that I had to go through it too, and that I somehow survived.”At some point they’d foresee an anthology of writers sharing their stories of being bullied or maybe even being bullies themselves. If the first anthology, focusing primarily on young adults is sucessful, then there will be one for middle graders.
I applaud these two writers for starting this group. Their Facebook page, Young Adult Authors Against Bullying, is easy to join and full of great information (open to all, writers or not). It began April 2nd and now boasts almost 3,000 members, most of whom are writers, but many are not. The fact that so many folks have joined tells me these two women have begun something huge. The Facebook group is full of great links to other sites that deal with bullying, folks sharing their stories of being bullied and ways they can make the group’s reach larger.
Apparently, a librarian overheard the harassment that Phoebe endured, and said nothing. One of the aims of the group is have all people who interact with teens to be trained in listening for signs of bullying and to know what to do about it. I do think if every adult who saw or overheard an instance of bullying and did something to stop it, then maybe our kids would feel safer and not go to such final extremes to make it stop.
Carrie thought bookstores would be a natural place to help spread the word. “One of the things we’re hoping to do is to create a bully-free zone sticker/sign so that teachers and businesses can post it or wear it and let kids know that they are there to listen, support, not judge, and help, or simply provide a safe place to breathe when bullying is happening. Bookstores could be great bully-free zones.”
I am grateful to Carrie and Megan for starting this group. As a bookstore owner, I love the resources available to me on their Facebook site. If I have a customer, parent or child, who is facing a bullying issue, I will happily send them there. The book list is particularly useful as it lists titles that have bullying has a central theme.
Sadly, bullying, whether in person or in cyberspace, has become a large and dangerous part of our society. Carrie Jones and Megan Kelly Hall have decided to take a stand and help those who have lost their voice. I applaud them and look forward to helping them realize their vision to create a bully-free world.

The Perks of Owning a Bookstore

Josie Leavitt - April 14, 2010

There are many bonuses to owning a bookstore in a small town. Everyone knows you, which can be lovely, but not when you’re in your sweatpants running to the mini-mart for butter and a young child shouts,”Hey, it’s the Flying Pig Lady.” Yes it is.
The perk Elizabeth and I got to enjoy last night was being “Celebrity” waiters for the Ronald McDonald House fundraiser. This event pairs local celebrities with real wait people who endure novices taking orders, making salads (croutons go on by hand, I learned a lot last night) and getting drinks. All the tips get donated to our Ronald McDonald House which helps families with kids in the hospital. The goal is to get your tables to massively tip for a modest meal. We had the luck of working with another celebrity, fellow comedian Tracie Spencer, who was great, so we laughed a lot.
There is a non-too subtle competition between the “celebrities” as to who can reel in the most money. We were valiant in our efforts. Elizabeth brought some copies of her book, My Father the Dog, and anyone who left $50 or more got a personalized copy. We worked as a great team: I would show the book to everyone in our section who seemed likely to want a signed book. I would come back with their check and ask if they’d like a signed book. And everyone did! We made more than $300 in tips just from the book
Let me just say something about waiting tables: it’s really hard, but I loved it. It was like the store was sa busy as it’s ever been and everyone needed help at slightly different times. The pacing was amazing. Drink orders and menus first. Put the order in the computer — they let us send orders! — run to the bar to get the drinks. I was amazed every time I’d put in a drink order that it would appear in the bar two minutes later, just waiting for me. Take the orders, put the apps in first (apps, they actually say that), then when they’re almost done with the appetizers, send the entree orders, etc. Customer service is key. And it’s tough.
Imagine if customers at the bookstore could say, “I’d like Cat in the Hat, but you could you put a cover on it?” “We’ll share The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, so cut that one in half.” “Could we get There’s a Monster at the End of this Book, but could you take out the monster?” Oh, and throw in some copious amounts of alcohol, at least for one table that we were all afraid of, and it made for a pretty interesting evening.
And I got to end everyone’s meal by saying, “Would you like a book with that?”

