Friday, May 30, 2008

FAQs Answered for PNBA Fall Show

Thom Chambliss, director of Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, recently answered vendor’s most frequently asked questions about PNBA’s Fall Show 2008.

The 2008 show will be held Monday through Wednesday, September 15 to 17, at the Portland Airport Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center. For more information, see

Q: Are author signing, workshop speaking, and other promotional and educational event opportunities on Wednesday only open to two-day exhibitors?

A: NO, anyone with a fall 08 PNBA badge, including those who exhibit one day, will have access to the entire show, including Wednesday. If you exhibit for only one day, you are welcome to attend the events on Wednesday, you just won't have your own exhibit space that day.

Q: I am a little confused as to how that extra day (Wednesday, the second day ofexhibits) will work.

A: The second "day of exhibits" will have many fewer exhibitors, and those exhibitors will be situated (both days) near the front of the exhibit hall (generally speaking), so that all attendees entering the hall on the second day will need to walk past the exhibitors tables or booths before reaching the Author Promotions area.

There will be authors signing their new books, authors talking about what they will do when they visit a store for an appearance, an author/bookseller/librarian panel discussion about working together, a series of authors talking about their experiences with libraries, etc. etc. I don't know the exact details yet, because I don't know how much space we will have nor what kind of authors will be made available to us, but we have some ideas and I expect that we (PNBA staff) will plan some interesting stuff. The idea is to arrange it so that the attendees will have to walk passed the exhibitors still there on the second day to get to the author presentations.

Q: Who will still be around (on the second day of exhibits), and when are author events planned besides day two?

A: Again, we don't know exactly how many booksellers will stay, but with added author events (and NO signing on the show the first day), we hope it will be a good crowd. Besides the author events on except for the autographing on the floor on Tuesday, which we will not do. There will be a new Autographing Party on Monday night; on Tuesday morning, we'll have the Book & Author Breakfast (with four authors, all books pre-signed). Then Tuesday afternoon, after the show floor has closed, we'll have some autographing, and THEN the Author Feast, featuring twenty authors visiting six different tables of booksellers to talk about their new books.

Q: I don’t really know why booksellers go (to the show). Is it education, free stuff, socializing, or ordering?

A: The booksellers with whom I talk tell me that they LOVE connecting with the reps, most of whom they no longer see in their stores. They also connect with books that they may have missed for whatever reason; find new sidelines that they could use in their stores; attend the education sessions to get new ideas for their stores; gather good info about books that they may have not thought worth their time; and meet authors whom they may want to invite to visit their stores. The author connections are huge for some of our booksellers. Yes, they like the free ARCs, too!

Q: Can you serve good free coffee all day and make the lunch buffet so good nobody would leave for the typical 2-hour lunch?

A: If we can afford better coffee, we will have it! We heard a lot of complaints about the coffee at this facility last year, so I'm looking into hiring a high quality coffee vendor. They're not cheap. Making the lunch buffet "good" is actually a lot more challenging. We're talking hotel food here, but we will try. We are encouraging librarians to visit the exhibits between their educational sessions, so we hope that the lunch time will be crowded with librarians. Again, we'll see.

Q: Why not extend the Tuesday trade show an extra hour, from 8:30 am to whatever?

A: This is difficult, but I appreciate the concept. We have found that we cannot start our Book & Author Breakfast before 8:00 am, or the attendance numbers decline. We want to encourage attendance at the Breakfast, so we don't open the show floor until AFTER the Breakfast ends, about 9:30. It may be easier for us to keep the show floor open later, say until 5:00 pm, but that would cause problems with the dinner event that follows, the Feast of Authors. We rely a lot on bookseller help to produce that Feast, and they need to be there early to work with the authors. I will study the options.

Q: One question regarding authors on the floor for Tuesday: Can we have our authors there for informal signings?

A: SURE!! You can continue to do whatever you want to do in your own booth, or table, or whatever. Just so it doesn't drown out (loud) or crowd out (people in the way) the others around you.

Q: Will you continue Buzz Books as that has proved quite successful for us?

A: Oh, YES, very definitely. And, we hope to add several more events like it. The second day really will be more of an Author/Book Promo Day.

Q: I do think that with smaller exhibit space we will especially need an area for tables and chairs for people to sit and talk, and booksellers to look through catalogues, etc. I can't see protracted discussion at exhibit areas without complicating the area for other exhibitors.

A: Yes, we're aware of that issue, too. It's going to be difficult on Tuesday, the first (and main) exhibit day. The space is very limited. We are hoping to have some areas for sitting and relaxing, eating lunch or whatever, but they may be OFF the show floor, in the lobby or back hallway. It will certainlynot be ideal.

