Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Videotaping events

Here's a question for the masses:

We're interested in taping our author events, but would like to cover all of our bases in terms of any potential legal issues up front. Anyone out there with experience in such matters? Have you had any publishers or authors opposed to taping? Has taping been successful in terms of website traffic?

Please sound off down there in the comments.

And thanks for stopping by the Emerging Leaders blog!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Twitter as Newspaper: Emily's Front Page

This morning, I realized that I've been using Twitter as sort of a newspaper substitute. I check out my feeds, open links to interesting articles in new tabs, go make coffee, and then sit and absorb the articles. Am I contributing to the death of the newspaper? It's like I'm the content editor of articles that my "friends" have submitted to me.

This would be my above-the-fold Front Page today:

From NPR, a story on the demise of Reading Rainbow. Oh, this one makes me sad. We were nearly the same age... Butterfly in the Sky 4-evah...
'Reading Rainbow' Reaches Its Final Chapter

From slate.com, a look at how Sony and others might challenge the monopoly of Amazon and the Kindle.
How To Beat the Kindle

From the Christian Science Monitor, a particularly eloquent homage to all that books are and the Kindle is not.
I shall not be Kindled
"But I immediately sized up the device and knew that, while it is "neat" and convenient, it is not, nor will it ever be, a replacement for the book in the way that transistors replaced vacuum tubes or electronic calculators, the slide rule."

From Wired Magazine, a fascinating discussion on how technology is affecting the quality, content, and frequency of our writing.
Clive Thompson on the New Literacy

Friday, August 21, 2009

A few quick links (late) on a Friday...

Greetings Emerging Leaders and Fans!

Here are some tidbits that I found interesting this week:

is live! A great way to show off our collective knowledge!

Richard Nash, as always, has pointed the way to an interesting perspective on Twitter from performer/composer/director Amanda Palmer: "i started making the music in the first place not because i wanted music, but because i wanted human connection. music was the bridge there... connection = primary. music/art = secondary. twitter = realtime connection."

At the very end of a reading by Dave Eggers at my store last night, he said to expect a McSweeney's newspaper. Does that mean there's hope?

I've written a couple of pieces lately on the development of digital technology and its perception as either a format or a medium: one on this ABA Emerging Leaders Blog and a second one on the Two Dollar Radio Blog. Admittedly some heady stuff. But I discovered an amazing example of using digital as a literary medium on the JayIsGames blog: a game called Silent Conversation. This thing is totally mind-blowing. It creates a digital landscape using words, and it is interactive. You have to do something to continue reading the text. The text often visually illustrates what it is doing, like concrete poetry. It is soothing and challenging and beautiful and thought-provoking. Just go play it already!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Perks of Being a Bookseller

We've had some luck (and a whole lot of fun) putting on authorless events here at Magers and Quinn Booksellers and I'm curious what other booksellers have done in their stores. Please chime in down there in the comments and share your ideas and success stories.

This month we're doing two big off site events in conjunction with an exhibit at the Soap Factory gallery (yes, it's in an old Soap Factory!)called Common Room. Common Room will be a temporary curated gathering space within The Soap Factory designed to facilitate interactivity and the blurring of the boundaries between curators, performers and audience, all within in a casual, living room-esque environment.

We were invited to curate some community gatherings around the subject of books.
And here's what we have on tap:

During our book club discussion of Time Traveler's Wife, we're having our attendees (circa 100 people) each create a paper sculpture (Clare's profession/hobby in the book). And, in honor of Henry the time-traveling librarian, we're building a card catalog of information on the reading habits of our book club regulars.

Afterwards, once the beer and wine have been flowing for a while, we'll do:

Competitive one-on-one writing contests (sort of like Balderdash, but trying to write a cover blurb for a book you've never read) and Giant Mad Libs on a 1970s projection screen that looks a little like Wall-E.

We're also hosting a release party for the new issue of Granta Magazine, which will feature:

5-minute book reports (think Reading Rainbow for adults)
A presentation on literary hoaxes, which may or may not include slides.
An interactive book report (requiring audience participating to act out various scenes)
A presentation by author Eric Hanson titled "When Ted met Sylvia." The working subtitle is "excerpts from Eric Hanson's birthday miscellany on crossed paths and bypaths of literary and historical figures."
A literary trivia challenge with author Brad Zellar taking on the crowd.
An Exquisite Corpse writing game using a vintage typewriter

Jay D. Peterson
Magers and Quinn Booksellers
Minneapolis, MN

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Link Roundup

The folks at Green Apple do hilarious videos. This one cracked me up - BOOK v KINDLE SMACKDOWN!