My Favorite Book of the Spring

Josie Leavitt - April 12, 2010

Every once in a while, a gem of a book arrives at the store. Last week such a gem was delivered in a Houghton Mifflin box, and the book in question is The Quiet Book. The sign for me that a book is magic is when I hand it to customers and say, “You have to read this.” and they do, and they buy it, even if they came in for a mystery.
This book 05472156733.jpgis deceptively simple.  Straightforward sentences that take you through a day are all about moments when you’re quiet. Beautiful art with a muted palate, done by Renata Liwska, is spot on. “First one awake quiet,” gives way to more unique quiet situations: “Jelly side down quiet.” As two little animals stare at the sandwich on the floor,  wondering what happened. The art is beautiful and somehow the author, Deborah Underwood, has captured so many authentic quiet moments, that this book will become a treasure to read, again and again.
First haircut quiet gives way to last one picked up at school quiet, which conveys all the worry of the last child sitting on the steps waiting for a parent who’s running late. All the notes struck are solidly true. Nothing seems forced or cloying. Each quiet moment is one that makes you try to emulate it. Can I remember, first snow quiet?  Yes, but the book helps, by showing the stillness of the first snow. And it will help young children learn about the quality of quiet moments. I can also see this being a great book to help soothe anxious children who need some gentle calming.
I’m not one for gushing about one book in this blog, but I simply adore this book and know that I’ve horribly under-ordered it, as my display is almost empty. And I’ve quietly made a note to order more this afternoon.

What New England Children’s Booksellers Are Reading

Elizabeth Bluemle - April 8, 2010

There’s not much that an independent bookseller enjoys more than getting together with colleagues to discuss business and books. When New England Children’s Booksellers Advisory Council (aka NECBA) members gather, we end most meetings by sharing favorite recent reads. Depending on how many of us there are (15-50) and how many books we’re each recommending, we can go home with quite a list.
Occasionally, people will share books that disappointed them, but for the most part, we’re proselytizing. We can’t help ourselves; it’s what we do. It occurred to me that people might be interested in the list compiled during Tuesday’s NECBA meeting in Portland, Maine. All of the books below were enthusiastic recommendations. A few will probably do better in paperback than hardcover, but that’s a reflection of the economy, not the book quality.
There are several books here that have jumped high on my reading list now that my esteemed colleagues have recommended them. Thanks, NECBA folks!
Happy reading, everyone.
Carol Chittenden, Eight Cousins
Night Fairy
The Night Fairy, by Laura Amy Schlitz, illus. by Angela Barrett (Candlewick)
Library of Congress (LOC) description: When Flory the night fairy’s wings are accidentally broken and she cannot fly, she has to learn to do everything differently.

Kenny Brechner, DDG Booksellers
Dark LifeDark Life, by Kat Falls (Scholastic Press)
LOC description: When fifteen-year-old Ty, who has always lived on the ocean floor, joins Topside girl Gemma in the frontier’s underworld to seek and stop outlaws who threaten his home, they learn that the government may pose an even greater threat.
MiddleworldMiddleworld: The Jaguar Stones, Book 1, by J & P Voelkel (Egmont USA)
LOC description: When his archaeologist parents go missing in Central America, fourteen-year-old Max embarks on a wild adventure through the Mayan underworld in search of the legendary Jaguar Stones, which enabled ancient Mayan kings to wield the powers of living gods.
Janet Bibeau, Storybook Cove

