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The Latest from ABA’s Book Sense Program

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Independent booksellers across the country are now in the process of nominating their favorite new books-and some backlist-for the first “Book Sense 76,” a list of books that will be rallied around and promoted starting in September. The list is an effort of Book Sense, a new program initiated by the American Bookseller’s Association (ABA) to promote titles sold at independent bookstores. Other aspects of Book Sense include general program promotion and advertising as well as gift certificates and a Web site.Of course, part of the selection process for the “Book Sense 76” is reading the books ahead of time, something independent booksellers pride themselves in doing. But many find it difficult to receive as many copies as they’d like if they’re not visited by every rep or not on all the various publisher mailing lists. In other cases, one advance copy often isn’t enough to go around to all the employees in the store who want to read it.Book Sense can help you get your books read by more booksellers. Tell Book Sense how many reader’s editions, galleys, or even finished books you’d like to send out, and send along the title, author name, category, and a one-sentence description for each. However many you have to spare-25 copies, 50, 100, whatever-would be great. (The staff at Book Sense know this is not an inconsiderable expense for you, but they’re confident that it’s more than worth it. Even if you have an eclectic group of three or five books of which you can spare 10 or 15 copies each, this is a way to get the word-of-mouth started somewhere.) Book Sense will collect the names and addresses of interested booksellers from a wide range of stores and then forward their contact information to publishers. The publishers then will send the reading copies of their books on to the booksellers. Even if your books never make it to the “Book Sense 76” list, you will be bringing your titles to the attention of booksellers.Note: This effort is intended to supplement the efforts of your reps, not supplant them. More than ever, the role of the rep in identifying great new books and authors is crucial.Information about the books you have available should be sent to: Carl Lennertz, ABA, 828 S. Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591. Just send the list of the books you have available and the information noted above to Lennertz, not the books themselves. If interested, don’t delay!

Keeping Up to Date on Book Sense

ForeWord and PW are obviously two important industry periodicals, but another publication worth reading is Bookselling This Week. In addition to news and articles for and about the independent bookstores, BTW is now also the official source for all Book Sense news, from success stories to new developments, and it will be the place where the “Book Sense 76” selections will be announced each month. Of course, we will also continue to cover the program in the PMA Newsletter.Ordering a subscription to Bookselling This Week is easy. Call Theresa at 800/637-0037 x1269 with a credit card number. (Or e-mail therese@bookweb.org.) The cost is only $60 for the year. Call before Sept. 1 to sign up a colleague or two and get all the subscriptions at $50.


This article is from thePMA Newsletterfor August, 1999, and is reprinted with permission of Publishers Marketing Association.

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