According to a UK study, "Reading is the best way to relax and even six minutes can be enough to reduce the stress levels by more than two thirds or 68%" -- so an hour is like a day at the spa, without the expense or weird mud wraps. (Thanks PW)

If you are an Indie bookseller, please consider filling out the ABA's IndieNext Survey. "Data gathered from the survey will help ABA ensure that the Next Lists remain relevant for booksellers and customers alike." Deadline is Aug 5.

Finally, four months after a gigantic big-rig truck plowed through the store, killing two and almost destroying the building - Flintridge Books in La Canada, California is reopening. This store is fairly new but a wonderful part of the La Canada and Pasadena community. If you are in the neighborhood, stop by on August 1st and help them celebrate! (Thanks Publisher's Mktplace).

Friday, July 24, 2009

What would a digital translation of The Grapes of Wrath look like?

Reading Jenn and Emily's post a couple weeks ago made me wonder: what if Emily is right, and the future of the book is digital not just in terms of format, but also in terms of medium? In other words, much like we moved from oral storytelling to books hundreds of years ago, what if over the next few decades we move to a new digital medium in which the hypertext, notes, reader comments, and so become just as much a part of the book as the original story?

I'm not sure how comfortable I am with this idea, but it seems to be popping up in a lot of online conversations. And perhaps it would be foolish to use the potential of digital books for nothing more than, as Emily aptly calls the current e-readers, storage devices. For non-fiction this might be as straight-forward as linking to sources in the text (hell, even most online newspapers do this already). For fiction the implications are broader and almost overwhelming.

Some modern books seem like they'd fit well into this format. I, for one, would be more likely to tackle Infinite Jest if I knew I could touch the screen at each footnote and have it pop up over the main text. But here's what I can't stop thinking about: if digital reading, with its attendant whatever-we-add-to-it, becomes the primary way we read, would we need to translate today's books to this new medium? Much like you're now more likely to read Beowulf instead of hear a traveling bard read it in the original, and similar to the way that many classics have been given a graphic novel edition, would it be necessary for the books we read now to be changed to fit the digital reading experience?

And if so, which books would we choose? I imagine that the process of making a book a digital book would be like a translation in many ways---not all books make the cut. Beowulf was not, after all, the only epic poem of its time, but it's the only one you'll read in tenth-grade English. Which, of all the books I've read, of all the books we have before us, might we choose for this new digital formatting for hapless fifteen-year-olds to read on their retinal-book-implant in 2100?

As you can tell, I have a long walk to work, and sometimes I take my wondering a bit too far. But as you ponder which books you love enough to work on their digital translation, check out this list of favorites, new and old, from the EL council:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Jenn & Emily: The Future of the Book

We duke it out, Lucha Libre style, over the future of the book. This will probably become a series of posts, so stay tuned!
  • Emily's take: The Book is NOT Dead, Especially if Digital = Medium, not Format


I've been agitating since early this year for the death of the book. Well, ok, not really. Actually, what happened is this: the giant stack of ARCs behind my desk fell on me. Again. Which (possibly because of the ensuing brain damage) led me to believe that digital ARCs were the answer to all of our problems. Instant distribution! No shipping costs! Save some trees! And most importantly, no giant stacks to fall on bookseller heads.

Which then begged the question, how would I read them? I don't know about you, but reading on a laptop or a computer is one of the things I am least interested in in life, a close second to anchovies on pizza. But alas, I'm a poor bookseller, and cannot afford spiffy techno-thingies that cost several hundred dollars and don't even have a WiFi connection. So my next brain child (see brain damage above) was that publishers should buy booksellers eReaders (not Kindles, but really anything else would be fine). It would probably save them money in the long run (Instant distribution! No shipping costs! Save some trees!) and if a publisher would actually buy me one, I'd promise to read their books first. Or something like that.

Turns out publishers don't feel like buying booksellers eReaders. Who'd'a thunkit? It also turned out a lot of publishers don't want to send me digiARCs, for fear that I will put them on the Internet and then the author will feel violated and never write again and no one will buy the book and it will have been all my fault, lions and tigers and bears oh my! Or at least that's my guess as to why they don't want to send digiARCs. And yeah, I can kind of understand. But wait, what happened to my brilliant (brain-damage-induced) plan?

