VOLUME 12 • ISSUE 3 • AUGUST 2012
The official journal of the australian booksellers association
Making Waves at the ABA 88th Conference & Trade Exhibition It started out wet and wild – the weather in Sydney was not welcoming as delegates struggled across on the ferry, and wandered up the lonely damp Manly Corso to the Novotel.
Sunday’s sessions started, unusually And so soon, it was time for the Industry with the Numbers – our familiar Nielsen Forum, and parting drinks. My sincere numbers man, Shaun led us through the thanks to all the booksellers and highs and lows of the year past. It was a suppliers who spent time letting me good way to begin and paved the way for know what was good, bad and further conversations as we were indifferent about their conference. I However a warm welcome from staff at challenged by World Book Night, an ILF enjoyed every minute (apart from that the registration desk and then from ABA update in another language and then to wet start and a broken umbrella) and I staff at the cocktail party up the stairs a session on ‘Overcoming Staffing can’t wait to show off my adopted state soon turned our gloom into joyous Challenges and Adapting to Change’. The and city when you all come to Adelaide conversations, hugs of welcome from Members’ Forum was suitably sober and next year. colleagues and chatty introductions to a new committee was duly voted in. small publishers and wonderful You can relive all the conference sessions international guests (Jamie Byng & Then came dinner at the castle on the by viewing the videos on the ABA Lincoln Gould). The warm and hill – and what fun that was – a website, just go to the Conference page. professional service continued magnificent pasta extravaganza PS – If you haven’t completed the throughout the next few days – I was courtesy of Nino Zoccali, the dishes were conference feedback form you can find it happily surprised by the hotel staff, and wonderful, fresh, colourful, and a delight at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ expected no less from the hardworking to the palette. No, I’m afraid my mother L735KMP. ABA team. NEVER made a pasta dish like that In a few months we’ll be asking you for desert. And if I wasn’t already planning some ideas for 2013, but I think I can to run away with Jamie Byng, then Josh sneak the theme out to you – A Good Pyke’s songs and seriously beautiful eyes Vintage. Yes, there will be tours of and soul, may have tempted me. wineries and plenty of good market food Monday dawned with more sunshine and even a trip to Kangaroo Island if you and sparkling beach and 100’s of early plan far enough ahead! Oh and some 02 CEO’s report morning surfers. Early birds went to the bookselling and publishing and library Stella Breakfast where authors won our 03 President’s report stuff too… hearts with earnest and tender stories 04 Conference in tweets about their lives and ours. I have a box full of Michelle De Kretser’s new book 06 Conference in pictures (Questions of Travel) on my desk, thanks Patricia Genat 08 Retail ideas: non-book A&U, and can’t wait to start it. We went 12 Digital report to sessions to talk about children’s bookselling, social media, blogging and 13 ILF report e-books. Thank you Peter Balis from 14 Literary awards Wiley – the best-constructed interesting 15 ABA news presentation of ebook fact and foible I have heard. 16 Bookshop profile
Inside this issue
News on Bookselling August 2012
CEO report Peter Strong, The Hon. Brendan O'Connor MP and Joel Becker
By the time you read this, we will have experienced a second (hopefully very successful) National Bookshop Day. One of the really positive things to come out of this has been camaraderie and cooperation that has been evident. In the first year, this was made evident by activities like the Hill of Content and Paperback Bookshop sharing authors (Barry Jones, Kate Holden and Toni Jordan) who moved back and forth between the shops handselling their favourite books to customers. This year a large group of Victorian booksellers have put together a special promotion for August that kicked off on National Bookshop Day (NBD). Leesa Lambert (Little Bookroom), Warren Bonett (Embiggen), Linda Tassone (Jeffreys Books), Tim White (Books for Cooks) and others and a number of others have come up with a joint campaign based on Shaun Tan’s ‘The Lost Thing’ encouraging customers to visit multiple bookshops in August (to do the proverbial bookshop ‘crawl’). Customers with a certain number of stamps on their passports will go into the draw to win a major prize (think Shaun Tan and suitcases). The campaign extends well past NBD, with the winner announced during Book Week (August 18 - 24). They have also come up with an idea to create a leaflet that has a stylised map listing Melbourne and surrounds bookshops. As well as many of these participants attending conference, they get together every second month (in NSW monthly) to share ideas – what has worked, what hasn’t, and why.
One of the pleasures that I’ve had in my 40 years in the industry (September 9), is the level of cooperation amongst so-called ‘competitors’. Whether you are in NSW or Victoria, and want to find out about existing meetings, or want to start your own, the ABA office is happy to help put you in touch with your fellow booksellers to kick-start your own collaborations.
Michelle hits the Road
World Book Night
I’m delighted that the possibility of World Book Night happening in Australia on 23 April 2013 is still on the table. Following the Conference, and the inspiriting words of Jamie Byng, I continue to talk to publishers, the print industry, media, government and other key stakeholders. There is a great deal of good will amongst all these parties, and I hope to be reporting positive news soon. Advocacy We continue to talk to government and the opposition about key issues affecting the industry. I have had several constructive (if not productive) conversations about issues that affect our sector, including arguing for charging GST on all overseas online purchases using the payment gateways – Visa, Mastercard, PayPal – as the collection agent (after all, we’ve all been ATO revenue collectors since the GST was introduced).