Conspiracy of Kings
A Conspiracy of Kings, by Megan Whalen Turner (Greenwillow)
LOC description: Kidnapped and sold into slavery, Sophos, an unwilling prince, tries to save his country from being destroyed by rebellion and exploited by the conniving Mede empire.
Mimi Powell, Baker Books
Wolves, BoysWolves, Boys, & Other Things That Might Kill Me, by Kristen Chandler (Viking)
LOC description: Two teenagers become close as the citizens of their town fight over the packs of wolves that have been reintroduced into the nearby Yellowstone National Park.
BoomBoom, by Mark Haddon (Random House/David Fickling)
LOC description: When Jim and Charlie overhear two of their teachers talking in a secret language and the two friends set out to solve the mystery, they do not expect the dire consequences of their actions.
Nancy and Plum, by Betty MacDonald, illus. by Mary GrandPre (Knopf, 2011) (Reprint of the 1952 classic by the author of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. No cover image available.) LOC description: Two orphaned sisters are sent to live at a boarding home run by the cruel and greedy Mrs. Monday, where they dream about someday having enough to eat and being able to experience a real Christmas.
Betsey Detwiler, Buttonwood Books & Toys
Wolves, Boys
Wolves, Boys, & Other Things That Might Kill Me, by Kristen Chandler (Viking)
(a second recommendation for this book)

Pat Fowler, Village Square Books
CrunchCrunch, by Leslie Connor (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen)
LOC description: The oldest Mariss brother, fourteen-year-old Dewey, attempts to be the “embodiment of responsibility” as he juggles the management of the family’s bicycle repair business while sharing the household and farm duties with his siblings after a sudden energy crisis strands their parents far from home.
Natacha Liuzzi, Brown Dog Books & Gifts
UninvitedThe Uninvited, by Tim Wynne-Jones (Candlewick)
LOC description: After a disturbing freshman year at New York University, Mimi is happy to get away to her father’s remote Canadian cottage only to discover a stranger living there who has never heard of her or her father and who is convinced that Mimi is responsible for leaving sinister tokens around the property.
Ellen Richmond, Children’s Book Cellar
Night FairyThe Night Fairy, by Laura Amy Schlitz, illus. by Angela Barrett (Candlewick)
(a second recommendation for this book)
Finnikin of the RockFinnikin of the Rock, by Melina Marchetta (Candlewick)
LOC description: Now on the cusp of manhood, Finnikin, who was a child when the royal family of Lumatere was brutally murdered and replaced by an imposter, reluctantly joins forces with an enigmatic young novice and fellow-exile, who claims that her dark dreams will lead them to a surviving royal child and a way to regain the throne of Lumatere.
Henry Aaron's DreamHenry Aaron’s Dream, by Matt Tavares (Candlewick)
This is the tale of a kid from the segregated South who would become baseball’s home-run king, Hank Aaron.
Touch BlueTouch Blue, by Cynthia Lord (Scholastic)
LOC description: When the state of Maine threatens to shut down their island’s one-room schoolhouse because of dwindling enrollment, eleven-year-old Tess, a strong believer in luck, and her family take in a trumpet-playing foster child, to increase the school’s population.
Jan Hall, Partners Village Store
Body FinderThe Body Finder by Kimberly Derting (HarperTeen)
LOC description: High school junior Violet uses her uncanny ability to sense murderers and their victims to try to stop a serial killer who is terrorizing her town, and although her best friend and would-be boyfriend Jay promises to keep her safe, she becomes a target.

Vicky Umenowicz, Titcomb’s Bookshop
Before I Fall
Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver (HarperTeen)
(Note to publisher: the Library of Congress lists this as If I Should Fall, so it doesn’t show up via title search.)
LOC description: After she dies in a car crash, teenage Samantha relives the day of her death over and over again until, on the seventh day, she finally discovers a way to save herself.
Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci, by Joseph D’Agnese, illus. by John O’Brien (Henry Holt)
(No LOC description yet, but the subtitle gives enough of a clue.)

Nancy Felton, Broadside Books
Red Umbrella
The Red Umbrella, by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (Knopf)
LOC description: In 1961 after Castro has come to power in Cuba, fourteen-year-old Lucia and her seven-year-old brother are sent to the United States when her parents, who are not in favor of the new regime, fear that the children will be taken away from them as others have been.
NumbersNumbers, by Rachel Ward (Scholastic/Chicken House)
LOC description: Fifteen-year-old Jem knows when she looks at someone the exact date they will die, so she avoids relationships and tries to keep out of the way, but when she meets a boy named Spider and they plan a day out together, they become more involved than either of them had planned.
Nomansland, by Lesley Hauge (Henry Holt)
LOC description: Living under a strict code of conduct in an all-female community 500 years after the earth’s destruction, a sensitive teenaged girl raised to be a hunter discovers forbidden relics from the Time Before.