So my solution: I bought myself an iPod Touch (WiFi! Email! Fun games! No monthly service fee! Oh yeah, and it can be an eReader too!) and signed up for NetGalley (which has an amazing number of good books on it, yours for the asking). Hey presto! I was reading digiARCs on my very own eReader. Is the experience all its cracked up to be? Surprisingly, the answer is a resounding yes. There are some snafus in actually getting the ARCs onto the iPod, but once they're there, the reading experience is great. So far, it matches actual books for visibility (you can see the screen in direct sunlight quite clearly, schockingly enough) and you can carry around, well, a bajillion times more ARCs with you than if they were regular ARCs. And then, after I've emailed my review in to the publisher, I can make a monkey pop balloons with darts.

The moral of the story? DigiARCs won't fall on your head and are fun to read, an iPod Touch is a great investment, and pizza is better without anchovies.

The Book is NOT Dead, Especially if Digital = Medium, not Format - Emily Pullen, Skylight Books (for her full review of Asterios Polyp, visit the Skylight Blog)

[After reading Asterios Polyp,] I realized that this kind of pleasure will never be had with a Kindle, a Sony Reader, or any other sort of digital reading device. Technologically, they can't do it, and even if they could do color, it wouldn't be the same. This is why I don't fear the death of the book. And this is why I think that publishers who are going gaga over digitizing everything are taking the wrong approach. I think digitizing is useful, but it shouldn't supersede The Book. Nick Harkaway posted some very interesting thoughts about this on his (fabulously designed) blog this week.

Bear with me here. I think that it is absolutely right that we talk about comics as a medium, as Scott McCloud and others have taught us to. But why aren't we thinking about digital in the same way, as a medium, rather than a format? Reading Asterios Polyp reminded me that the graphic medium can accomplish things in a novel that the written word cannot. Similarly, I'm sure that the digital medium could accomplish things in a novel that graphics or the written word could not, and THAT is where its innovation and interest lies for me. Not in its ability to replicate exactly what I might get in a book. And yet, that seems to be what developers of devices and digital formats are striving for at this point. They have yet to examine its possibilities as a medium.

To me, a Kindle or an eReader is a content storage device, not a book. It is mighty convenient for people who travel a lot or who have too many books or who deal in manuscripts on a regular basis. Forgot a book? Whip out your iPhone, it's so easy! But Asterios Polyp could not exist on any of these devices, and a child will never gleefully unwrap several of these devices at a birthday party, and rarely will someone have occasion to scan your device and glean something about your character. Devices are convenient, but they are not the be-all and end-all. Don't scrap your printing budgets just yet.

Friday, July 3, 2009


OK this is gonna be a quickie.

Obviously in an indie bookstore, July 4th is a favorite holiday. Check out what bookstores around the country are doing to celebrate independents week. And while we're over at Indiebound, did you know that there is a 'social networking community' there, too? Sign up, friend your fave booksellers, make wish lists, and help the indiebound community by adding more indie businesses to their interactive map. Why yes, it IS yet another way to procrastinate. :-)

If you are in San Francisco next week, Thursday July 9 at 6pm join the all-cookbook bookstore Omnivore for their first annual Fried Chicken Taste-Off. $5 fee for eaters only, free for participants. And wine! Mmmmm...

What do Vladimir Nabokov, Margaret Atwood, John Irving, Dave Eggers, Hunter S. Thompson, E.L.Doctorow, Audrey Niffenegger, Richard Russo and pretty much every other famous writer living or dead have in common? If you answered "they have a new book coming out in Fall '09", you're right!

Something to look forward to. Now if you'll excuse me, the bbq calls...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Be a friend to Indies!

I've worked at independent bookstores for more than half my life, for the past several years as a buyer and events person at an indie in San Francisco. My family also owns a different small independent bookstore here in the city. So I may have a bit of a bias here. But something that drives me a bit crazy in the media is talk of “the demise of the little bookstore.”

First of all, this is a down economy, for sure. But all kinds of businesses close all the time. We don’t moan about how the cookie business is collapsing every time a bakery goes bust. I mean – don’t get me wrong, I am romantic about bookstores too, but sometimes they just close. That doesn’t mean that ALL bookstores are closing. And these articles very rarely talk about the fact that there are also new indie stores opening!

