Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Heartland Fall Forum - Cleveland, OH

Heartland Fall Forum, Cleveland, OH
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When I began this journey and this blog it was with the intent of featuring strictly independent bookstores.  I can count on one hand the number of times I've strayed from that.  This entry will be one of those times for a couple of reasons.  1) Booksellers, owners, and managers need to hear about the Heartland Forum Event I attended and, 2) They also need to know about BINC, The Book Industry Charitable Foundation that can assist those same people in times of crisis.  If you work in a bookstore and have never attended your regional trade show, move it to the top of your "to-do" list.  I would strongly recommend this for your professional and personal growth in the business.  Once you attend, you'll never want to miss it again.  It will knock your bookstore socks off!

The Heartland Fall Forum is the annual regional trade show for the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association (GLIBA) and the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association (MIBA).  This reminds me of teacher conferences I've attended that are so important for professional development, networking, re-charging your battery, renewing friendships that are so good for morale boosting, sales strategies, new products, and a host of other benefits.  I discovered long ago that teachers and booksellers have much in common.  For me to be afforded the opportunity to be a part of this conference/trade show was indescribable.  I renewed friendships with so many fantastic bookstore people I've met on my journey and met new ones who I want to visit in their store.  I especially enjoyed one of the professional development sessions I attended, "Dealing With Difficult Customers."  I wanted to find out if it was anything like dealing with difficult students!

And then there was the grand ballroom of exhibits, the trade show.  New books, publishers small and large, authors, and bookstore people everywhere.  Kit S., the BINC programs manager told me I would be in heaven and she was right.  For someone like me, a bookstore customer, this was one of the pinnacles of my journey.

I never could've done this if it weren't for Kit and all the terrific people at BINC.  Just like the bookstore people they serve, they were all equally nice.  If there is a larger gathering of darn nice people anywhere I'd like to know where it is.  Kathy B. development director, reeled me in at the awards ceremony along with Kate and they kindly took me under their wings for the festival.  These ladies along with Jenny, Lorie, Pam, and others made my experience as grand as my bookstore visits.  My only disappointment was they didn't tell me to wipe the drool off my chin from being surrounded by all the books and all the great people!

If you're in a bookstore and don't know about BINC, find out about it for yourself and others at your store.  They can provide emergency assistance for yourself and /or your store if you're in desperate straits.  Health emergency costs, natural disasters, living expenses, scholarship opportunities (they helped fund the Heartland Fall Forum experience for some of the booksellers) and MUCH more.  They are a valuable resource you can call on anytime when you are in need.  And the people who will help you are top notch.  Heck, they helped me enjoy a great bookstore experience just by getting me into this event.  Check this event out next time, booksellers.  You will not be disappointed.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt.

One of the entrances to the historic Renaissance Hotel in downtown Cleveland, the location for the three day event.  The event site rotates each year so if this distance was too far, make sure you find out where next year's is held.  

There are easel display boards everywhere and there is also a program of events available with your registration.  

The HFF is fortunate to have a great group of sponsors.  

Lots of rooms like this one that host the many educational and informational sessions.  

The grand ballroom, the day before the vendors and exhibits set-up.  Consider this a "before" picture.  

Same room and view as above but filled with lots of new ideas, new books, wonderful people, and much positive energy.  

Just a portion of the Macmillan Publishers display area, a day before the event.  Those boxes will be unpacked, set-up, and offer lots of new books to browse, most of them yet to be released.  

Overview of the Gold Ballroom where the events ceremony was held.  Awards are presented to authors, organizations, and booksellers to name a few.  

Some of the BINC brain trust accepting the award.  Pam, the executive director is speaking.  Behind her from L-R:  Kate, Kathy, Sarah, and Lorie, the foundation president.  

Congratulations to BINC on their award for all their great work with bookstores and their people.  An incredible honor for me to be there.  

I ran into people like this everywhere.  Judith K. from Scout & Morgan Books in Cambridge, MN.  

Booksellers, you may not think you have a safety net, but you do.  

If so, BINC can help.  

Display of new games available for independent bookstores.  

One of the new games, this one looks good.  

Another new game.  There is a session at the event where you can sit down with other booksellers and play the new games, a great way to try them out.  

This is an overview from the balcony of the trade show floor in the grand ballroom.  

An apt statement.  

Cannot thank these ladies and the entire BINC team enough for the invitation to experience this wonderful event.  With Kate in the middle and Kathy on the right, two of the fine folks you'll meet when you get to know BINC.
Thanks for a great visit.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Next Page Books & Nosh - Frisco, CO

Next Page Books & Nosh, Frisco, CO
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It would seem to me that the busy tourist seasons for this area would be summers and winters.  So when I decided to visit here after Labor Day, I thought, perfect.  This would be between tourist seasons and it will be a down time to visit, fine by me.  If my weekday visit to New Page Books & Nosh is any indication though, this isn't the down time!  Or maybe its just everyone knows what a great placer this is?  After my visit, my preferred observation is this is just a great place.

New Page was a bustle this afternoon with customers, tourists, students, a knitting club, and Dickens the wandering bookstore dog (he's one of four bookstore dogs on staff).  Lisa H. has been the owner here for about three years and this place is happening.  She and former owner Karen both told me things are going great and I can see why.  A medium-sized space with adjacent rooms and two separate exterior entrances.  Basically, one side is the books and the other is the nosh.  Lisa confirmed to me that the nosh, or sidelines, is huge for the business.  A small cafe offering beverages and light food items is in this nosh room.  The number and variety of gift items were outstanding.  Additionally, you'll find jigsaw puzzles, wooly socks, greeting cards, journals, and Colorado-themed items.  I thought the inventory of new books was well-curated.  New Page has multiple knitting clubs and book clubs.  They also offer an active events schedule and are introducing events for community workshops and involvement.  This is so indie!

