Monday, May 16, 2011

CBA Weekend In Toronto

Where to begin after having just spent the past three days immersed in book culture with colleagues from across Canada?

Was it Friday's bus tour of some great Toronto stores and publisher/distributors? (Including University of Toronto Bookstore, Random House Canada, Ella Minnow, Mabel's Fables, The Flying Dragon and North49)

Was it that evening's author/publisher/industry reception?

Was it Saturday morning's keynote from Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor and his message that you can compete if you focus on the right areas for competitive advantage.

Was it that morning's technology update of CBA partnering with two companies one online (Transcontinental) and one in-store (Enthrill) solution to help independent booksellers be part of selling ebooks?

Was it the fantastic line-up of concurrent education sessions (Publishing your own books, Event Planning & Leveraging Technology to engage customers)?

Was it the whirlwind speed dating with sales reps luncheon?

Was it the fantastic exhibitor showcase allowing for an intimate chance to network, connect and learn more about what different publishers and business partners are either releasing this fall or have available for booksellers (along with a chance to chat with some great Canadian authors)

Was it the CBA Libris Awards reception, presentation and dinner, glitzy, fun yet brought down to earth and inflicted with many funny moments from the various presenters and award winners, but also by it's hosts Kevin Graff and Bob Phibbs?

Was it Sunday morning's annual general meeting which began a conversation and dialogue that continued in that morning's member forum (with progressive discussions that will continue throughout the year)?

Was it the Sunday author luncheon featuring Johanna Skibsrud, Jeff Buick, David Chilton and Neil Pasricha and getting a chance to hear them talk about their work & writing, hearing them read and a wonderfully informal Q&A?

Was it Sunday's keynote presentation from Barbara Crowhurt featuring driving sales by focusing back on the basics?

Was it the final networking chance to "Ask the experts" -- meeting with you colleagues and getting advice?

Or was it the absolutely wonderful chance to network and connect with so many colleagues and industry partners over the course of those three days?

I haven't decided.

I'm still overwhelmed with such a wonderfully jam-packed weekened filled with information, networking, intense dialogue, entertainment, sharing and a chance to simply celebrate what it is that booksellers do.  I am in awe of the commitee that put this weekend together, colleagues from across Canada, and the staff at CBA who kept things running mostly from behind the scenes.

What an incredible weekend, just perfect for this book nerd.  I'm still soaking in all of the learning, all of the information I took in.

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