Our Member Services boffin, Michelle Bansen, will be in WA visiting bookshops in mid-August (including Boffins amongst many others). Over the next few months, she’ll also be calling in on shops in Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane and environs. Hopefully she’ll come back with lots of good ideas and feedback that can help us to assist you. The feedback has been very positive about Conference, with very few brickbats (all of which were very constructive), and many bouquets. I’d like to take one last opportunity to thank everyone involved: sponsors and partners, ABA staff, the Committee of Management (pausing to note the organising committee – Jon, Patricia and Fiona), interns and tweeters, ALL the booksellers who attended and participated; and particularly our ace conference and trade exhibition wrangler, Liana. See you next year in Adelaide!
We also continue to argue for a more affordable postal rate for books, and the barriers to profitability presented by penalty rates for evening and weekend hours. None of us want to exploit our staff, but if the option is not opening for extended trading hours, what benefit is served to those employees? And in a 24/7 world for consumers, everyone loses.
News on Bookselling August 2012
President’s report The 88th Australian Booksellers Conference in Manly was a huge success. Our aim for the conference was to empower members with tools and ideas to promote themselves and take the fight back to our overseas competitors and I think we achieved that. Jamie Byng from Canongate Books was inspiring, detailing the success of World Book Night in the UK and Joel is already hard at work to make sure Australia is a participant in 2013. There was much vigorous and constructive debate between booksellers and publishers on a range of issues with book pricing and eBooks the hot topic and the “Celebrating Bookselling” dinner was again a highlight with delicious food cooked by Nino Zoccali and a number of booksellers recognised for the great work that they do. The conference would not have been the success it was without the fantastic work by the ABA office in particular Liana Slussareff who is a tremendous asset to the organisation and who, without her hard work, we couldn’t have pulled off such a successful conference. We’ve already started work planning for next year’s conference which will be held in Adelaide and I look forward to sharing with everyone our plans and ideas. Hopefully those who attended the conference in Manly have filled out their survey forms as this feedback is fundamental to how we put the conference together. We are all gearing up now for the second National Bookshop Day. Last year was a huge success and the second
year is always going to be more of a challenge. I hope everyone has something planned for the day, no matter how small, because it is important we keep getting the message out to our local communities and the media that bookshops are important and here to stay. Later in the year the ABA will also be putting together a digital marketing seminar. The aim of this seminar will be to help booksellers take the skills they know so well in brick and mortar bookselling into the digital space. The seminar will focus on Search Engine Optimisation, Google AdWords, Google Analytics, social media marketing and email campaigns. With more booksellers selling online and more bookshops selling eBooks we feel that it is vital that those members have all the skills necessary to be successful in the online retail environment. I’m also looking forward to being a part of the new Book Industry Collaborative Council (BICC) over the next 12 months that has been established by the Federal Government to look at the Government’s response to the Book Industry Strategy Group (BISG) Report’s recommendations. While I know there has been some disappointment to the Government’s response to the BISG report I believe the creation of the BICC is a positive step that will produce worthwhile outcomes for the book industry as a whole. Our industry is undergoing fundamental change at the moment and working with the Government together as an industry to manage these changes effectively and efficiently and find constructive ways of improving our industry to ensure its longevity can only be a good thing.
Lastly, I have never done this in a President’s Report before but I have a book recommendation. Norwegian By Night by Derek B. Miller will be published by Scribe in August. It is an amazing book that will stay with you long after you finish it. It is about Sheldon Horowitz, an 82 year-old man who is trapped by fragile memories, devastating grief and an overwhelming desire to set things right. His wife of many years has recently passed away. His granddaughter, concerned that he maybe be suffering from dementia convinces him to move in with her and her husband in their apartment in Oslo. When he witnesses the murder of a young woman he is compelled to make sure the woman’s son is protected and sets off on a seemingly impossible mission. I also love the fact that this book is being published in Australia many months before the UK and US . Hats off to Henry Rosenbloom who has personally edited and typeset this book so Scribe could be way ahead of the pack. There is no need to worry about the 30/90 day rule or 14/14 days when you publish first and I hope Australian booksellers get behind this wonderful novel because we’re going to have an English language exclusive for several months on a truly brilliant book!
News on Bookselling August 2012
88th Conference in Tweets
News on Bookselling August 2012
News on Bookselling August 2012
88th Conference & Trade Exhibition i
News on Bookselling August 2012
n in pictures
News on Bookselling August 2012
Conference sessions Current trends and how to make the most of your non-book item stock Stocking non-book merchandise is often an attractive method of increasing margins and foot traffic through your bookshop; however, if not executed properly you may end up with a lot of lovely products that you have to discount heavily in order for get them out the door. At this year' conference we asked Matthew Harris of Telegram Paper Goods (most known for being the distributor of the Moleskine range) and Elizabeth Allen of Madman (great DVDs) to update us on the most current trends and to address ways of correcting some of the basic errors that retailers make regarding product choice and variety, stock levels and displays. Here are some extracts from those presentations , the videos can be viewed in full on the ABA website.
Reflection of style and personality. We are all Urban Nomads. Value of items “held close”. These items carry our most treasured items. The items we carry with us. The market is growing fast and is profitable. •Moleskine sales doubled last year but through less outlets. •Telegram has grown from 2 people in our front room to 20 in under 4 years serving over 500 stores •People are writing less but choosing to do it on better quality stationery that they feel reflects something about themselves. •Margins are higher than traditional book selling at 50% net.