Suzanna Hermans, Oblong Books & Music
Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly (Delacorte)
No LOC description yet for this new novel by the award-winning author of A Northern Light, so ask Suzanna for more info!
Heist Society
Heist Society, by Ally Carter (Disney/Hyperion)
LOC description: A group of teenagers uses their combined talents to re-steal several priceless paintings and save fifteen-year-old Kat Bishop’s father, himself an international art thief, from a vengeful collector.
Fat Vampire
Fat Vampire: A Never-Coming-of-Age Story, by Adam Rex (Balzer + Bray)
(No LOC description yet, but don’t you love it already, just from the title and cover??!)
Several booksellers also recommended adult trade books, too. Josie Leavitt, Flying Pig: Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman. Betsey Detwiler, Buttonwood Books & Toys: The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell, and Stuff by Randy Frost & Gail Steketee. Suzanna Hermans: The Passage by Justin Cronin, and The Singer’s Gun by Emily St. John Mandel. Katherine Osbourne, Kennebooks: The Passage, by Justin Cronin (Ballantine). Mimi Powell, Baker Books: Born Under a Million Shadows by Andrea Busfield (adult, but good for high schoolers), and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. Ellen Richmond, Children’s Book Cellar: The Gates by John Connolly. Emma Pouech, Brown Dog Books & Gifts: Clean Food by Terry Walters. Kenny Brechner, DDG Booksellers: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson.
What book(s) are you currently raving about? Please feel free to share in the comments field below.

Summer Reading Programs That Work

Josie Leavitt - April 7, 2010

Yesterday the NECBA (New England Children’s Booksellers Advisory Council) group met in Portland, Maine, and one of our main discussions focused on how to have summer reading programs that work. A successful summer reading program is one that drives business to your store while helping the children fulfill their requirement for summer reading. The strength of your program seems to be directly proportional to the relationships stores have built with schools. Below are some guidelines.
* Now is the time of year for bookstores to send letters to all their local schools inquiring about their summer reading lists. Often schools won’t have their lists finished yet, and this is a great opportunity to help out with a myriad of great ideas.
* Talk to the librarians and the English department about their summer reading lists. Assistance in building a list is usually welcome. Often, especially with public schools, the lists contain out-of-print books that just frustrate everyone because they’re so hard to get. Troubleshoot with them what currently available books can fill the OP gap. If a store can be helpful with building a list, the school might be more likely to send kids to your stores. Invite teachers, librarians and members of the selection committee to the store for a tour of some of the best selections for summer reading.
* Alison Morris, whose store, Wellesley Booksmith, has an extraordinarily good summer reading program, helps teachers by sending out a PDF file of all the books that are, or will be new, in paperback by the summer. We sometimes forget that not everyone is in publishing and knows when paperbacks are due to be released, so having this information readily available makes it easier for schools to choose books the students will be excited about reading. It also helps build loyalty among schools for helping them.
* Every bookstore should download all its local schools’ summer reading lists and print them out. Nothing is more frustrating to a forgetful customer seeking a stack of summer reading books than when the bookstore doesn’t have their reading list. The lists should be readily accessible for customers and easy for staffers to find.
* Some bookstores have a small selection of summer reading books on audio. This is very smart, especially around the middle of August, when there are deadlines to be met.
* Having a dedicated section just for summer reading makes for easy, stress-free shopping, especially if there are copies of all the schools’ summer reading lists right there.
* Don’t forget to talk to the AP teachers about their required reading. There are often a lot of books, especially if a student is taking more than one class, and it’s great to provide all the books in one shopping trip.
* Several stores offer an affiliate program on their websites, so books bought as part of Main City school will then benefit the school. The percentage varies depending on how the program is set up. If you don’t have an affiliate program, your store can run an in-store book fair for the summer reading books: for every summer reading book purchased, the school gets 10% back in store credit to buy books for the school. This is a win-win for all parties. Business comes to your store, and the school benefits.
All schools have summer reading lists, and if bookstores work together with them, we can play a vital part in helping to create and sell the list to kids. The other thing all the booksellers said at yesterday’s meeting was it was important to know the lengths of all the books on the lists, to better help kids choose books they stand the best chance of finishing.

