I have much to do today. Chief among my tasks aside from work and doing my Chinese homework (not something one can rush through) is planning for the NEIBA (New England Independent Booksellers Association) Trade Show which I leave for tomorrow. I love this trade show.
This year the show is in Hartford, Ct., not as New England-y as previous shows in Providence or Boston, but I hear the convention center is really great, and I’m not averse to change. There are many education opportunities this year — two full days without competition from the show floor being open. This is a great change. It’s always hard to be at s trade show and miss the floor, as many of did at BEA, because you’re choosing to attend or are facilitating, educational sessions. These sessions are where I get energized again. Great ideas are shared, as are frustrations. Being able to talk to other booksellers about the year thus far is fun and enlightening as you realize many have had the same struggles you’ve had with the economy and business.
There are many sessions to choose from, but the ones I’m planning on attending are: Up to Speed for the Holiday: Recommending Books from 0-60 in Under 70. This panel features many experts in the field recommending their favorite books of the season. I enjoy this kind of session, because there are always books that I’ve missed that I shouldn’t have. And I love hearing seasoned booksellers talk books because they’re so passionate about them.
For the next session I need to clone myself because both sessions sound good: There’s the session with Chris Morrow from Northshire, called Independent Opportunities for Print on Demand, a topic that has been discussed at the Flying Pig. I feel I have pretty good relationships with publishers, but the session Booking Lasting Relationships Between Booksellers and Publishers promises new ideas on how to sell more books.
Thursday night is the Children’s Dinner which is the highlight for me. I get to see all my friends in one place and the speakers are generally excellent. This year we’re lucky enough to have Shannon Hale, Shaun Tan and Mo Willems. It should be a great evening.
The unhindered day of education continues Friday, first with an author breakfast featuring Mary Karr, Anita Shreve and Sarah Vowell. I’ve got my tickets for what should be a passable meal (the breakfasts at any trade show always leave me craving protein) and three amazing speeches.
The education session after the breakfast is one I’m participating in: Enough with the Good Will. Come to it to find out how booksellers are getting innovative about money-making events. This is followed by the annual NECBA meeting. I would like to take a moment to thank Vicky Uminowicz and Kenny Brechner for their outstanding work as the NECBA Co-Chairs for the past two years. Their term ends with the trade show and they have worked extremely hard to keep NECBA vital and fun, and I just wanted to give them a shout-out for all they’ve done.
There are many riches to this year’s trade show: Daniel Pink is the keynote speaker on Friday. There will be a sneak peak at the show floor from 5-6:15, just enough to whet our appetites for Saturday’s full day of making orders and seeing what’s new.
Here’s hoping we all have a great show. I’ll be posting throughout the show to let folks know how it’s going.