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CALIBA Convenes in South San Francisco

The California Independent Booksellers Alliance held its Fall Fest in South San Francisco, bringing together 230 booksellers for a gathering that celebrated the merger of the Northern and Southern California Independent Bookseller Associations. The event included educational sessions, exhibits, and opportunities to connect with vendors, authors, and fellow booksellers. With increased attendance and positive financial prospects, CALIBA looks forward to its next Fall Fest in Pasadena.

CALIBA Convenes in South San Francisco

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CALIBA Convenes in South San Francisco

The California Independent Booksellers Alliance (CALIBA) recently held its Fall Fest in South San Francisco, bringing together booksellers from across the state. This year’s event was particularly significant as it marked the first gathering of CALIBA since the merger between the Northern and Southern California Independent Bookseller Associations. The decision to hold the event in South San Francisco reflected the central location that was convenient for booksellers from both regions.

According to Ann Seaton, co-executive director of CALIBA, a total of 230 booksellers preregistered for the Fall Fest. This number exceeded the turnout from the previous year’s meeting in Sacramento by about a hundred preregistrants. The event was well-attended, and the final count, including day-of-show registrants, was still being tallied at the time of the article.

Looking ahead to CALIBA’s 2024 Fall Fest, the event will be held in Pasadena. This location change ensures that CALIBA continues to accommodate its members from both Northern and Southern California. By rotating the location each year, CALIBA provides opportunities for booksellers from different regions to attend and participate in their annual gathering.

Board Updates and Financial Status

During the membership meeting at the Fall Fest, CALIBA board president Melinda Powers expressed her excitement about finally getting back to in-person events after a challenging year. She emphasized the importance of bringing together booksellers, vendors, and industry professionals to strengthen connections and support local independent bookstores.

Mimi Hannan, CALIBA treasurer, shared positive news about the organization’s financial status. She stated that CALIBA is “financially healthy” and revealed that the board had voted to create a rainy-day fund to prepare for any potential economic challenges in the future. Hannan further emphasized the importance of closely monitoring the budget and prioritizing programs that provide the most value to CALIBA’s bookstore members and vendors.

CALIBA Convenes in South San Francisco

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Full Merger of Northern and Southern California IBAs

The Fall Fest in South San Francisco marked a significant milestone for CALIBA—the full merger of the Northern and Southern California Independent Bookseller Associations. Linda McLoughlin Figel, owner of Pages: A Bookstore in Manhattan Beach, California, emphasized that the event brought together booksellers from both regions, symbolizing the unity of the California independent bookstore community. This merger strengthens the collective voice of independent booksellers in the state and allows for greater collaboration and sharing of resources.

Moving forward, CALIBA will continue to represent the interests of booksellers from all parts of California. The decision to alternate the location of the Fall Fest between Northern and Southern California ensures that the organization remains inclusive and accessible to all members.

Education and Roundtables

The Fall Fest provided booksellers with valuable educational sessions and opportunities to participate in roundtable discussions. One of the highlights was a session on utilizing Edelweiss analytics. Edelweiss is a digital platform that offers tools and insights to help booksellers effectively manage their inventory and make data-driven decisions. The session provided tips and strategies for harnessing Edelweiss’s analytics capabilities to improve bookselling practices.

The roundtable discussions focused on two crucial topics: handselling and building book clubs. Booksellers had the opportunity to share their experiences and learn from one another, exploring effective strategies for engaging customers and fostering meaningful connections within their communities. These sessions aimed to equip booksellers with actionable insights and techniques to enhance their bookselling skills and create engaging experiences for their customers.

CALIBA Convenes in South San Francisco

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Updates from Ingram

Ingram, one of the largest book distributors, provided updates on various aspects of its operations during the Fall Fest. Ron Smithson, Ingram’s director of sales, shared news about the integration of the Geek+ warehouse automation system in LaVergne, Tennessee. The implementation of this state-of-the-art system will enhance Ingram’s warehouse operations and improve efficiency.

Additionally, Smithson announced the relocation of Ingram’s print-on-demand facility from Allentown to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. This move is expected to streamline operations and enhance printing capabilities, ensuring faster turnaround times for print-on-demand orders.

Ingram also provided updates regarding its ipage system, a comprehensive online resource for booksellers. The updates focused on improving the user interface and functionality of the system, making it even more user-friendly and efficient for booksellers to search for and order books.

These updates from Ingram highlight the company’s ongoing commitment to innovation and its efforts to provide booksellers with the tools and resources they need to thrive in the ever-evolving book industry.

Exhibitor Highlights

One of the highlights of the Fall Fest was the presence of over 40 exhibitors. The exhibit hall showcased a wide range of publishers, distributors, and industry service providers. Booksellers had the opportunity to explore the exhibitors’ offerings, browse advance reader copies (ARCs) and finished copies, and engage in conversations with vendors and authors.

Notable updates from exhibitors included improvements to Batch for Books, a payment and data administration system used by many bookstores. The system has experienced significant growth, with the number of users almost doubling in the past year. Batch for Books provides an efficient and streamlined approach to managing payments and data for booksellers.

Libro.fm, an audiobook company, also shared updates during the Fall Fest. The company has expanded its reach globally, with members in 65 countries and bookstore affiliates in 50 countries. Libro.fm has been actively collaborating with independent bookshops in various countries, running promotions to support local bookshop days and engage readers worldwide.

Bookshop.org, an online bookstore platform that supports independent bookshops, showcased its upcoming ebook app. The company is actively working on building the platform and aims to release it by March. The ebook app will provide booksellers and readers with a new way to access and enjoy ebooks while supporting independent bookstores.

Fall Picks from Publishers and Distributors

Numerous publishers and distributors shared their fall picks during the Fall Fest, highlighting notable books that are expected to be popular among readers. IPG (Independent Publishers Group) emphasized two books from Chicago Review Press that coincide with the 60th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. “The Final Witness” by Paul Landis and “Jack Ruby” by Danny Fingeroth offer unique perspectives on this historical event.

Blackstone Publishing, known for its thrilling and genre-forward titles, promoted an upcoming book by Robert Downey Jr. and Thomas Kostigen. “Cool Food: Erasing Your Carbon Footprint One Bite at a Time” combines Downey’s passion for environmentally sustainable eating habits with practical recipes. This unique title aims to educate and inspire readers to make a positive impact on the environment through their food choices.

These fall picks from publishers and distributors offer booksellers a glimpse into the exciting releases coming up and provide valuable insights for curating their store’s collections and engaging readers.

Other Features and Promotions

In addition to the various updates and highlights at the Fall Fest, there were several other features and promotions that caught attendees’ attention. These included curated lists of notable fiction and nonfiction debuts for fall, as well as recommendations for books to enhance writing skills and unexpected Jane Austen homages.

These curated lists are valuable resources for booksellers seeking to stay updated on the latest trends and discover new titles to recommend to their customers. They provide a diverse range of book recommendations that cater to different interests and reading preferences.

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In conclusion, CALIBA’s Fall Fest in South San Francisco was a successful and significant event for California’s independent bookselling community. The gathering brought booksellers from all regions together, symbolizing the full merger of the Northern and Southern California Independent Bookseller Associations. The event provided valuable education sessions, updates from industry professionals, and opportunities for booksellers to engage with exhibitors and discover exciting titles. With its focus on collaboration, education, and connecting the independent bookstore community, CALIBA continues to support and empower booksellers in California.

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