Books Gone Green

Elizabeth Bluemle - April 6, 2010

In addition to the many lovely children’s books about going green, we’ve been seeing some extremely appealing books that are themselves green: that is, books made of mostly recycled materials, and printed with vegetable inks. These books sometimes have an environmental theme, which is timely and terrific, but we’re also excited about a recent influx of fiction board books and activity books. Publishers are showing a real commitment when they make “regular” titles green, and not just their ecology-related titles. Healthier inks, less waste with greener processing materials, practices and byproducts, and happy little hands holding these books = win-win-win!
Let's Go Green Word FunLet's Go Green Picture Puzzles
We’ve been selling Priddy Books’ Let’s Go Green activity books like crazy. Kids like them, parents like them, they fly off the slatwall spinner display fast. It makes sense that the green angle is a strong selling point for consumable books, and for gifts (parents like to give earth-friendly, veggie-ink books to other families). And at $2.99 apiece, parents often buy all four books at once. (Note: the age indicator says 5+, but a customer reports that her 9-year-old loves them, as well.)
Little Animal Books
Little Animal interiorSome other favorites come from Innovative Kids’ Green Start line. Board books in regular and tiny sizes feel good in your hands. Their pleasing palettes — colors against kraft brown backgrounds — manage to be both bright and calm. The two “towers” of mini books make great baby-shower gifts; in addition to looking good, they have sweet, simple text that is fun to read aloud to babies and toddlers.(Tower at left; IK Floor Puzzleinterior detail of one of the books, right)Green Start Book and  PUzzle set
Innovative Kids also has a set of green book-and-puzzle packages, as well as several floor puzzles, one of which sold to a customer who didn’t even notice the ‘green’ aspect but just loved the cute art. In the Garden
We also like the board books aimed at the 3- to 5-year-olds, such as In the Garden.
Little Green Panda
Simon & Schuster has a new series called Little Green Books. The website describes the series thus: “Little Green BooksTM teaches kids to be eco-friendly. The books are made from recycled materials and cover topics such as the earth and recycling.” Inks aren’t mentioned, but I’d be surprised if such eco-focused books would have been made with petroleum-based inks. I like to think not.
The Little Green series also offers something I haven’t seen elsewhere: 100% recycled fleece cloth books, made from cotton and recycled Polartec fleece to make very snuggly bedtime books. (Above, at left, an example withLittle Panda.
Bag in the WindCandlewick Press is taking a slightly different tack. Unlike the toasty-brown-colored books that signal recycled paper, their eco-friendly books may not announce themselves quite so obviously, but they exist! Some of their books have started to be produced using 100% post-consumer-waste covers and dustjackets and 30% post-consumer waste paper, including Ted Kooser and Barry Root’s Bag in the Wind (pictured at left), Timothee De Fombelle’s Toby Alone (both hardcover and paperback editions) and Tim Flannery’s We Are the Weather Makers: The History of Climate Change (also both hc and pb editions). Gigi Amateau’s novel, A Certain Strain of Peculiar, was printed on recycled paper with 30% post-consumer waste.
If you’re interested in learning more about green publishing, The Barefoot Press, a printing company, is a great resource. They’ve been in the green printing business since 1987, long before most printers were interested in pursuing more earth-friendly practices.
Finally, if you’re a consumer or business interested in replacing your traditional ink printer cartridges with soy-ink printer cartridges, they’re starting to become more readily available. Soyprint is one source.
We applaud all of these efforts. Please let us know about other truly eco-friendly publishing programs!