Readers are often writers The personal attributes of the reader are similar to the writer…always curious and hopelessly in love with the power of words. They are craving an active experience. And Notebooks are simply books yet to be written.
Design Stationery What is design stationery? Nice things to write with. What is nice. The palomino pencil is more than nice is has a history. It is emotive. It’s user is filled with hope of being a better writer or artist because of it…just like Frank Lloyd Wright, John Steinbeck and Duke Ellington who used it before them. Count Faber Castell story…. Fetched $35 a pop when out of production… Not just a pencil. It’s a story! Nice things to write in. Nice things to carry your other nice things around in. 08 08
That’s why design stationery fits so neatly into a bookstore’s overall offering – book shoppers are in the right frame of mind to purchase design stationery as they are a book purchase. When they walk through the door of the shop they are looking for an intellectual adventure. They can either go on somebody else’s adventure or create one of their own! There is paper and there is ink.
• People don’t just buy a notebook. They buy the history, values, hopes and emotions they associate with the brand and type of product. •The stories you like and aspire to may not be the same as your customers. Why does Moleskine sell 10 times faster than an identical copy ? Answer : the story behind it. Two stories are better than one •Consider the brand pillars of your store to those of the brands you sell •Create a synergy •Create an emotional response •Create sales Bookshops inspire people to be an
•Come for a book. •Get inspired. •Leave with an intellectually stimulating experience. This is the key strategic advantage of bookstores over other retailers. The customers currently modifying there buying behavior will carry on doing so unless we can motivate them not to. We can do this by understanding their motivation.
The golden rules of bookshops and design stationery. Do it properly, or don’t do it at all. Different brands have different messages. How do you trigger these in the minds of your customers? Do less and do it better.
Brands are stories •People don’t just buy the book. They buy the history, values, hopes and emotions they associate with a book and its author.
Spend time on finding the best mix of design stationery products for your customer types – they aren’t all interested in the same things. For example, engineers want precision (Rhodia), students want personality and functionality (o-check), professionals want a platform for creativity (Moleskine). News on Bookselling August 2012
Merchandise your stock correctly
When we merchandise and 'plan-ogram' sales areas (display grid supplied by Telegram) we see at least double the sales, the right product, in the right place, at the right time.
•Consider racking in multiple areas: •Shelf the DVD with the book (ie Tin Tin) AND in your DVD section •Display at the front counter in a counter stand
Adding the right brands to your stationery mix doesn’t cannabalise your sales, it strengthens them.
•In a display bin
Create a “Hub”
•Carry a wider range of titles in one genre rather than lots of genres:
Adding another brand, if correctly chosen will lift the sales of the existing brand.
Become a specialist genre destination
Enables customers to understand your stationery offering at a glance. One brand supports the other.
Encourages re-purchase as your store becomes a “destination” for their stationery needs
Which Retailers are stocking our DVDs?
Short on space? Do one brand and do it well.
Who’s buying design stationery? Everyone who enters your store! Design stationery covers a broad price range, so there’s something for every budget – and it satisfies very similar needs to books
How do I introduce a DVD section?
Our retail channels are discount department stores, music retailers, ABC stores and bookstores, independent comic and gaming stores and rental stores.
•Take note of what is screening at your local cinema and stock DVDs by the same director while a new movie is screening
Consider a pre-order campaign for the DVD.
The outlets that are in decline with Madman are the discount department stores and rental stores. The speciality stores and music retailers are remaining static. The good news for bookstores is that you are up 20%.
Why should you stock a range of our DVDs?? 1.DVDs give your store an added point of difference 2.Cultivate your store as a specialist DVD destination
3.Attract a new customer base
•Book stores have a competitive advantage in selling design stationery over other types of retail.
4.Capitalise on prolific film advertising/ promotional campaigns
•The market for design stationery is growing and its profitable. •Notebooks are books waiting to be written – people who read also write. They are active.
5.Avoid mass market discounting by shrewd title choice Look at the cross promotion potential: literary to film adaptations, food, TV
•Don’t sell products - sell brands – understand which brands your customer aspires to. •Merchandise each brand with respect to it’s story – create “triggers”.
Announce your section has arrived! Display books and DVDs together. For example in your cookery section have Matthew Evans books and DVDs side by side. Have the literary adaptations next to the novel. Try a themed window Start out small with a counter unit Then try a customised display bin with a changeable header card. Progress to metal racking and then take the plunge on permanent instore DVD shelving www.madman.com.au
•Create “Hubs” you will sell more and attract repeat business – become a destination. •You are not a “book” store you are a store that sells “active intellectual experiences”. It is your job to inspire. News on Bookselling August News on Bookselling April 2009 2012
Celebrating our booksellers ABA Random House Young Bookseller of the Year, Megan O'Brien The 2012 recipient, Megan O’Brien of Shearer's Bookshop, Leichhardt NSW. How long you have worked in the book industry? I first started work in the Myer book department when I was at university, but started working in bookshops actually in 2000. That makes my time in the book industry just under 12 years. Was it something you fell into or was
it a definite career choice?
