Plenary Notes, Oct 18-19 2021

October 18 Opening Remarks

Praven Madan’s introduction

HELLOOOOO EVERYONE! WELCOME.  Thank you all for joining us today for, what we hope, will be a pivotal gathering for bookstores and our communities.

My name is Praveen Madan and for my day job I work at Kepler’s Bookstore in Menlo Park, California. 

When we started planning this gathering about two months ago, our team was joking if anyone was going to show up! I am sure those of you who have planned events are familiar with that feeling.

We are expecting a great turn out today. About 600 people have signed up and about 75% are planning to participate both today and tomorrow. About 60% of us identify as bookstore owners/ leaders/ employees, 20% authors, 16% publishers and 4% others including journalists, partners, donors and foundations. Participants also span the spectrum of demographic segments and geographies. We have participants from 49 states and a dozen other countries.

PURPOSE – The Overarching Question we have proposed for this gathering:

How can we reimagine bookstores… to deepen literacy, strengthen our communities, and pay decent living wages to our employees?

Living wages: This is a critical critical need. The living wage for 1 single adult with no kids. Seattle ($20 per hour). in Washington DC it is $21. In New York county it is $22. And in our county (San Mateo, CA) is $28 per hour. Most of our staff doesn’t earn that today. The rising cost of living continues to outpace our ability to raise wages.  And as you know there is a direct link between paying living wages and our ability to have a diverse workforce.

Deepening Literacy: The Pew Research Center recently reported that nearly a quarter of American adults (23%) didn’t read a book in the past year. That’s an opportunity for us booksellers – How can we double down on developing new readers, on ensuring free flow of ideas in our community, and helping people of all beliefs in having a shared reality. And by doing that we can strengthen our communities that have been getting polarized and fragmented. Robert Putnam wrote about that in his landmark book Bowling Alone over 20 years ago.

My own experience from the work we have been doing at Kepler’s is informing my assertions and dreams for our industry. About nine years ago we embarked on a big adventure at Kepler’s. Just like we are doing today – we brought together 80 people – including all stakeholders of Kepler’s – staff, customers, donors, publishers, authors, partners. Over 2.5 days using a process known as Future Search we created a blueprint to transform Kepler’s. Together, we decided to transform Kepler’s from a business to a social cause. Since then we have had one hell of a ride, we have accomplished a lot and learned a lot. 

And today, I am pleased to kick off what I hope will be a similar journey for our industry.

In a nutshell, we believe it’s time to embrace bookstores as a social cause and we would love to build a community of people who want to work together on this. We hope this gathering is a starting point. But it is really going to be up to all of you!

Introduce team (Peggy, Sandra, Paul, Henry, Evan)

Sandra Janoff conducted the Future Search for Kepler’s in 2012 that created the blueprint for Kepler’s transformation. She has also been my leadership coach since then.

I met Paul Wright when both of us were serving on the board of directors of Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Paul has worked tirelessly with me for the last 1.5 years in laying the groundwork for this effort.

This gathering is the brainchild of Peggy Holman whom I have only known for about three months. Peggy is one of the most skilled and experienced organizers for Open Space gatherings in the entire world and we struck gold when she agreed to help us. When we saw the enthusiastic response to the invitation for this gathering Peggy realized we were going to need more help and she recruited a team of five more practitioners and she will introduce all of them soon.

Peggy, Paul, and Sandra formed the nucleus of the planning team for this gathering when we started working on it a couple of months ago. All of them are working pro-bono i.e. without any compensation — which is a great proof point that the world is starting to accept bookstores as a social cause and is responding to them with a spirit of generosity. 

Peggy, Paul, Sandra and I would never have met – if it wasn’t for a remarkable book publishing company – Berrett-Koehler. I am truly grateful to Steve Piersanti, Johanna Vondeling, and many others at BK for their support over the years and for being here with us today. Many wonderful BK authors and board members are also participating.

Organizing a gathering of this size takes a lot of work and I am deeply grateful for the tremendous support Henry Zatarain and Evan Karp have provided.

Thanks to co-hosts – 21 bookstores. John Mutter, Jenn Risko and their team at Shelf and Alex Green and many others at PW for helping get the word out. SIBA and the regional bookseller associations have also helped in a big way. Thank you!

This is an experiment

We have been blown away by the enthusiastic response to our invitation. Today and tomorrow is one big experiment. Let’s treat it like an adventure we are on together. We ask for your patience and understanding as work through the largest Open Space gathering ever done online.

THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE. I am absolutely convinced we can create a strong and exciting future for bookstores everywhere but we are going to need a lot of help. Thank you for showing up. Our goal is to build a community of people who want to work on this together over the next two days and beyond. And let’s have some fun!

October 18 Evening News

💓 What moved you? High points from your experience today

🖊️ How: Write in chat, and/or raise hand if you want to share out loud.