The Joys of Reading Outside

Josie Leavitt - April 5, 2010

Today’s post is, quite simply, an ode to the loveliness of being able to read out of doors. It is not normally 80 degrees in April in Vermont during Easter weekend. This glorious gift of sun caused celebrations of many book lovers, young and old.
I had Saturday off, and amid the rapid-fire errand running, I stopped and noticed that City Hall Park was full of people, doing nothing but reading. Sitting on the steps to Town Hall, stretched out on the grass, young families on blankets, everyone was either reading or being read to. Young children sat next to their parents as they were read to. Bright eyes glinting in the sun eagerly listening to stories of pirates and in several cases, the Easter bunny.
Vermonters are a hardy bunch, of that there can be no dispute. But we’re also not foolish about the sun. Gifts of warm early spring weekends do not get lost on us. We go out and when we’re tired of cleaning the yard, we read under a tree, on a deck, at a bus stop, anywhere we can feel the sun we can be found with a book in our hands. There is a bus stop right at the front of the store, and I noticed that one person was reading when I left to do errands, and she was still there, an hour and a half later, when I returned. I know our bus system is slow, but it’s not that slow, I can only surmise she opted for staying right where she was, comfy on a wide perch, fully engrossed in her book.
I take a class at the University of Vermont and I saw the students enjoy the sun.  For every Frisbee-playing young man, and occasional woman, there were ten times as many students just sitting around reading. Yes, most of them were probably reading for classes, but I suspect that every book read on the lawn while feeling the warmth of the sun is more pleasurable than in the library.
There is a freedom that comes with being able to read outside after a long winter. It is quite simply the hope that warmer weather has finally arrived and I am filled with a simple joy: a book, a chair and a glass of water, my dogs cavorting in the yard, and  I’m almost as happy as I can get.

BEA: Start Your Planning Early (April 1 edition)