At first it was something that I fell into. It was when I started working with professional booksellers such as Angelos Kakoulidis and Evelyn Jensen at Folio Books in Brisbane, that I knew I could make it a career. What do you see as being the role of
the bookseller today?
Much as ever, booksellers today are researchers, treasure finders, trustworthy experts and arbiters. We are also conduits for authors, publishers and readers so that each may hear the other’s voice. But the role we should take most seriously is that of curator. Our websites, shelves and shop windows need to reflect an industry that is exciting and necessary and that speaks to our customers. Are there aspects of your day as a
bookseller that you most enjoy?
Routine can be a bore, but a bookseller has the happy luck of almost never falling into a routine. Every day, there is a new or favourite customer to engage with or a new or favourite title to talk about. What I do find exciting is trying to find new ways to make a book and our shop work together to sell themselves. I sometimes treat the shelves and shop windows as extra staff members - they have to work as hard as the rest of us to promote books and make sales. 10
Do you have any words of advice
others looking to make a career as a bookseller?
Listen and learn. There is such a wealth of knowledge on most shop floors and whilst a passion for reading is a good start, the acquirement of that knowledge is what will make you a good bookseller. Are there any moments as a
bookseller that really stand out for you?
I’ve been so lucky to work for some truly fine bookshops, from Folio Books in Brisbane, Avenue Bookstore in Melbourne and now as manager at Shearer’s Bookshop in Sydney. In that time I have worked with some inspiring booksellers and have met some amazing people. In my time at Shearer’s Bookstore, I have even been host to some of my literary idols, including Michael Cunningham, Colm Toibin and Richard Ford. But probably the most memorable moment, and that which cements what a bookshop is truly about in my mind, was something I first witnessed at Folio Books. It was the coming together of people from completely different walks of life in the pursuit of a single passion - their love of knowledge and books. I still love seeing that same scene played in all it’s different scenarios. You truly can meet the most wonderful and “interesting” people in bookshops.
Here's what the people who nominated Megan had to say.
Megan is the most hardworking and dedicated bookseller we have ever employed. Her knowledge is amazing adn her communication with customers, staff and publishers is first class. Megan had also done a lot of voluntary work with the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. Nothing is too much trouble for Megan to tackle and we know that with her help and support Shearer's has prospered and become a focal point of the Leichhardt community. The employees, Barbara and Tony Horgan
an exceptional bookseller and one of the best in the country. She has a brilliant book knowledge, coupled with excellent customer service. And she knows her customers and what they might like. Megan is also required to deal with many visiting writers and publishig staff, and typicall Megan handles the various demands of authors with great professionalism and respect. The rep Having fairly eclectic tastes I'm pretty hard to please but Megan is rarely stumped. She often remembers what I bought last time and recommends similar types of books and authors that I would not be aware of otherwise. The customer
What is the next step for a ‘young bookseller’? To stay young forever - surely the secret is in a book somewhere.
News on Bookselling August 2012
ABA Text Publishing Bookseller of the Year, Meera Govil The 2012 recipient of this award is Meera Govil,
owner of the Eltham Bookshop in Melbourne's north-eastern suburbs.
Meera was nominated by her customers and here is a little of what they had to say. You can read more about Meera and her bookshop in the March issue of News on Bookselling where they were featured in the 'Bookshop Profile'. She is fired by an intense passion for, and love of, writing and writers, reading and readers, and driven to instil this same passion for books in others. Her bookshop is a cultural oasis, generating lively discussions and supporting writers, sharing and celebrating this love of the literary with others. Each week there are author events and launches of books .She supports local writers in particular to help bring their work to a wider audience. Meera organises festivals and weekend events around themes, such as the annual 'Past Matters' weekend with its celebration of Indigenous writing. A particularly popular innovation has been the partnerships the bookshop has formed with local restarurants and cafes. One well known chef recently took over the kitchen of a local restaurant for a whole day, with support of the owner, preparing meals to the delight of customer. The Eltham Bookshop is an institution. Ultimately, bookselling is a business but to spend five minutes in Meera's presence is to realise that the Eltham Bookshop is about so much more than this.
Elizabeth Riley Fellowship for Children's Bookselling, Amelia Lush The Fellowship is designed to recognise and honour
Elizabeth Riley – a much loved children’s bookseller and integral ABA staff member who passed away in 2011. The award acknowledges her professionalism, enthusiasm and love for children's books.
The applicants were asked to indicate a children's project, course, conference or workshop either domestically or internationally that they would like to attend in an effort to further their knowledge or develop their skills in the area of children's books and bookselling. with the ABA contributing a $1500 stipend to this endeavour. This is what the judging panel had to say about Amelia and her proposal to initiate a training scheme for children's bookseller. "This award is presented to you for your passion for children’s books and your initiative to develop a bookselling training scheme and accompanying manual. These valuable resources are vital in ensuring that the knowledge can be shared with many across the bookselling and publishing industry. The panelists believe that you have the ability to drive your project, engage with and encourage others to pursue a long term career in children’s bookselling. By focusing on a positive introduction to children’s books and bookselling, the teaching program would develop and foster a love of children’s books that would endure over a lifetime keeping the legacy of Elizabeth Riley well and truly alive." And in Amelia's own words... It was a great honour to be awarded the inaugural Elizabeth Riley Fellowship earlier this year for I had been told of Liz's great passion and commitment to children's books and bookselling. Over the next 12 months I will be creating a comprehensive children's bookselling guide which will be made available to ABA members at no cost. The demand for quality children's and young adult fiction continues to grow and we are lucky in Australia to have many wonderful children's bookstores and many knowledgable, experienced and dedicated children's booksellers to help meet this need. I would love to make use of this brains trust and will be contacting bookstores and booksellers over the next few months through email in order to do so! If you have any questions or would like to volunteer to help out my email address is email@example.com
Mera Govril accepting her award from Michael Hayward of Text Publishing.
