During my time on ABA's Booksellers Advisory Council (BAC), one of the priorities that arose was providing opportunities for booksellers to get together and share ideas. That notion led to some fairly substantial changes in ABA's programming at BEA (BookExpo America), but it is reflected most clearly every day in the existence of the Idea Exchange on the ABA Web site, www.BookWeb.org.
The Idea Exchange (www.bookweb.org/ideaexchange/), like so many of the programs that ABA offers, works on the principle that the more people use it, the more useful it is for everyone. (I could say the same about Gift Cards, bestseller reporting, Book Sense Picks, and LIBRIS, but I'll save that for later).
It is, simply put, the best, most direct form of booksellers helping booksellers. I have gleaned many useful suggestions over the years from reading the Idea Exchange, and I hope that I have contributed something useful in return.
My suggestion is simple: Make it a habit every week, after submitting your bestseller reports, to click on over to the BookWeb homepage, and check out the postings on the Idea Exchange, under both the Booksellers General Forum and the Ask ABA headings. If you're a BookSense.com user, or in need of a new POS system, take a look in those forums, too.
If you can help someone solve a problem, write them a note. And, when you have a great idea of your own, please share it!
Booksellers helping each other is what this is all about, as simply and directly as possible.
Thanks, ABA, for providing such a useful tool, and thanks to all the booksellers who contribute to its usefulness.
(To register for the Idea Exchange and all other restricted areas of BookWeb.org, ABA bookstore members may simply click on the "Register for BookWeb" icon at the bottom left of the BookWeb homepage).
Chapter One Book Store
Russ Lawrence is co-owner with his wife, Jean Matthews, of Chapter One Book Store in Hamilton, Montana. He currently serves on the ABA Board of Directors, has served on ABA's Booksellers Advisory Council, and is a former president of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association.