Saturday, May 24, 2008

Updates Galore, then off to BEA!

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, and perhaps my last chance to blog for a little while, so allow me to lay some updates and anticipations on you.

Brooklyn Bookstore
I received my PowerUp! check for $15,000 in the mail sometime last week, so yesterday I visited my new friend Juan at a great local/national bank about 20 minutes away. As he and I had discussed previously, I opened a small business money market account with the prize money, which will also be the depository for other funds raised. And he gave me the paperwork to fill out for a great big (to me) small business loan application. I'm hoping to get that in by mid-June, at the same time as I'm looking for retail spaces.

In the meantime, I've made some other great business friends: the Retail Committee of the fabulous Fort Greene Association. It turns out that the beautiful, developing neighborhood of Fort Greene wants a bookstore almost as bad as I want to create one, so I'll be working with them on finding a space, building community support, and doing some more fundraising. I'm so grateful to these folks for what they've done already, and you can be sure there will be much more to report as we lay our plans.

Stimulating Reading
Speaking of fundraising... you like me! You really like me! The Stimulating Reading project has already inspired at least one Stimulating Reader to invest their ENTIRE stimulus rebate in my future Brooklyn bookstore, and several others have kicked in at smaller amounts! Thanks, already -- you're incredible. And the project is getting some notice: Forbes' Digital Download (disclosure: this is my friend Dave who helped out with the website), BookSquare, and Living Read Girl have given some link love, and more are to come. Hooray! You shall receive your shirts, bags, buttons, discount cards, and signed book in due course. Don't forget to spread the word to others in blogland, even outside our bookish realm -- I have a sense that there are lots of folks out there hoping to do something worthwhile with their stimulus rebate, and a lot of little investments can go a long way.

New York City Booksellers meeting
And speaking of little going a long way... I sat in a room on Wednesday with some of the best booksellers in my city, from stores huge, tiny, and everywhere in between, and big things are afoot. I admit I expected a certain amount of pessimism or crankiness at our first exploratory meeting about forming an alliance of New York booksellers -- we're known for our independence and our toughness, after all. But there was almost none of that -- instead, there was the sense that the time has come at last for us to get together and talk about what's great about indie bookselling in New York, and how we can get that across to the book buying public. Thanks to the good efforts of Kelly Amabile, Chris Doeblin, and Eileen Dengler, the meeting was a fantastic exchange of ideas toward a common goal, and I was amazed at the talent and intelligence in the room. We came up with a lot of great ideas for the nature of the group and for specific projects, and agreed to meet again in about a month to solidify some of those decisions. I'm excited to see what's to come.

Book Expo America 2008
And now... 'tis the time of year when a young bookseller's fancy turns to... Book Expo America! Yes, my beloved boss will be far too pregnant to get on a plane herself this year, so she's sending me to Los Angeles along with my trusty coworker (known as Webmaster Dustin), and we have plans to tear it up. To be precise: every year before now I've had a nice little list of things I planned to do. This year: a spreadsheet and a Google map. Seriously, check it out -- you can see all the places I'm planning to be, though some of them require some manipulation of the space-time continuum to be in more than one place at the same time. But, as per tradition here's (an abbreviated version of ) my intended schedule for BEA this year -- because I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 27
Arrive in Los Angeles in the afternoon. Dinner with best friend from high school (I grew up two hours north of L.A.), in which I will attempt to persuade him to tell me how in the heck people get around in this city if they're sloshed -- research, you know.

Wednesday, May 28
12:00-4:00: While most smart booksellers are doing the "Welcome to Hollywood" activities, I'll be in a room all day with some of the smartest -- the Emerging Leaders Council -- hammering out an action plan for Emerging Leaders that will take us through the next year and make us a viable organization. After long hours of decision making we'll need some refreshment, so...

5:00: ABA Welcome to Hollywood reception at the Egyptian Theater (It's no Brooklyn Borough Hall, but it sounds like fun)

7:00: Emerging Leaders party at The Woods (There's a velvet rope at this spot, so I can't encourage you to crash, but I hope you've already RSVP'd and I'll see you there. Can't wait to take more embarassing photos...

Thursday, May 29
8:30 - 4:45: The anticipated yearly ABA Day of Education -- ground zero for bookseller professional development. This year the lineup includes:

9:30-10:45: Buying, Merchandising, and Selling Graphic Novels, 101 (with panelists Diamond Books rep John Shableski, comics guru Scott McCloud, and yours truly. Come for some comics geek out, and serious tips on running a graphic novel section in your store.)

5:00: ABA Celebration of Bookselling (boy oh boy, if you don't know about the big Booksense-related announcement yet, you're in for a treat...)

7:00 on: various parties, including one at Skylight Books which I'm excited to see, and another at the legendary Chateau Marmont...

Friday, May 30
9:00 - 5:00: The show floor experience at Book Expo America, including meetings with reps and vendors, shmoozing with other booksellers, picking up (or trying not to pick up) free galleys and swag, and taking in the spectacle that is the American book industry. It's a lot to pack in to eight hours - wish I could get to everything.

7:00 on: Again, various parties, including a couple of publisher cocktails/dinners, and Craig Popelar's infamous Hellfire party -- I didn't make it last year, and I'm told it was something to see. We'll just hope I can stagger in on Saturday morning.

Saturday, May 31
8:00 - 9:30: BEA Graphic Novel Breakfast (Mike Mignola! Jeff Smith! Total early-morning geekery!)

10:30 - 11:30: What's Hot, What's Good, What's Next in Graphic Novels (another comics panel in which yours truly finds herself a last minute participant. Come to this one for hot tips on what's coming up from a librarian, a publisher, and other experts.)

Afternoon: Rendezvous with my mom and my sisters for a little California vacation. I'll be incommunicado until Wednesday, enjoying some beach and family time.

I've got lots to do between now and Tuesday, so I may not get to blog again before then. If I can find a few minutes of downtime in the ABA lounge I'll try for some live blogging -- otherwise I'll catch up when I get back. Hope you all have equally exciting plans for our beachside BEA -- see you at the show!!