News on Bookselling August 2012
Tune your website for digital marketing
In spite of the hype surrounding social media, a website remains the central hub for most digital marketing. Anyone can access it, it’s visible to search engines, and you can do more things with a website than with any other digital marketing tool. But its effectiveness depends on it being properly set up for this purpose. Often it’s not. So here are a few ways to make your website more effective as a marketing tool. Make sure your team can update the site easily This sounds obvious but unfortunately many websites fall over at this first hurdle. It’s especially true of earliergeneration websites that were designed as online stores or as ‘corporate brochures’. You should be able to update most content quickly and directly – easy if your website is built with a modern, user-friendly content management system (CMS). Pages can be created and edited online with a Microsoft Wordlike editor, and no web designer or special software is needed. A word of caution: While a CMS will make it easy for your team to add and update content, you should make sure they get some basic training in both web copywriting, and image editing. This will ensure that, even without the hand of a designer, your website will retain a professional appearance, be tuned for online reading, and be optimised for search engines. Make it easy to share website content One of the most important requirements is that it must be easy for visitors to share your articles, not just to view them on your site. This builds a bridge to the word-of-mouth power of social networks. There are two key things you’ll need to do. 1.Produce the content with sharing in mind. For instance, the customer newsletter you spent hours preparing will be wasted as a PDF or Word file on your site. It’s too hard to share. Plain HTML with text and images (ie web pages) is much better. And you should 12
break content into easily shareable pieces, each one dealing with a single topic. A newsletter or long article containing three reviews and an author Q&A will be more widely shared (and more search-friendly) if each review and article has its own web page. 2. Reduce the effort required to share. One of the best ways to do this is to add social sharing tools to pages – such as those small icons for Facebook, Twitter, and email – which make it quick for visitors to share a page and a comment with their connections. A good CMS will help, but all of the social networks offer simple sharing tools that can be added to any page or site. Design for readability — and small screens Your website should be easily readable, well-structured, and have clear navigation. Screen readability uses different techniques from print – a reason why even literary types will benefit from training in basic web copywriting techniques. And if you want your team, not designers, to update the content, it’s best if the site is not too highly designed. An amateur picture or layout looks much worse on a fussily-designed site. Modern web design practice takes into account the increasing use of mobile devices to access websites. The emerging practice of ‘responsive design’ presents a visitor with different layouts depending on their screen size. This move to relatively simple, light-weight pages reverses the key web design trend of recent years. Designing with good usability in mind will make your site text-friendly and shareable, and will put you on the right track for the next important element, search engine optimisation. Optimise each page for search engines It’s important to remember that you optimise pages, not sites so search engine optimisation should happen as each page is created, not just once when the site is built. Most of the things you do with this goal in mind will also make your site more humanfriendly, so good text-oriented design
and ‘discoverability’ go hand-in-hand. A modern CMS lets users optimise articles as they create them without the need to call on a designer for coding. A quick fix If your current website would struggle to meet these criteria, and you’re not ready for a major website makeover, don’t despair, delay, or try to shoehorn your digital marketing into a website that was never designed for it. A quick fix is to add free blog software to your site, linked to it but running on a separate application. This doesn’t mean you have to start ‘a blog’. Blog software is optimised for creating and marketing online content of all sorts, and the best systems are free. Among them are Tumblr and Google’s Blogger, but I strongly recommend WordPress. WordPress is just as easy to use as the others, but it’s much more powerful so you can take it beyond simple blogging if you want to. It’s also the world’s most widely-used content management system, powering almost one in five websites, so plenty of people know it and there’s a huge and very helpful community around it. WordPress comes in two versions: a hosted service at WordPress.com – there’s nothing to install, it runs in the cloud – and software that you can download from WordPress.org and run yourself. Both options are free. Put marketing at the centre of your next website makeover If your website was built without meeting these key requirements, it might be time to consider a makeover. Of course, there will be other things you’ll need to take into account, such as e-commerce or branding. These can sometimes work against a website’s marketing effectiveness so there might be trade-offs to consider. But if your plan calls for increasing use of digital marketing, follow these guidelines so your website won’t hold you back.