Not only did I get to meet Lisa but I also enjoyed meeting Karen, the founder and original owner of New Page.  The store opened in 2007 in a perfect location in downtown Frisco on Main St.  Both of these ladies couldn't have been nicer to talk to and learn a bit about the store.  And I'm sure Lisa appreciates having Karen and her experience on staff.  

With their local customers and tourist season customers, I see nothing but blue skies ahead for this charming bookstore.  On your next visit through the Rockies, make this one of your stops right off I-70.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt.

One of the attractive window displays.  Notice the quote in the sidewalk.  If you look around, you'll see others.  

A perfect setting to relax with your book.  

Looking into the bookstore from the main entrance.  If you walk straight ahead and turn right, you'll be in the adjacent room where you'll find a cafe and endless gift ideas.  You can also enter the room on the right through its own outside entrance.  

Looking to the left from the main entrance.  

No argument here.  

Very neat display of new fiction.  How many have you read?

Just a few of the items of local and regional interest.  

An extensive variety of wooly socks.  

One of the most original displays I've seen.  This is right in the middle of the store.  An antique toy car that has been re-fashioned into a book display.  The creativity of bookstore people is evident in every store I visit.  

This is the other side.  

Just a few of the greeting cards available.  

Partial view of the children's section.  

Some creative artistic decor in the children's section.  

Children's books in Spanish.  

Partial view of the cafe.  Meticulous readers undoubtedly will recognize the lustrous white hair of the celebrity in the foreground.  Yes, that's my mom.  

A great seating area in the cafe room.  

The cafe has numerous options. 

A good section of travel guides and maps.  

An overview looking from the back toward the front entrance.  

Dickens, the wandering bookstore dog but not wandering at the moment!

Attractive jewelry available.  

Since I break reading glasses merely by using them, this is a welcome display.  

The attention to the store's interior decor is outstanding.  

With Lisa, the fine owner at Next Page Books & Nosh.  Thanks for a great visit.  

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Ole Man Berkins - Breckenridge, CO

Ole Man Berkins, Breckenridge, CO
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Readers, the fun for me, and I know many of you, is the "hunt" when you visit a used book store.  Their organization can range from none at all to impeccable.  I'm not bothered either way because I can enjoy my visit regardless.  Here at Ole Man Berkins in Breckenridge the arrangement is somewhere between the two.  But you'll be able to find your genre category and then for me, I enjoy the treasure hunt of finding those older gems that you just don't see in the bookstores that carry new books.  Or better yet, discovering something you didn't know you needed but just happened upon.  An experience you can't duplicate on the internet.

Ole Man Berkins is located in downtown Breckenridge surrounded by many retail small businesses.  Owner Justin S. opened this bookstore a little over 15 years ago in a space hardly bigger than a utility closet, 485 square feet.  From those humble beginnings he has now expanded to a spacious 2300 square feet that accommodates an inventory of approximately 100,000 used books.  And as if that isn't enough space they have a storage room full of books in the back of the store.  In addition to the books, you'll find vintage and collectable editions, DVDs, CDs, music on vinyl, foreign language books, and magazines.  I thought they had an impressive collection of National Geographics that dated back to the 1940s.

I didn't get to meet Justin but he was kind enough to correspond with me via emails several times and tell me a lot about the store.  So, it was kind of like I met him!  On the day of my visit I enjoyed meeting Rose, the store manager, and booksellers Peter and Jackson (this one has a bright future).
I'm a softie for booksellers like this guy, Jackson.  His bookselling strategy?  He won't say a word but will easily charm you to pieces with his presence and happy tail.  
Rose filled me in about the arrangements they make with customers for the books they bring in, offering store credit.  But many times books are simply donated.  They just took in a large donation of books from the library sale of the ones that went unsold.  She also told me about the incredible tourism here, 3 million tourists annually.  What bookstore wouldn't enjoy this customer base to go along with their strong core of local regulars?!

Clearly, this indie is mostly about the books.  You'll easily be able to spend hours here searching the shelves for the elusive title you've been looking for.  Enjoy a visit to a long-running, successful local business and the terrific people who work there.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt.  

Exterior view.  The store sits back from its Main Street address.  

For the books in the outside sale wagon, leave your money here if it is after hours.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

Looking to the left just inside the front door.  

Looking to the right inside the front door.  

Just inside the store you'll see shelves of staff picks.  

A small sampling of the DVDs available.  

Just a few of the many children's books available.  

Entering the store and then proceeding to the left will take you to one of the main book rooms.  

A variety of games.  

Outlander fans are covered here.  

A great way to shelve special books (I guess these would be the "cool" ones?).

A chair, a lamp, and a room full of books straight back from the main entrance.  What more could you want?

Just a few of the collectibles offered, near the check-out counter.  

If you have a skiing accident and can't return to the slopes, a game of chess is in order!

Some of the vintage editions.  

An overview of the room to the right after entering the store.   

Consider an audio book for the long drive back after your vacation.  

See picture below.  

The store offers an extensive collection of National Geographics.  

A bookshelf with snow skis.  Perfect!

Original and locally created greeting cards.  

If you thought the main part of the store was packed with books, the storeroom in the back has many more waiting to be shelved.  

Jackson welcoming the customers.  Proficient readers might recognize a glimpse of a celebrity in the background.  Yes, that's my mom.  

With Rose and Jackson, two of the wonderful Breckenridge spirits you'll meet at Ole Man Berkins.  Thanks for a great visit.