Fremantle Press and Magabala Books shared an exhibition stand at the 2017 Australian Booksellers Association Conference in Melbourne this June. Attended by over 300 industry professionals, it was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with booksellers from all regions of Australia and to present our new titles to them.

The keynote speakers at the conference were John Mutter, editor-in-chief of US bookselling publication Shelf Awareness, and James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones. Both gave fascinating updates on the state of the book trade in the US and UK with particular attention to how Amazon is affecting bricks-and-mortar booksellers.

Mutter said independent booksellers in the US were focusing on connecting with their community and diversifying their experiences: with some bookstores even offering in-store haircuts! Daunt discussed the need for booksellers to empower their staff, contending that knowledgeable, self-reliant employees would be a drawcard for customers who valued literary expertise. Later at the conference, Daunt’s point was put into practical terms by Western Australia’s own Jane Seaton of Beaufort Street Books. Seaton joined Fiona Stager from Avid Reader and Anna Low from Potts Point Bookshop for a session on ‘Analogue Marketing’, where each bookseller shared tips on what helps to sell titles in-store.

These were just a few of the many rich and varied sessions offered this year and I’d like to thank the ABA and all the speakers who shared their experiences and expertise.

Speaking of sharing experiences and expertise … I can’t wait to share mine at the writingWA two-day Writing and Publishing Sector Forum later this month. The forum will provide an opportunity for discussion and the exchange of information regarding current industry practice, issues and opportunities. It starts on Monday 31 July and is hosted by the City of Perth Library. Tickets are available now.


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