Indie bookstores aren’t going anywhere without a fight, kids. Here’s how you can help:


Indies can be large or teensy. The can sell new or used books, or both. They can be specialty shops (children's only, or all mystery, for example), or they can be general interest. The main thing is, that they are owned and operated by people in the community, and they reflect the individuality and taste of the owners and buyers.

"Big Box" retailers are large chains such as Barnes and Noble or Borders. They typically occupy more than 50,000 square feet. They tend to focus on "big" titles from major publishers -- small or unusual publishers and first-time authors tend to be shut out. Malcolm Gladwell calls big chain bookstores "blockbuster factories." The sheer volume is so intimidating that customer tends to go straight for the piles on display - which is nice for the John Grishams of the world, but if you want the chance to find something that isn't already popular, you might have a problem.

Centralized buying offices also mean that the people who are CHOOSING the books for the store probably have no connection to the reading habits or needs of the people in the neighborhood. Though they buy many more books than I ever could, they ultimately have a less diverse selection.

Independent bookstores are a part of their neighborhoods. Their buyers live there - they respond to what their neighbors want - they are flexible - the store's selection can be quirky and feature smaller titles prominently because they aren't in pay to whatever the latest publisher push is. Yep, publishers pay dearly to be on the front displays of a big-box store -- the same is NOT true for independents. If you get rid of Indies, you will have a much more homogeneous and a much less interesting reading landscape.

As for online retailers like Amazon - of course they are convenient. I am not saying they don't have their place! However, whenever possible, I prefer the personal attention and expertise given to me by real bookselling humans -- and the fact is that there are other reasons to prefer local brick-and-mortar stores, too.


The reality is, money spent locally tends to remain local. Local businesses contribute to the local economy by providing jobs - in fact, here in San Francisco, they provide residents with the most new jobs. They also spend their money in other local business and service providers at more than twice the rate of chains. (That's according to the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics). They pay taxes which go to fund local government services, streetlights, schools and more.

Let me break that down for you: WE pay for your kid's public school. AMAZON does not.

Here are a bunch of numbers, you can skip them if you want: LivingEconomies.org quotes a recent study in Barnstable Mass which found that small downtown stores "generate an annual net SURPLUS of $326 per 1,000 square feet. Big box stores on the other hand require more in services than they produce in revenue - an annual tax DEFICIT of $468 per 1,000 square feet."

Oh, and then there are charities. According to the SF Local Merchants Association, non-profit organizations receive 350% more support from local business owners than from chains. Wow.

OH, and did I mention the environment? Yeah, well, since local businesses generally set up in town or city centres, and buy more local goods, they contribute less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.


Independents do things that Amazon, and even most chain stores, won't or can't do. Things like hosting awesome author events and creating book fairs for your local school. Working with librarians to create programming and book lists. We don't MAKE MONEY at this, people. Most booksellers I know are way overeducated and way underpaid. However, we do this stuff because we are called to do it. Because we love books, and we want to share them with you. Because we love our neighborhoods, and want to make them better places for everyone.

As for "my indie is too little and doesn't carry XYZ! So the big store is better!" - umm, we aren't mind readers. If I don't have a ton of mass market romance, it's because mass market romance hasn't historically sold very well in my neighborhood. But y'know what? When people ASK for it, I GET it. My romance section is three times larger than it was a year ago, because I got requests. It will stay large as long as people keep shopping it. Your local bookstore wants to make you happy, O Customer! So help us help you. Tell us what you want. Seriously. We're listening.

Plus, we can get you just about anything in a couple of days, sometimes even in ONE day, with no shipping charges. Yay!


Well, first of all, you can shop at an independent bookstore whenever possible. You gotta buy books at indies if you want them to stick around. Obvious, right?

I know that isn't always a possibility. We aren't the library, and we can't give big huge discounts on bestsellers like CostCo can. BUT! Many indies do have loyalty programs, teacher discounts, senior discounts, even friend-of-the-library discounts and the like, and almost all sell remainder "sale books". Even if you switched 10% more of your buying power to indies, you'd be doing a great thing both for them and for your local economy.