Q: I'd love to get my authors into better contact with booksellers and hope that there will be plenty of opportunities.

A: Exactly: it's author/bookseller and author/librarian connections that we plan to facilitate.

Q: Why have the dates been changed from an end of the week show to a beginning of the week show?

A: We prefer end of the week, that is, Thursday through Saturday, but the Holiday Inn at the Portland Airport was already booked for those days when we inquired. The only days close to our preferred were the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday earlier in the week, so we took them for 2008. Our 2009 contract, in the same facility, is for Thursday - Saturday, September 10-12.

About seven years ago, PNBA conducted a survey of both sales reps and booksellers, asking whether they preferred weekend or weekday shows. Surprisingly, the results were overwhelmingly "We don't care!" We received about 60 responses from booksellers and only three had a preference, two for the weekend and one for weekdays, each saying it was harder to find replacements to "mind the store" on their non-preferred days. We received about 40 replies from reps, and they ALL preferred week DAYS, not the weekend. Those who commented, said they did not want to have to work the weekend, if they didn't have to!

We have held a few shows on weekdays during the last few years, and the turn-outs indicated no lower attendance because of the fact that those shows were held during the week. If we can get a better deal, or if our preferred dates are not available, we feel OK signing for week days, but we still try to get dates late in the week, if we can.

Zogby Surveys Readers

An online survy of American book buyers by Zogby International showed that readers were more influenced to buy a book by public radio (15%) than Jon Stewart (8%) or Oprah Winfrey (5%).

The same survey also showed that readers still prefer curling up with a printed book rather than an electronic reading device.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Educational Seminars Needed for PNBA

PNBA is planning to emphasize "Booksellers Working with Librarians" at the organization's fall show this year, which will be held at the Portland Airport Holiday Inn and Conference Center, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, September 15 -17.

PNBA booked the entire hotel, including all of the break-out rooms for all three days.

BPNW has been invited to create educational sessions for authors and/or small press publishers at the show that focus on working with libraries.

If you are a member of BPNW and would be interested in creating such an educational session, please e-mail bpnwnews at

"I am interested in hearing from BPNW whether you find this program interesting and potentially attractive to your members, and whether you and your colleagues would like to propose any specific educational sessions that you will produce," wrote PNBA director Thom Chambliss in a recent e-mail.

"PNBA is non-profit and cannot pay you for your sessions, and we will not charge attendees any additional fees to attend your sessions. As usual, anyone with a show badge will be free to attend any sessions of their choice," he added.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bookstore News: Moving, Opening, Closing

From our friends at PNBA comes the following news about three Northwest bookstores:

Santoro’s Books is on the move and needs help. The Seattle store, currently at 7216 Greenwood Ave. N., shifts one block north to a new location next to the 74th Street Ale House. Owner Carol Santoro would love to hear from anyone interested in moving a box of books, packing or helping to reshelve in the new store. Call her at 206-784-2113. The store plans to close the old location on May 29 and reopen in the new space by June 4.

A new bookstore opened in Ocean Park, WA: Adelaide's Books & Coffee. "Not only has the coffee house portion of the store already settled into a routine spot for the retired neighbors to linger," owner Cyndy Hayward said in the May PNBA newsletter, "but more exciting has been the brisk sales of books. I honestly had presumed that the coffee house would subsidize the bookstore, but quite the contrary has happened so far."

Eugene’s Books without Borders closes in May. Billed as the city’s littlest independent bookstore, Books without Borders will hold a Last Hurrah Party on May 24 at 6 p.m., with local author signings and live music by local band The Ineffectuals.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

To Contest or Not to Contest?

Recently a Book Publishers Northwest member asked about the value of participating in contests. We sent the question out to the PMA Affiliates mailing list.

We got so many thoughtful answers back that we created a new blog just on contests. Check it out and let us know what you think!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Showcase Tacoma Looking for Poets

The 3rd annual Showcase Tacoma will be held in downtown Tacoma on Friday and Saturday, August 8-9, 2008.

Anyone interested in hosting an organized group reading, a writers workshop, a poetry open mike, a spoken word performance or poets wishing to read live should check the application at Deadline is
June 16, 2008.

Friday, May 16, 2008

BEA Teleclass

Bob Goodman (PMA Board member and founder of Publishers and Writers of San Diego) recently gave a 45-minute teleclass called "How to Make the Most of your Book Expo America Experience."

