Monday, June 16, 2008

BEA Recap #3: Green Education (and a new project)

It's one of those crazy days for me today (as opposed to all of the totally sane days that happen at other times, to other people... who am I kidding?) But as promised, I want to recap the ABA Day of Education, particularly the Green portions. It will be short, though.

There was so much on offer at the DOE this year, and I wish I'd gotten to more. During one session I was serving on my own Graphic Novels Panel. I started out at the "Managing Blockbuster Events" panel, but was made unable to take it in by a migraine-grade headache (brought on by too much coffee, too little water, and too much hotel air conditioning, I think). I came back for the Loss Control panel, which was useful, but mostly stuff we've figured out (if not implemented) at my store already.

Which leaves the Green Retailing panel. Luckily, intrepid reporter Karen Schechner has written up the whole thing for Bookselling This Week - so you can read her capable recap instead of mine. But there are a couple of things I took from this.

1) The Green Press Initiative is going strong, it's having an effect, and it's something I need to investigate more. Over 160 publishers have already signed on, and we booksellers can encourage others to do so.

2) Letting publishers know we want recycled paper books can be powerful. One great idea: a featured display table with only books on recycled or sustainable foresting paper. There's enough out there that you could keep it rotating. And display features are a good reason for publishers to give you more of that kind of books to display.

3) What we don't yet do in our store:
- recycling everything, on the floor AND in the back offices. (This is tough with NYC's slightly bizarre trash pickup and recycling rules, but we're getting there.)

4) What we do in our store that works:
- turn off every possible computer at night
- turn every possible bit of paper - obsolete reports, special order printouts, etc. - into scrap paper. It gets used for notating damaged or returnable books, writing down directions or titles for customers, and everything else you can think of -- and keeps us from having to use more paper.
- re-using all of our event posters by printing on the back side.
- asking every customer "Do you need [not want] a bag?", rather than just bagging automatically -- it's saved us a lot of bags!
- featuring displays of books about going green.

That's what I've got, today. What is your bookstore (or other stores you visit) doing to get green?

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And now, that other project. Today's craziness, and a weekend conversation with the ALP, have prompted me to do something I've been meaning to do for a long time: start a blog about my bookstore startup process. I felt I needed something separate from The Written Nerd -- this place is for general industry and book-related stuff, and there's way too much bookstore stuff to include here. So I've started A Bookstore In Brooklyn just for that purpose. There's lots to report already -- today's just an intro. Check it out, spread it around, and I'll keep you posted.