twitter.com/nztaylor News on Bookselling August 2012
ILF report It’s Reconciliation Week when our small team of four fly to Broome, load eight boxes of books and gear held by Magabala Books into the troopie and venture out along the Great Northern Highway to Fitzroy Crossing. We’re hoping to make Fitzroy Crossing Inn before sunset, before our tracks run into stray buffalo, kangaroo or other wildlife and we just about do it, give or take a star or two. As we travel, Debra Dank tells us stories of her community and growing up in Borroloola, and points out bush medicine and wildlife. This Kimberley field trip offers us the opportunity to revisit some special places where we are slowly building connections: Yakanarra Community School and St Joseph’s school at Wyndham. It also gives us an opportunity to connect with schools at Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek, who have been ordering books from our Foundation and who are keen to meet the infamous Andy Griffiths. Over the four days we travel by car and light aircraft, to five remote schools. In that period we work with a range of children from 5 to 15 years old. All warm to Andy’s engrossing tales drawn from his bestselling series and latest release, The 13 Storey Treehouse. At Yakanarra, the Principal Helen Unwin tells us that they have had some excellent reading results in the latest literacy tests with some children jumping two reading age levels. Maddy, one of the primary teachers, proudly says that the school has won an award at the St Kilda Short Film Festival. We watch it with the kids who made it, some of whom are too shy to look at themselves on screen. At Fitzroy Valley High School we conduct writing workshops with two groups. Andy Griffiths says it’s one of the best libraries he has seen. The librarian, Colleen Garner, has been in the position for over six years and also looks after libraries at two other remote schools including Wangjatjungka and Bayulu. Colleen told us apart from standard Australian English, the main
language spoken at the school is Kimberley Kriole and up to six different languages are spoken altogether at the school (ten languages are spoken in the Valley).
At Halls Creek District High School, we are met by Joneen Edwards, the Literacy Coordinator, who specialises in literacy education and is in Halls Creek for two years. Joneen has worked in literacy development all over WA and says it was not until she came to Halls Creek that she quite appreciated how complex teaching literacy to these children are – four main languages are spoken by the kids in Halls Creek including Aboriginal English and Kriole. After our visit, the kids read their writing at assembly and talk about being an author. “It’s important to have good books that kids can relate to,” she says. We arrive in time for assembly in Wyndham where school starts at 7.45am and meet the new Principal, Andrea Millar. Andy presents certificates to the children whose stories featured in The Naked Boy and the Crocodile. We spend two hours in the classroom and are rewarded by a whole new collection of stories like The Day My Teacher got Struck by Lightning and the second installment of The Naked Boy and the Crocodile. Some kids are confident enough to read their work out loud. Our last stop is at the friendliest school in the West, Wyndham District High School, where we run two workshops.
ILF Executive Director
Read Andy Griffiths daily journal of the trip on: wwwindigenousliteracyfoundation. org.au and a snippet here...... Wednesday We left Fitzroy Crossing at 6.30 a.m. and, after fueling the car up with diesel and ourselves with toasted egg and bacon sandwiches, we left for the 3 hour drive to Halls Creek. At a brief stop at a camping ground along the way we witnessed a mid-air riot of hundreds of cockatoos—the Kimberleys can be a noisy place ... but more on that later— that didn't let up the whole time we were there. Then it was on to Halls Creek High to work with a group of highly motivated upper primary school girls and one boy (the rest of the boys were attending a football clinic). They embraced the book idea and wrote many books across a wide range of topics: ‘What happens at bush’, ‘My sisters and I out riding horses’, ‘I am running’, ‘The three best ways to lock a door with no lock’, ‘The Evil Twin’, ‘The Rainbow Snake & the Windmill’, ‘Me and my family at Banjo Bore’, ‘Things I like doing in Halls Creek’ and ‘Mustering Cheeky Bulls’. Again I was struck by the wildly different experiences these kids have compared to their counterparts in the city.
Having accidentally booked ourselves
into the dreaded Kunnunurra Hotel (which, on our previous trip we learnt to the considerable cost of our sanity and a good night's sleep, is the karaoke capital of the Kimberleys) Karen helped us to narrowly escape a fate worse than death by unbooking us from Kununnura and booking us into the arguably less exciting but unarguably infinitely more peaceful Lakeside Resort on the shores of Lake Kununnura.
News on Bookselling August 2012
Commentary Do literary awards sell books? Lately everybody has been putting their few bob in about the role and future of literary awards. Richard Flanagan comments that it is all well and good to have prizes and reward the writers financially, but is this meaningful if it is not balanced by supporting the creation of new works. “I am not arguing against prizes. I am arguing against taking them too seriously.” Queensland is up-in-arms about the knee jerk reaction of the new Queensland Premier, who counted amongst his first acts, the complete demolition of the Premier’s Literary Awards in Brisbane. Advocates for a Stella Prize for Women Writers believe that women writers’ contribution to the Australian literary oeuvre is not adequately recognised. Booksellers largely shrug about most of the prizes. If it isn’t controversial or the shock win of an underdog (hence getting publicity), a book that didn’t sell hugely well on first release (getting a second life), or is a prize from elsewhere (why would the WA Premier’s Award winner create sales in Tasmania?), why order in quantity and promote? I’ve been around the traps as a bookseller, a judge and someone who has argued for the creation of even more awards, and believe there is a stronger case than ever to be made for the role of literary awards, and the benefits to the culture of the community, the creative act, and the business of selling books... with just a bit of tweaking.