A free recording of this session can be downloaded from the bottom of the following page of PWSD's site.

"An important correction in the recording Bob Goodman did is the location of BEA. The correct info is that it's at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Otherwise everything below is accurate, and we still appreciate Bob's generosity in doing this!" wrote Paulette Ensign, PWSD Board Member.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

More Awards for Pale Surface of Things

We just got news that Pale Surface of Things won the Indie Excellence Award for Multicultural Fiction.

And last week Hopeace Press and Friesens Printing won the PubWest Award for Best Use of Environmental Materials for the 100% post-consumer recycled paper and vegetable inks used in producing Pale Surface.

And we got an Honorable Mention from Beach Book Festival Awards, too.

That's five (including USA BookNews Best Book Award for Multicultural Fiction and the Nautilus Award Finalist medal.)

Stay tuned. Book Expo America is when they are all announced, two weeks from now.


The Pale Surface of Things
by Janey Bennett
ISBN 978-0-9734007-2-4

Local Poet’s Haiku Is Quick & Simple

Mukilteo poet and publisher David Ash thinks that writing books of haiku (three-line, seventeen-syllable poems) is fairly fast and easy. He has already produced his first six books of humorous haiku through Basho Press in less than a year. But next week, one of the world’s largest media conglomerates will proclaim them quick and simple.

Quick & Simple magazine, a weekly magazine published by Hearst Magazines, will feature excerpts from Ash’s Haiku for Chocolate Lovers as the back page of the May 27 issue.

“I keep chuckling at the karma,” muses Ash. “Of all the national publications that could be the first to write about my haiku books, could you ask for a more appropriate magazine title? Now that is funny!”

The Smile page of the magazine will feature ten chocolate-related haiku by Ash, including:
because cacao grows
around the planet’s waistline,
it ends up on mine

“When editor Laura Manske first called me in January, I said I was surprised because it was past the deadlines for Valentine’s Day,” Ash recalled. “She replied, ‘Are you kidding? We’re always looking for chocolate around here!’”

Quick & Simple is available at newsstands everywhere, including many Barnes & Noble stores. The Haiku for Life® book series is available online through Barnes & Noble and Amazon, and can be ordered at local bookstores through wholesaler Partners/West in Renton, Washington. For more info, log on to or call (206) 200-9525.

May 15 Meeting: Marketing and PR for Publishers

Book Publishers Northwest's May 15 meeting focuses on "Increasing Book Sales Through Effective Author Marketing and Public Relations Strategies." Our speaker will be Susan Burnash of Purple Duck Marketing.

The May 15 meeting takes place 4 pm to 6 pm at the Good Shepherd Center, 649 Sunnyside N., Room 221, in Seattle. This meeting is free for members of Book Publishers Northwest.

If you're interested in learning more about Purple Duck Marketing, email: or phone 425.896.8959.

Monday, May 12, 2008

HaperCollins’ e-Catalogs

HarperCollins recently announced that they will preview an e-catalog at BookExpo America this month.

The new e-catalog is designed to help HarperCollins reduce the number of printed catalogs currently distributed to booksellers and other buyers.

Among the features listed for the HarperCollins’ e-catalogs was covers, prices, on-sale dates, reviews, and quotes as well as links to a selection of galleys and complete Advance Reader Editions for certain titles.

Postage Goes Up One Cent

Postage goes up a penny today for first class stamps. If you have a basket full of old stamps with no printed values from other rate hikes, you can find out how much they are worth at the USPS website.

Other changes to postage rages are also listed at

Monday, May 05, 2008

PNBA Outlines Changes to Fall Show

We received the following letter on May 5 from the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. Please feel free to leave your comments about these changes.

Dear PNBA rep, publisher and author members,

We are making some very big changes to the fall show this year, and some of it may be confusing to you; so I am writing now to explain the changes, and to ask for your input on ways to help smooth the transition.

As background, last year's show in Bellevue was not well attended. We decided to move the show back to the Portland area, where we historically have had our best attendance.

We also have heard from many of you, and from some of our bookseller members as well, that the exhibits have been too spread out, with aisles much wider than we need and exhibitors too far away from each other. At the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, we used the entire exhibit hall, which was 35,000 square feet, down from 60,000 square feet that we were renting in the Oregon Convention Center. Many of you told me that that 35,000 sq ft space was still too large for our needs.

A large group of you have also suggested (some rather firmly) that we should cut the exhibit part of the show back to one-day, because the traffic in the last several years cannot justify two days. At the same time, many of you have asked that we not produce author events on the show floor during the exhibits, because of the sense that it drew customers away from your exhibits. Finally, in recent years many publishers have shown more interest in sending authors to the shows than they have in exhibiting.