Most indie bookstores in the US participate in "IndieBound", (which used to be called the Booksense program). What is that? Well, we put together an amazing list of picks every month, the Indie Next list, and distribute those newsletters in every member store. We also sell gift cards, which means that if you buy a gift card from my store, you could go to ANY indie store in the country to spend it. Which is pretty awesome, since they are in every state and online as well.

My big suggestion is, next to your Amazon or B&N link on your blog or website, why not also LINK TO INDIEBOUND? That way people can find the indie store nearest them. Indiebound even has an affiliate program, if that is your thing.

You could also choose YOUR fave indie bookstore and link to that! If you are a writer, you might even be able to partner with them - make your local indie your "official" bookstore - so that people can always get autographed copies of your book if they shop at your neighborhood store, that you link to on your website. Give people the option, you know? Especially because, if you are a writer and you're trying to kiss up to an indie bookstore, and the only thing you link to is Amazon, you make us cry.

SO LINK. It is one easy-peasy way to be a Friend to Indies.

OK, my rant is over. Thank you for your attention.

-- Jennifer L., NCIBA

Links, got your links here

Last week PW's Shelftalker blog ran this superb article on handselling and the fine art of "reading the customer" - this is a MUST READ for newbie booksellers and a pretty good refresher for those of us who've been in the trenches for a while, too...

Our very own Rich Rennicks of Malaprops in Asheville NC has two pieces of news: He's the brand-new Emerging Leaders council's rep from SIBA and he's working for our good friends at the very cool indie publisher Unbridled Books as their "Bookstore Liason." (Perhaps when it is Rich's turn to blog he can tell us what the heck that is, exactly!)

In case you've been looking for yet another reason to disdain the Kindle, Boing Boing tells us how the Kindle DRM is rearing its ugly head. "We found out the hard way that Amazon can revoke your Kindle's ability to read your ebooks aloud after you've bought them." You know, when you buy a paper book, it is really and truly yours to do what you like with... Just sayin'.

Looking for a way to spice up your sex life? The NYT book review invites you to enter (the mind of) octogenarian Gloria Vanderbilt, if you dare. "Mint, cayenne pepper and a fresh garden carrot are deployed in the book in ways never envisioned by “The Joy of Cooking.” And there is also a unicorn, though, blessedly, it remains a bystander."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Greetings from Minneapolis!

I'm Jay and I'm the Emerging Leaders Council representative for the Midwestern Booksellers Association. I'm also the manager of Magers and Quinn Booksellers, the largest indepedent in the Twin Cities.

So, enough about me, here's what's new in the world of bookselling Minneapolis-style:

Magers & Quinn Booksellers wrapped up a wild weekend of unconventional bookselling with a publication party and poster sale for Gig Posters Vol. 1: Rock Art of the 21st Century (published by Quirk Books) on Sunday, June 14. We invited 8 of the graphic designers featured in the book to show their works on display tables throughout the store. The designers included Amy Jo, Aesthetic Apparatus, Burlesque of North America and Adam Turman. Nearly 400 people turned up to view and purchase limited-edition screen printed posters from the artists and (most importantly) copies of the book. It was one of the largest in-store events we've hosted in our 15 years of business.

In addition to being home to a plethora of talented graphic artists and world-class design firms, Minneapolis also has an insanely huge bicycling subculture. On Friday, the stretch run of the Nature Valley Grand Prix bike race took place on Hennepin Avenue, just outside our front door. Thousands turned out to watch the blur of pro racers speeding through the Uptown neighborhood. As part of the festivities, we hosted Doug Shidell, creator of the Twin Cities Bike Map (from Little Transport Press), and partnered with the worker-owned Hub Bike Co-op to provide free smoothies from a bicycle powered blender for spectators.

The Hub also helped build a window display featuring two of its top of the line bikes and a number of cycling books, including Pedaling Revolution : How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities (from Oregon State Univ Press) and Doug Shidell's Bicycle Vacation Guide to Minnesota & Wisconsin (another one from Little Transport Press).

All in all, it was an exhausting but successful weekend of slinging books to the masses.

Thanks for reading!


Monday, April 27, 2009

Emily's Highlights from the trenches of LA Lit Culture

From a bookseller's standpoint, the LA Times Festival of Books is a lot of work. You spend a few weeks gathering supplies and inventory, and it is one of those rare opportunities where you get to decide just what it is that will define your store to thousands of potential new customers and faithful regulars. Then you get up early several days in a row, carry lots of boxes, cover all of your beloved books with dew-repellent tarps, and hope for exactly the weather we got this weekend.