"awards can definitely increase sales but the award has to mean something to readers. The Booker is still the ultimate book prize and drives sales not only for the winner but the shortlist as well. ... It gives a book credibility in the readers' minds but ultimately they still want a recommendation in one form or another as well." Jon Page, Pages&Pages and a judge for the CAL Scribe Fiction Prize
The Specialised Prize In the mid-90s, I advocated for the creation of a new prize in NSW, the NSW Premier’s Gleebooks Prize for Critical Writing. This award usually went to titles that were not necessarily easily slotted into the general nonfiction titles, and were more academic in bent. This had a particular benefit to the shop that sponsored the prize, gave an author that wouldn’t normally have broadsheet coverage some space, and had sales benefits to the shops that stocked that sort of title. In Victoria, the State government created a Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript by an Emerging Victorian Writer. This $15000 award did not guarantee publication, but since the inaugural prize in 2003 won by Carrie Tiffany for Every Man’s Rules for Scientific Living, winners have included Andrew Hutchinson, Jacinta Halloran and Angela Savage. Virtually every winner, and quite a few short list titles went on to be published, and to sell. The introduction in 2012 of a poetry category in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards almost guarantees that a book that is likely to have sold between 500 and 1000 (stratospheric sales for poetry) will at least double in sales, and kick along the short list. In addition, the $80,000 first prize and $5,000 each for the short list is a very significant outcome in such an important category where no one earns a living from royalties. The General Categories (Fiction and
In Victoria, we had a godsend a number of years ago. It was prematurely – and incorrectly – leaked that Frank Moorhouse had won the PLA one year, whereas it was in fact Peter Carey. It involved a couple of very large egos going head to head on the front page. This certainly kicked on sales for both titles, as did the controversy over the same Mr Moorhouse having Grand Days excluded from the Miles Franklin for not being Australian enough!
I think it is fair to say that Premier’s Literary Awards rarely have an impact outside of their political boundaries. Awards like the Melbourne Prize and The Age Literary Awards are consigned to a similar fate. "Literary Awards are invaluable; the media attention that surrounds awards usually gives all the authors involved a huge boost. It is important for an award to have a longlist. As a member of the judging panel for this year’s Miles Franklin Literary Award, we recognised the importance of acknowledging these books as well as the outright winner as a way of generating interest for potential readers." Anna Low, Potts Point Bookshop and a member of the judging panel for the Miles Franklin Literary Awards 2012 There are few awards with significant national impacts in terms of sales and publicity – the keys being the richest and youngest – the suite of Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, spreading $600,000 in tax-exempt prizes over six categories – fiction, poetry, Australian history, non-fiction, young adult fiction and children’s fiction; and the Miles Franklin, the closest we have to a Man Booker Prize; and I don't think there are necessarily too many book prizes but I think book prizes do need to have something unique about them to capture people's attention. I write with particular interest – and declare an interest – in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. I chaired the fiction and poetry panel, judging alongside Chris Wallace-Crabbe Lyn Gallacher and Peter Craven. I was astounded by the sheer quantity of outstanding literary talent we produce – and how many of those titles slip under the radar. This is a golden opportunity for bookshops to provide a second life for books of outstanding literary merit and great storytelling.
News on Bookselling April 2009
ABA news Go beyond the short list to deserving books you may barely have glanced at – emerging writers including Mette Jakubsen’s The Vanishing Act (now there is a book to hand sell!) or Stephen Amsterdam’s What the Family Needed. Use the prize announcements to give another boost to Favel Parrett, Tony Birch and the aforementioned Moorhouse; and then really push Alex Miller, Kate Grenville, Anna Funder, Gillian Mears and Janette Turner Hospital.
"The day after the PMLA were announced we had customers coming in to ask for the winning books. It definitely starts a conversation " Anna Low
Do a feature in your newsletter or your blog. Offer your views about how the judges of these awards got it right – or wrong! Give poetry its five minutes to shine. What better opportunity will you have to have a poetry display that actually sells some books! Again the shortlist provides a wealth of talent: Ali Alizadeh, Luke Davies, John Kinsella, John Mateer and Gig Ryan. This is wonderful excuse to celebrate Australian writing – do a table or a window showing off the long lists – emphasising the short list and the winner(s) – don’t just simply out put an orphan – a singular pile consisting of a winner. Use shelf talkers! What a great way to supplement and celebrate our cultural wealth! Use ‘Get Reading Month’ to add titles to the recommendations provided. Use the opportunity of Children’s Book Week to also present the shortlist and winners of your state’s literary awards, as well as the Prime Minister’s Awards. Make sure you show off the great range of thoughtful and thought-provoking Australian nonfiction. So, have I answered the question of whether there should be more or less literary awards? I think it is really a case of maximising the benefits of what works best for your shop, and your customer base – and not simply relying on a generic poster or book sticker. I would agree with Flanagan to some extent, that there is often an excessive focus on a winner, suggesting that who has ‘merely’ made a short or long list has lost. I think this is a foolish position, and as the PMLA judges struggled to reduce a list of more than 100 books of fiction down to 14 (long list) and finally the short list and the winner; and went through a similar exercise for poetry, we come to realise that we are all winners for the wealth of our cultural output, and that we as booksellers should celebrate that.