To meld all of these interests into one new show is complicated, and will require adjustments for all of us. This 2008 show will be a trial effort for all of us; I hope that you will all be excited about the changes, and hopeful that they will re-invigorate the shows and our members. Here are the basic changes:

1) The next two fall shows (2008 and 2009) will be held at the Holiday Inn at the Portland Airport, whose Columbia Conference Center has only 15,500 square feet of exhibit space. Not only does this size require that we shrink the aisle space, it also means that our basic tables will be six feet long, not eight feet, and a basic booth size will be 8' x 8', not 8' x 10', as they have traditionally been each fall. (We did use six foot tables at most of our spring shows.)

2) PNBA will save some money using this independent exhibit hall, compared to the amount we spent at the OCC and the Meydenbauer. Therefore, we are reducing the cost of the table and booth space.

3) We are encouraging most vendors to exhibit for just one day, Tuesday, September 16. Those of you who tell us that you really need that second day (mostly independent reps, whose customers often pick up a catalog one day and come back the next to place orders) may sign up for two days, but will pay an additional fee for the second day, and will need to reserve your exhibit space much earlier than the vendors who will exhibit for only one day. After the two-day exhibitor deadline, I will have a short time to lay out the exhibit floor, to determine exactly how much space, in what locations, will be available for other uses on the second day, Wednesday, September 17. Only after those determinations are made will I be able to plan, promote, and schedule the other uses for those spaces.

4) There will be no author autographing on the show floor on the first day of exhibits, Tuesday, September 16. After the Book & Author Breakfast in the morning, there will be no author events and no educational events for booksellers until after the show floor closes Tuesday afternoon at 4:30. The emphasis on the show floor on Tuesday will be completely on the exhibitors. (I would love to hear any of your ideas about what PNBA might do to enliven and promote the exhibits.)

5) The second day of exhibits will now become Author Promotion Day, with those few exhibitors who paid extra for the second day sharing the hall with a diversity of author activities. In addition to the traditional author autographings, we will have authors meeting booksellers to discuss what types of presentation the authors might make when they visit stores, panels with authors discussing how booksellers can help promote their books, and seminars with authors and booksellers discussing how we can all work together to promote book sales. We will scatter the author events throughout the hall, to encourage booksellers to walk passed your exhibits on their way to the author events. And we will plan the author events so that they will not overwhelm the exhibitors who will be writing orders and talking with your customers.

6) We will be inviting a larger but limited number of librarians to attend the show (maximum 100), offering them free education on the first day of exhibits (Tuesday, the 16th) and complete access to the exhibit hall on Wednesday, the 17th. A main "theme" of this year's show will be "Booksellers and Librarians Working Together." I expect that the librarians will share our booksellers' interest in an Author Promotion Day.

As I mentioned earlier, I am anxious to hear from any of you with suggestions about how to make this new venue and schedule work best for you, the exhibitors, and for our booksellers. I will seriously consider any ideas and, if there are no problems with timing, space or expense, we will incorporate them into this year's event. If they are good ideas with problems that cannot be solved before this year's show, staff will discuss them after this show, in hopes of incorporating them into future events. If you have any questions or concerns about the new schedule, please contact me within the next two weeks, that is, before May 16. After the 16th, I will compile all of the concerns and post them, with our responses, on PNBA's web site, so that you may all share them.

To help you understand more completely what we envision for this year's show, we have posted several documents on our web site as pdfs. The links to those documents are at the end of this letter, after my signature.

Thank you for your consideration, patience and participation. We've got our fingers crossed, and hope that these changes will be well-received and will provide you with a re-invigorated show, well worth your time and effort. The PNBA Board has made it very clear to me that the most important consideration for the show is that it remain a valuable opportunity for booksellers to learn as much as they can about the industry and how to sell more books. With your help and enthusiasm, I believe that these changes will keep us working toward that end, and will provide us all with the best regional industry tradeshow possible.



Thom Chambliss, Executive Director
Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association
214 East 12th Avenue
Eugene, OR 97401-3245
T: 541-683-4363
F: 541-683-3910
2008 Show: Monday - Wednesday, September 15 -17.

Jackson Street Books Closes

Jackson Street Books will close at the end of the month. The mixed new-and-used bookstore's owners are relocating outside Seattle. According to their blog, they will continue to sell books online, but the walk-in bookstore never had "the sales we need to sustain ourselves and make a living."