How to reimagine bookstores while also doing everything we already do?

Host:   Lisa Swayze, Buffalo Street Books

Participants: Mary Williams, Skylight Books  Kit Steinaway, BINC, Jessica Stockton-Bagnolo, Greenlight  Veronica Liu, Word Up, Maryelizabeth Yturralde, Creating Conversations, Jessica Palacios, Once Upon a Time

Notes

Can more pubs join BATCH to save time? Are there other ways pubs can support taking away some of the menial tasks?

Schedule/planner – make it very detailed. Prioritize and move things to further off that are less urgent. 

How as a manager team and whole staff can we do this kind of prioritization? 

Mary: So many people count on us to get things done to enable them to get things done. How to build in time to think big with other people.

Veronica: “Let it suck” – sometimes that’s okay, at least for a while. Chasing multiple departments, but then another one pops up. 

As business grows how to grow out of acting like a small business – Greenlight has new HR – looking at inefficiencies – painful but necessary

Veronica: Reminder that it’s on everyone, not just one person. Letting that happen – let it be more organic. Encourage others taking pieces.

More people understand the why and can justify it. And sometimes the decisions that get made almost by accident collectively

Starting points for moving the industry forward on a larger scale to really reimagine the industry – how do we do that?

Suggestion – start with one piece. Living Wage. Used to feel like a non-consideration to a vital part of the conversation now. Centering the things that are important to us, working more collectively towards moving them forward. 

More of these conversations are happening and it’s hopeful. ABA is a trade organization, representative of a particular model. Corporate side of the industry looms larger in those spaces rather than the nuts and bolts of what bookstores and booksellers need. Institutions talking to institutions.

More human level stuff – as that gets to critical mass – town hall is sometimes that. 

Create more semi-formal spaces like this one on the regular as ways to schedule time to look at these bigger picture issues – we need to have that to continue moving this forward.

More conversations on how we can move forward with the bigger issues of our role as social cause organizations.

Some of those conversations may be outside of the book world in general – civically? Other areas that these conversations exist. 

NYSCA – arts. But role is bringing our concerns to those worlds/organization

COVID opened a bit of a window into small business and bookstores in particular – and also opened up funding for us in ways we need long term – how can we use that?

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