  • From Diana Montano (she/her) – Just want to say that I really appreciate the landing page, with all the links we could ever need – as an events organizer, it made me rethink our landing pages for these kinds of events!
  • Christine: So rewarding to connect to book sellers. Love all of you
  • From Bill Reilly both sessions that I attended built slowly and then simply took off!
  • From Shelley MacbethIt was such a wonderful sharing opportunity — great info from many different viewpoints.  We are so different and yet so much the same
  • Nialle: one great idea: reaching out to organizations with existing community spaces or open a waiting room for people to pick up books to borrow. Allow leaders to pick up books at store to buy, donate to program. Eg, Dir Future of Afro Futurist. I ask customers to donate to the organization
  • Stephanie: Mentorship, creating connections between booksellers. A lot of booksellers multiple years in career. Might not have same connections. A lot of people making career changes post pandemic. Might be people shifting careers in different stages of life.  Experience of younger book sellers changes things as we see demographic shift.
  • Donna: I am more aware that our future is precarious. Need to step up to make financially viable to be bookstore owners. Escalating prices. Real estate, labor. Want to pay better. It’s a challenge to make the numbers work. Getting tighter. We see young people coming with cash and purpose. Get together to find models, real estate pathways for start up and to continue.
  • Julie: I am a customer, lover of bookstores. Hate to see bookstores go away. I like smell of bookstores. I heard lots of good thinking. I didn’t hear a good answer yet. Tech, Amazon, Audible make it so easy. Don’t know the answers. Keep striving. Conversations with kids, reading, bargain books. Bookstores feel good. Hope we come up with stronger answers.
  • Broche: Praveen talked about core answer: access to more capital from nontraditional sources. Some kind of fund to allow anyone who wants to do bookstore business, how can we get you what you need to start. Here’s $, business advisor, 5-7 years working with us. Or 1 time grant to do a thing. Also succession plan. Where is that fund? Encourage us to something like that in funding conversations. Create our own model. What is the org structure? What amount of $ so that I can apply to get funds?
  • Deb: I was excited to participate…all dedicated to get into the next phase of doing bookstores. Resources all around to talk about these things beyond today and tomorrow.
  • Wendy: How booksellers are thinking about it tomorrow.
  • Kim: A moment from Room 28: “News of the day”. How do people wind their way into good sources about topics in the news? A huge group of booksellers exists with knowledge of what to read. Have quick reaction to ask for these two things: given what’s going on, what books would you recommend? Have a channel to get those reactions. Newsletter or website for that info. Some way to ask: here’s a topic, what’s a book people should read and why?
  • E.R.: Nonprofit bookstores, mission driven, what we often miss that mainstream bookstores have. If a bookstore network had a strong chain of communication. Antitrust laws keep us from communicating as a block. Big guys communicate. We struggle to communicate well. We have the same problems. Size may be different. Frustrating to do in a silo. Hamstrung by a form that keeps us separate. Work on communication to work as a block, to get more $. Looking at global issues. My hope…think big. Audacious thing: all be super connected and talking deeply about using resources together. What I’d like to see come out of this.
  • John: Backstory: Oreo Cookies in superbowl prepped ad in 5 minutes. What if I could see a link for news headlines for the day with a book on the subject, to your bookstore. Everyday.  If I was in a bookshop, everyday!
  • Bradley: Look to Praveen for a model that can raise funds. His model has been successful. Develop a model we can copy cat.
  • Praveen: Brad’s point. When people hear about Kepler’s success in reinventing. Some say Silicon Valley idea. Won’t work here. Generosity was not invented in SV. Generosity is inbuilt in humans. That what we want to tap into with idea bookstores are a social cause.
  • Sono: the joy and love in this community for books and each other. That’s to be celebrated!

