The Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation announced today its second annual Campaign to Sustain. Last year 49 generous contributors added their support to Binc’s programs by pledging to become monthly sustaining donors. This ongoing funding has ensured that bookseller assistance programs such as serious medical expenses, domestic violence, homelessness prevention and funeral expenses will continue to be provided by the Foundation.
This year marks Binc’s 20th anniversary. In order to continue to provide this crucial financial safety net to bookstore employees across the country, Binc has set the goal of adding another 50 sustaining donors during the month of May.
Executive Director, Pam French added, “To mark this milestone we are asking new and current supporters to take our 20 for 20 challenge. If you are not a sustaining donor start at $20 a month, if you are a donor bump your donation up to $20 or add $20 for this year. By becoming a sustaining donor you are ensuring the safety net is available when a bookseller is in need.”
So far this year nine booksellers have received grants for situations ranging from loss of income due to disability to disaster assistance after a house fire to homelessness prevention. Last year Binc was able to assist 28 booksellers and their families with over $54,000 in financial assistance. Binc’s scholarship program provided higher education scholarships to 53 booksellers or their family members totaling $200,000 in educational assistance.
If you are interested in making a donation to Binc’s Campaign to Sustain, please visit the donation page: https://secure.donationpay.org/bincfoundation/yearend.php
In addition, BINC board members and regional directors Deb Leonard and Wanda Jewell have put out a challenge to all independent bookstores to join in and support their fellow booksellers. During the month of May, bookstores can begin or increase a sustaining donation to earn points. The winning region will win a special party from BINC during their fall trade show. Challenge your staff to support booksellers in need.
From our board president, David Enyeart
March was quite a busy month. The ABA came to the Twin Cities in full force. Carrie, Nancy Simpson-Brice, and I were part of an educational task force to review the recent Winter Institute in Denver, and we also met with the ABA and booksellers from the upper Midwest in a special focus group to look ahead to Wi12 in Minneapolis.
At the same time, March's spring meeting kicked off with a lively discussion about the Shop Local movement and where it can go in the future. We covered a lot of topics, but perhaps the most important message was that booksellers often underestimate our ability to influence lawmakers and public policy. As both small businesses and tastemakers, we have valuable messages to share--and not just for the customers in our store. If you weren’t able to attend, you can find the materials in the ABA’s New Localism Toolkit. The afternoon concluded with a fun and lively author social. We learned about a dozen of the spring’s most interesting books direct from their authors. The conversations were animated, and it’s hard to tell who had more fun, them or us. Follow the links for the full list of authors and photos from the afternoon.
Last but not least came the March meeting of MIBA’s board. We devoted a full morning to strategic planning. Thanks to all who participated in our recent survey. We took your comments to heart as we reviewed our goals for MIBA’s future. We’ll wrap up our planning process this summer, and we’ll have a summary and report to share with you then.
Planning is well underway for the Heartland Fall Forum--October 5-7, 2016, at The Depot in Minneapolis. We’re especially interested to hear your suggestions for education sessions. What do you want to learn this fall? And what authors are you keen to meet? Please send your ideas to Carrie Obry (firstname.lastname@example.org), or be in touch with any of us board members.
Best to all,
One of the biggest pleasures of working with booksellers throughout the Midwest is watching a new bookseller grow a store from a concept that exists only in their imagination to bonafide, successful brick-and-mortar independent bookstore. Melanie Green, owner of Bluebird Books, is one such bookseller.
We first met Melanie at a spring gathering in Wichita, KS when she was doing research on how to open a bookstore. Today, she owns a remarkably creative destination bookshop in Hutchinson, KS that puts a smile on your face before you walk in the door. Melanie tapped into an amazing network to make her dreams come true. A friend is an interior designer. Her husband works with metal. Another relation is a coffee roaster in Manhattan, KS. She joined ABA and MIBA and attended a Paz workshop. With a combination of vision, consistent hard work, and years of advance planning, Melanie can now say she is the owner of a beautiful bookstore, cafe, and event space.
Her branding is powerful. The store's iconic bluebird logo is featured everywhere, painted on the book-delivery bike, cut into the beveled edges of her metal bookcases, stenciled on the ceiling, laid into mosaics on the floor, and stickered onto the coffee bean bags, chocolates, and bookmarks.
Melanie says, "Based on feedback I received from Paz, I knew that if I opened a store in Hutchinson, I would need to make it a destination." To do so, Melanie let her creativity run free, stripping a built-up space that once housed a computer shop down to its former glory, revealing concrete floors, lead-paned windows, exposed bricks, and sun-drenched skylights. To all this, she added whimsical architectural details, eclectic furniture, and an excellent selection of new books and covetable sidelines. One of the attending booksellers declared it "heaven."
Since Hutchinson is a bit off the beaten path for our traditional events, we decided to forego formal programming and simply invite area booksellers to come visit the store with us. Melanie led us on a tour and served lunch out of her new cafe. Beth Golay of Books and Whatnot joined us an led a casual marketing roundtable, sharing good ideas for engaging with customers, such as using Facebook's new scheduler, the beauty of Tweet Deck, and checking out Riverhead's Snapchat account, which she called the best in the industry.
Thank you to the booksellers of The Toy Store (Lawrence), Blue Dragon Books (Derby), Rivendell (Abilene) and Watermark (Wichita) for joining us. Thank you Beth Golay for your marketing prowess. And thank you Melanie for inviting us into your beautiful shop!
Chris Livingston, owner of The Book Shelf in Winona, Minnesota, recently announced to his customers and recipients of the bookstore's newsletter that the store will be closing after fourteen years in business. Here is a passage from that letter:
It is with great regret that I announce the closure of The Book Shelf as of April 21st, 2015.
The store's inventory and fixtures will be sold at liquidation prices as long as they're available.
Ten bookstores in the Twin Cities are teaming up to produce a Bookstore Day Passport to be given out on the second annual Independent Bookstore Day, April 30 2016.
The passport was inspired by Minnesota illustrator Kevin Cannon's recent campaign to draw a Minnesota Bookstore every day for 31 days. Cannon agreed to allow bookstores to use his illustrations for the passport, and even went so far as to create additional illustrations specifically for the project, including the passport cover below.
Customers pick up a copy of the passport at any of the participating stores and receive their first stamp. Any individual who travels to all ten stores during business hours on Independent Bookstore Day and receives a stamp from each store will receive a $10 gift card from every participating bookstore--$100 in total value. When all the stamps have been collected, customers snap a photo of their completed stamp page and send it to the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association via twitter (@MidwestBooks), and we will gather contact info and send them their gift cards.
Moon Palace Books in South Minneapolis will also be producing a new and updated edition of its Twin Cities Bookstore Map, which will include all bookstores in the Twin Cities, not just those participating in the passport, Independent Bookstore Day, or members of MIBA.
To view or order Kevin Cannon's bookstore illustrations and other works, please visit his website at www.CannonMaps.com.