New ABA members
We welcome the following new members: Corporate Bookshop Members
BookSourcesOnline, Ringwood, VIC Can Do Books, Hawthorn VIC Fine Print Books, Newtown NSW Gould’s Book Arcade, Newtown NSW Maleny Bookshop, Maleny QLD Marlowes Books, Cooma NSW Retriever Books, Dee Why NSW The Cook and the Book, Casino NSW Vannam, Girraween NSW
Rockpool Publishing, Dulwich Hill NSW Seizure, Surry Hills NSW
Derek Dryden awarded Life Membership of the ABA
Derek Dryden opened Better Read Than Dead in Newtown 17 years ago after being inspired by a visit to a bookshop in New Orleans. Through his passion for books and his determination he has built Better Read Than Dead into one of “Sydney’s favourite bookshops”. Derek is not only passionate about books but he is passionate about bookshops and bookselling. He has worked tirelessly on behalf of other booksellers volunteering his time and energy through his work for the NSW ABA and the national ABA organisations.
He was a member of the national ABA management committee for over 12 years which included time as treasurer and he was President of the ABA for three years. He oversaw the purchase of the current ABA office building ensuring the economic sustainability of the ABA for years to come. He introduced the Spring Booksellers conference the aim of which was to help and nurture the next generation of booksellers. He also encourage the formation of strong links with international bookseller organizations especially the American ABA and was elected to the International Booksellers Federation in 2010. I wouldn’t be standing here tonight as the current ABA president if it wasn’t for Derek Dryden. He has been a mentor to me and is someone I greatly admire especially for his dedication and commitment to the book industry as a whole. His experience, knowledge, generosity and humour will be greatly missed and I wish him luck with wherever life’s path takes him next. It is with great pleasure that I announce life membership of the Australia Booksellers Association to Derek Dryden. Jon Page, ABA President
News on Bookselling August 2012
Bookshop profile Wise Words: rural bookselling I have just returned home after
attending the ABA Conference feeling motivated and a little overwhelmed. After hearing such inspiring speakers at the conference I did feel rather a small minnow in a large sea, however, I realise we all have much in common …. a love of books and a desire to provide just the right book for our treasured customers.
Wise Words is a small independent bookshop situated in Moree, centre of Australian cotton production on the rich wheat growing plains of North West New South Wales, home to the famous Artesian Bore Baths. Moree is eight hours drive from Sydney and five hours from Brisbane. Our community is diverse and vibrant with many enthusiastic readers who support and welcome a bookshop. Wise Words will have been in business for two years this November. I sometimes wonder how I came to be in business, but in the immortal words of Steve Jobs, “ You can’t connect the dots looking forward , you can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future”. I came to opening the bookshop after a background in education and interior design, but I had always had a love of literature. My two children were finishing school and the opportunity to open a bookshop came along. Somehow the dots joined and Wise Words opened. What a learning experience it has been! I opened in the midst of a global financial crisis and only just before the demise of the Red Group. Many a night I asked myself “ what AM I doing?”. It has been made worthwhile by the local community embracing the bookshop and really supporting my venture. I have discovered so many wonderful people who love to read, I get enormous pleasure from seeing children run in to choose a
book, and even more delight in seeing teenagers ambling in to check what’s new, and to have a chat. Wise Words stocks a variety of genres and we try to meet the needs of all our customers. We have an extensive range of audio books for the many farmers who spend long hours on the tractor and need something interesting to listen to. There are travellers going long distances. A number of young, international back packers who work in the cotton industry and beyond who love to read, interestingly, they are often after the classics. Because of where we are, Australian rural literature is vital - poetry, prose, biography. People are fascinated to know what life was like on the land for earlier generations. We also have many book groups in the town and the outlying areas. These groups realise that they can access their books more competitively online but are committed to supporting Wise Words because they value the personalised service provided by having a local bookshop. I aim to make our store a place in the community that encourages discussion and ideas. We have had many author events and are lucky to have the author Nicole Alexander on our doorstep. She is a marvellous supporter of the shop and has launched both her books here. Nicole has been chosen as the Barwon (our state electorate ) Woman of the Year, which is a great honour. She shares her time between farming and writing so is a perfect candidate to represent the Year of the Farmer and the Year of Reading. Our local schools have been extremely supportive. Their decision to give book vouchers from Wise Words as end of year primary school prizes introduced many children to the world of reading. We try to foster a fun and interesting environment where the children feel welcome.
Australian Booksellers Association Incorporated in Victoria, ABN 56 365 379 358, Unit 9, 828 High Street Kew East Victoria 3102 Telephone 03 9859 7322 Facsimile 03 9859 7344 Email firstname.lastname@example.org www.aba.org.au
Wise Words is located next to like minded businesses in the hub of town.(Near the traffic lights when you come!!) Apart from speciality coffee and organic food store, there is the Moree Plains Art Gallery (which has a fabulous Aboriginal Art collection) a toyshop, a boutique, and a private contemporary gallery. We try to encourage the community to shop locally and have joint marketing and advertising to maximize the effect. We try to support each other by word of mouth recommendation and creating a desirable shopping destination. I am extremely fortunate to have informed and committed staff. Xandra is a vibrant treasure who loves to share her reading experiences. She has worked in the book industry for a number of years and is of great assistance to me. She is constantly reminding me to be up to date with returns and her energy and enthusiasm keep us all focused. We have many challenges ahead, and are trying to embrace social media with the launch of our website and facebook page. Essentially, being the only bookshop in a small rural community is challenging, we are fighting online competition and e-readers but we aim to offer fantastic knowledgeable service and make the shopping experience memorable. Life is never dull, not a day passes without something fascinating happening at Wise Words what a joy it is to be surrounded by books and interesting people!
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