Because we really wanted our booth to have the same curated feel as our store, fine-tuning was essential. We brought signed copies from past events, books for upcoming events, edgy fiction and rare gems from small presses, a spinner of Hard Case Crime books, heady titles from university presses, and kids books that reflect our refined tastes. Interestingly, staff picks didn't seem to help or hurt -- what really mattered was the visual. People were looking at books all day in 100s and 100s of booths, and if you could catch their eye with something they hadn't seen before, they might stop by. The goal was to have a few titles they might come looking for, and lots that they won't see anywhere else.

One of my favorite quotes came before our booth was even open: as we were unpacking boxes, a finals-addled UCLA student asked, voice all full of awe and wonder, whether "ALL of the books in your store are like THIS?"

I only had the pleasure of attending one panel, Publishing 3.0, which was phenomenal. I haven't mentally distilled it quite yet, but let's just say that it had the potential to be everything the ill-fated SXSW publishing panel was not. They only true limitation was time.

Other highlights included the Granta party at Equator Books and a successful tweetup at the Skylight booth with my idol Richard Nash, formerly of Soft Skull and Counterpoint. And the icing on the cake, quite literally, was at the end of my last shift, when a coworker (whose father happens to be a bigshot fiction writer) gave me her VIP wrist band. I snuck into the VIP lounge and had the most amazing free brie, free mini sandwiches, and don't even get me started on the free chocolate cake. They sure know how to treat their VIPs!

I think that #LATFOB gives us an idea of what BEA might be like if it were open to the public. I'm a fan of opening up the final day of BEA. At the Publishing 3.0 panel, Richard Nash suggested that 20th century publishing was really about perfecting the art of supply. In order to survive this transition into the 21st century, Nash suggests that honing in on customer demand will be the key. To this relative rookie, it seems that BEA still falls more on the supply side: we are talking amongst ourselves, various points along the book supply chain, about how we can all work together -- an important and undoubtedly exciting task. But as booksellers, our role is really that of intermediary between authors/publishers/publicists on one hand and readers on the other. And unlike BEA, where we booksellers often have to be the voice of our customers, the Festival of Books brings all of these parties face to face.

L.A.'s Literary Culture

Props to Emerging Leaders Council member Emily Pullen (Skylight Books), who is quoted in today's Los Angeles Times article on the LA Times Festival of Books:

"It's a misconception that L.A. is not a book town," said Emily Pullen, a manager for Skylight Books in Los Feliz, which has a booth at the festival with edgy fiction, handmade zines and graphic novels for sale. "It's got an amazingly rich literary culture. New York is the home of the big publishing houses. But there are so many great, amazing and energizing authors who live in L.A."

Some of us New York booksellers (hi, it's me Jessica!) were awfully jealous of the literary goings-on in L.A. this weekend. And it's awesome to see a mainstream newspaper acknowledge the huge number of booklovers out there (surprise, reading isn't dead!)

Congrats to Emily, Skylight, and all the participants in the rich literary culture of Los Angeles.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Reasons Frontline Booksellers Should Go To BEA

Book Expo America is happening in New York City, May 28 - 31. If you work as a frontline bookseller in an independent bookstore, here's why you should come.

1) For your future.
This is where you'll meet the people you'll be working with for the next 20 years. It may be where you meet someone who will give you your next job, or connect you with someone to help you do your own job better. It's where you'll establish the relationships that will give you a chance for a long-term career in the book industry, whether in bookstores, publishing, or elsewhere.

2) For the parties. Duh. Even if you didn't get the embossed invitation (that probably went to your boss), you will have the opportunity to go to dinners, cocktails, beerfests, maybe even the odd dance party. (Here's your first invitation: Emerging Leaders party, open bar, Wednesday May 27 -- time and place to come!)

3) For the free stuff. Maybe you already get lots of galleys sent to the bookstore -- but nothing like this. While it's good advice not to load yourself down too much with swag, it definitely makes sense to take advantage of some of the book giveaways (and tote bags, notepads, keychains, buttons, and figurines, if you're into that) publishers are offering specifically for handselling booksellers like you.

4) For the education. The ABA's Day of Education is second to none in terms of professional development for booksellers -- go to the sessions on Thursday, and you WILL be a better bookseller by the end of the day. And the education offered by BEA itself is nothing to sneeze at, either.