Elizabeth Bluemle and Josie Leavitt - April 1, 2010

It’s that time of year again, folks: BEA looms and there are some exciting (and sobering) new educational sessions in 2010; we’ve got the inside scoop. Conference rooms fill quickly, so we thought it might be useful to help children’s booksellers get a jump on this year’s planning.
See you in NYC!
Day of Education Offerings:
Serving the “Twoddler” Reader: Issues and Best Practices (Room 1E12)
The Twoddler is the largest untapped market in children’s books right now. Join our panel discussion of how this little person between the ages of 3-5 is really the decision-maker when it comes to which books the family will purchase. In this workshop you’ll get the tools you need to encourage these powerhouse pre-readers to target their tantrums toward expensive hardcovers. Rethinking eye-level placement: 24″-36″ is your new best friend. Effective marketing and containment strategies will be discussed, including the use of favorite costumed characters and bossy older siblings to keep these twoddlers in the section they belong.
The Nuts & Bolts of Children’s Bookselling: Roundtable Discussions (Room 1E12dada)
Join us for frank conversation about the day-to-day operational issues that we rarely get a chance to discuss in a conference environment. Learn the best ways to clean spit-up off dust jackets, lift ground gum out of carpets, and retrieve expensive sidelines that have been “stored” under bookcases by curious children. That noise you hear is a ripped book, so get up and make them pay for it. Tips for when story hour turns into a siege. Tips on what to say to the parent whose child has just wiped his nose on a copy of Knuffle Bunny. Also: the benefits of Goo-Gone and other safe substitutes for soap to use on dirty hands when parents refuse to take their kids to the bathroom. Learn time-trusted techniques for getting through the day when you just don’t like kids anymore. Bonus: why crying toddlers are bad for business.
Medium- and Large-Store Roundtable (Room 1E12 SW)
An interactive session for those who own or manage large stores. Sit at a table with seven other booksellers and listen to the loudest person dominate the discussion about why their store is better than yours.
Small- and Truly Wee-Store Roundtable (Room 1E12SWEscalator)
A moderated session geared for owner-managers in smaller stores. Why not take a two-hour break and hear tales of woe as you share or learn about the challenges of owning a small indie in today’s market? Discover why publicists chuckle when they receive your author request grids. Leave feeling lucky you still have keys to your store. Tissues available for purchase (via agency model), along with DVDs of Mighty Mouse and a custom adaptation of a Dr. Seuss classic, The 500 Hats of the Small Indie Owner.
It’s in the Payroll (Room 1E12 A)
This brief workshop will outline ways how all bookstores, from tiny to large, can offer less and less to their employees in an effort to remain open and compete in the marketplace. The role of barter for staff will be thoroughly discussed.
The Business of Accepting Credit and Debit Cards (Room 1E12 34DD)
In this session you’ll learn why taking credit and debit cards is important since no one ever has cash, even for that fifty-cent eraser. Learn more efficient swiping techniques and ways to get that slow second receipt to print out before the customer starts tapping her pen on the counter. Strategies for helping customers who just can’t remember their PIN are also handled in this session, as well as the top five alternatives to rolling your eyes during difficult transactions.
IndieBound Workshop
This educational session focuses on how you can train your customers that IndieBound actually refers to books and not bondage. After a tour of educational materials available for download, strategies for covering all your windows with banners and posters will be thoroughly examined.
IndieCommerce Demo (Room 1E12 Right Corner)
This session is aimed at bookstore owners and managers who don’t yet know what a website is.
It’s a Wrap: Video Workshop
Bring a Handycam and your sense of humor! Come prepared to learn how videos —which you will never actually make; I mean, come on, who are we kidding?—could, but won’t, boost sales at your store. Experience the thrill of discovering yet another new social networking opportunity to feel guilty about neglecting.
Succession Planning: Valuing Your Business (Room 1E12$)
What to do when you really want to get out of the game, but no one will buy your bookstore. How to cook the books so your brother-in-law thinks your business is a profit center. Ways to make long-time customers think that you can read all day long and succeed as an indie bookseller.
The New Reality: Alternative Business Models for Independent Bookstores (Room 1E12 Sidewalk)
This panel discussion focuses on job retraining for bookstore staff who are soon to be no longer working in independent bookstores. Listen as the panel speaks about the advent of the “paycheck” — a side benefit of working for another kind of business in the new reality. Featured extra: how to negotiate with your landlord to break your lease with the smallest  penalty.
Google Editions (Room 1E12 Loft)
This educational panel will show you yet another way electronic media and free downloads will cause your store to close in the next ten years. See how the “cloud” is one you’ll float away on after people stop reading actual books.
Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC) Events:
This year’s Good Ol’ Not-a-Dinner (GONAD) and Silent Auction — Continuing the tradition of surprising guests with an all-new, improved structure, this event gathers luminaries in the children’s book field: authors and illustrators who speak movingly, announce awards spiritedly, and then elbow one another out of the way to get at the silent auction pieces they’ve been coveting since before that first glass of wine loosed their crazy inner-Jerry-Springer-show-guest clipboard-hogging bid-monster alter egos. Bring checkbook and brass knuckles.
ABA/CBC Events:
Tea with Children’s and YA Authors: This ticketed event includes coffee and dessert at eight-person tables in a room filled with topnotch authors and artists and discussions moderated by fascinating, accomplished booksellers. A pre-session offering tips on table envy will be offered to those ready to fret that their author has won just one, not multiple, Newbery awards.
Speed-Dating with Children’s and YA Authors: This ever-popular, always oversubscribed event is a first-come, first-served morning session you won’t get into, so don’t bother. This is not a ploy to free up some spots for us. Surely not.
That brings us to an end of our planning guide. What sessions are YOU looking forward to from the perspective of this fine April 1?