Talking shop

<p>The London Book Fair is my favourite fair. Its size is manageable, it lasts only 3 days and I get to see more or less everyone and everything I need to see. As a Greek international bookseller dealing mostly with English books, my goals are basically the following: One, to touch base with my publishers and see their most exciting and promising forthcoming titles, two to &quot;discover&quot; new collaborations and three &ndash; for me the most important &ndash; to get a chance to meet with other fellow international booksellers and &quot;talk shop&quot;.<br />
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During these years I have met with wonderful people who all represent smaller or bigger bookselling chains and it is amazing how much we share between us although we all come from different countries. In a way I think that we share more between us than among our fellow country booksellers as we are the same size and we are not competitors. We ask each other questions such as: Buying centrally for all stores or not? Does sorting titles by categories help replenishment? How do you decide promotions? Are you using RFID? Smart shelves? What is your loss percentage on your turnover? How do you deal with stocktaking? How long does it get UK titles to reach your warehouse? How do you deal with returns? What kind of events work best for you? Is teleordering better than emailing orders? Do you also publish your own titles? How do you promote your internet site? What do you think of e-books? Are we booksellers becoming extinct? <br />
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These and other such questions keep coming up all the time, actually so much so, that I suggested to Fran Dubruille, president of the European Booksellers Federation to help facilitate a meeting among such a group &ndash;&nbsp; family (or not) bookselling chains from different countries&nbsp; - in order to meet and exchange ideas and &quot;best practices&quot;.<br />
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Do not get me wrong &ndash; Booksellers and Publishers Associations are irreplaceable as groups representing our industry in each country's government. But they have to concentrate on common issues and cannot afford to give a special voice to particular groups.<br />
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So, if you are a bookseller and would like to meet your peers and &quot;talk shop&quot;, you may want to consider a meeting at the upcoming Annual Conference of the European Booksellers Federation from 11th to 14th June 2008 in Amsterdam. I believe it is worth a try! (For information look at <a href="http://www.ebf-eu.org">www.ebf-eu.org</a> &lt;&gt; or <a href="http://www.ibf-booksellers.org">www.ibf-booksellers.org</a>.)<br />
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And while we are on the issue of family bookstores, I have a suggestion to any publisher who might be interested: How about publishing a book about the history of old family bookshops across Europe? Think about it: it will be a sure title featuring on all big European bookshops' windows . . .</p>