5) For your Next Great Read. The books for this summer, fall and winter will be arrayed for your discovery -- you might find the next novel by your favorite author, or some serendipitous great book you've never heard of. (Kind of like browsing in a bookstore, for bookstores.)

6) For new vendors and products. You might not be the buyer in your store, but that doesn't mean you can't discover a great new indie press or sideline manufacturer to bring back to your store. Your eye for the new is as valuable as anyone's.

7) For encounters with authors. Sherman Alexie? Richard Russo? Stephen Tyler? Whoever you're crazy about, chances are you'll have a chance to shake their hand and have them sign your book -- or just hear them rock out in their own inimitable fashion.

8) For putting faces with names. You talk on the phone to your sales rep, you email with publicists, but there's nothing like meeting face-to-face with your professional colleagues. Your interactions afterward will be more interesting and better.

9) For New York City. Yeah, it's an expensive town -- but it's also one of the greatest cities in the world, the center of book publishing, and home to a ton of great indie bookstores. Whether you wanna squeeze in a visit to the Strand, the Met, Prospect Park, or FAO Schwartz, you'll be in the place to do it. It's got a kind of energy that's completely unique.

10) Because the badge is free. If you're a young bookseller and you email the Emerging Leaders Council, we can hook you up with a FREE pass to BEA, for a single day or several. All you have to do is get here (and we can even help you out with somewhere to stay.)

There are plenty more reasons to come to BEA this year. What are some of your favorites?

Friday, April 17, 2009

EL represent at BEA (and FREE passes!)

Your Emerging Leaders Council members (as well as the younger generation of booksellers as a whole) looms large in the recently announced program schedule for ABA's Day of Education for Book Expo 2009. Here's where you can find us on Thursday, May 28:

- Jennifer Laughran (EL rep, NCIBA region) talks about Book Club Brainstorming

Jessica Stockton Bagnulo (EL rep, NAIBA region) talks about Bookstore as the Third Place: Making Your Store a Community Center Through Innovative Events

- Jen Northington (EL rep, MPBA region) talks about Going Digital: An Industry Discussion on Selling E-Content

- Megan Sullivan (EL rep, NEIBA region) talks about Social Media and the Independent Bookseller

Want to join us in NYC for the Day of Education and all the buzz of Book Expo? Email us! The Emerging Leaders Council has a limited number of free passes to BEA available for Emerging Leaders booksellers. And if you need a place to stay, you can get in touch with the couchsurfing network through Ning, Twitter, or via email. See you at BEA!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Couch Surfing BEA '09

Book Expo American 2009 is fast approaching (May 28-31), and this year (and probably the next few years) it's happening in NYC. Booksellers will be descending on the city from all over the country to partake in the conference. This year, registration is free for booksellers -- but they'll still need a place to sleep. Since bookstores may be cutting travel costs, Emerging Leaders booksellers may be unable to afford hotel rooms.

What to do? Well, there are a couple of options! You could pool resources with other booksellers or find a comfy couch to crash on (or provide one!). How to find those booksellers? Emerging Leaders has you covered.

The Emerging Leaders Council will be working on pairing booksellers in need of trade show accommodations with those who have places to offer. Need a place to stay, want to pool funds, or have a couch on offer? Email us at abae...@gmail.com, join our Couch Surfing BEA group on Ning, or follow #BEAcouchsurf on Twitter.

This is a chance to foster the camaraderie and professionalism of our industry, learn about how other bookstores operate, and maybe make new friends and contacts in bookstores outside the city. At the very least, you'll have someone to show up at parties with.

See you at BEA!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Inaugural Post!

Welcome to our new blog! It seems appropriate to start with our official mission statement:

Emerging Leaders aims to develop, retain, and support the independent book industry's future innovators and leaders, through peer support, networking, mentoring, and education. Emerging Leaders is tailored, but not restricted, to booksellers age forty and under, who are determined to work in the industry and who demonstrate a passion for bookselling.

Emerging Leaders works with the American Booksellers Association to create projects, programming, and a peer group for young independent booksellers. The nine members of the Emerging Leaders Council will be blogging here about events, projects, and other stuff of interest to our constituents. You can find more details about us on the Emerging Leaders website.

Welcome, young booksellers! On to the future of books!