From chat

  1. Johanna Vondeling – As a publisher, I really appreciated all the generosity of the booksellers who shared suggestions and tips for how publishers can better support bookstores. I have a a great list to share with our sales and marketing team.
  2.  Megan, Chatham Ontario, Turns & Tales, Manager – Very interesting to hear so many different perspectives, especially from the American side of things (Canadian here). In how we operate, inclusion and diversity within stores, etc. This is fascinating to hear so many different viewpoints, challenges and successes.
  3. Tanya Mills  – I was most impressed that we need to come up with a way for seamless integration and cooperation between the three arms of our society that promote literacy—schools, libraries, and bookstores. I’m going to think a lot more about that.
  4. Nialle Sylvan – Julie O’Mara, could you share your experience with a development stipulating a bookstore?
  5. Stacie Williams (she/her); IPS Field Sales – I just want to say I am utterly jazzed by the range, variety, and number of people in attendance today! Some familiar faces from across the country, and lots of unfamiliar faces but familiar names, from bookstores and publishing. And it’s a great reminder of how much we all care about this business and want to see it thrive, giving me a fresh sense of optimism not because of what has been discussed but because we all are here wanting to have the discussions in the first place, discussions hopefully we also all want to turn into action. Thanks for that. ❤
  6. Vanessa – SF Bay Area – Author (she/her) (V. MacLaren-Wray)  – I was encouraged to hear booksellers and indie publishers express a shared desire to work together more closely in the future, to amplify the impact of bookstores.
  7. Nicole Brinkley | Oblong Books (she / her + manager) – I don’t think there is a Really Good Answer because the problems are varied and complex and messy. It’s not going to be as simple as a One-Click Button, right? ❤
  8. Tanya Mills – I still like the Adopt-a-Bookstore idea for local communities.
  9. John Perkins – Julie: I’m staying at the table.
  10. Nialle Sylvan  – I would like to hear more about adopting?
  11. Elayna Trucker, Napa Bookmine, Bookstore Leader  – Make sure your legislators know that you support anti-trust legislation that would force Amazon to be broken up!!
  12. Carol/owner/BookPeople of Moscow – Broche: James Patterson.
  13. Andrea Ginsky Bookstore1 Sarasota FL Bookseller  – It’s always great to convene with passionate colleagues. I’ll be interested to hear some synthesis of ideas.
  14. Cherilyn Parsons  – There are 50 gazillion dollars out there.
  15. From Kristin Hall t- I think we should look to individuals for funding, rather than foundations or government funding. The latter was already difficult to come by before the pandemic and will be extra tight now
  16. Tanya Mills  – I really didn’t get a chance to explore it further. It just occurred to me that we’ve got an Adopt-a-Highway program in this country. How about an Adopt-a-Literary Highway program?
  17.  Suzanna (she/her)  – Thank you, Broche!
  18. Ben Roberts HOST Newtown, CT he/him  – The East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative an initiative that is breaking new ground in the RE Trust space that is well worth taking a look at.  They, and their sister org, the Sustainable Economies Law Center, are very interested in spreading the model they have developed, comparing notes, etc.
  19. wendythomasrussell  – I’d like to hear about how booksellers here feel about I love it as an Amazon alternative. But is it really helping small bookstores?
  20. wendythomasrussell  – I’d like to hear about how booksellers
  21. Nick Johnson  – I agree about Bookshop. I’d like to hear more.
  22. Broche (she) /bruh-kuh/ River Dog Book Co./Sourcebooks Thank you all ❤
  23. Nialle Sylvan – How can we partner experienced geezers like me with kids who want to enter the business? is there somewhere for would be booksellers to go to look for a mentor?
  24. Sara – Yes, to talking more about Bookshop. work towards action planning
  25. Diana Montano (she/her) – Science Friday- The founder of is here (hi Andy)
  26. E.R. Anderson, Atlanta, Charis Books & More, Executive Director- Not excited about Bookshop
  27. Bradley Jones  – yes to more about
  28. Ruth Liebmann  – yes Deb!
  29. Ben Roberts HOST Newtown, CT he/him – Yes, @nialle and @Deb–tomorrow and BEYOND.  Our team is very interested in supporting more that these two days.
  30. Beth Baldwin R&B Used Books  – Bookshop helped save us
  31. Nicole Brinkley | Oblong Books (she / her + manager)  – I love Bookshop even though directing customers directly to an individual website if they have one is always more helpful for an individual bookstore.
  32. Vanessa – SF Bay Area – Author (she/her) (V. MacLaren-Wray) t – I asked the question about bookshop in one of the groups, and the few participants seemed to think it was helpful.
  33. Kelly Stromberg’s iPhone – As a popup bookseller being only one
  34. Evan Karp-HELP-Oakland, CA-events+publishing (he/him) – Bookshop seems most helpful for stores that do not already offering online bookselling through their own site.
  35. Jhoanna/Long Beach CA/bkstr leader @belcantobooks (she/her) – Yes to connecting new/startup bookstores with mentors!
  36. nilaja biggs – I agree with the mentorship
  37. Missy – Katy Budget Books – There are quite a few different bookseller facebook groups
  38. Elayna Trucker, Napa Bookmine, Bookstore Leader – There’s a very active Facebook group of booksellers, a lot of the questions are on book recs
  39. Christine Longmuir/Two Rivers – A lot of those conversations happen on Facebook
  40. Susanne Pari – Would Indiebound be that resource?
  41. Harry (he/him) Kepler’s Books – Storygraph could develop in that direction, I hope
  42. Stacie Williams (she/her); IPS Field Sales – Storygraph is definitely intriguing and seems to be growing as an alternative to goodreads for lots of folks.
  43. F Tanya Mills – I think someone asked this before, but
  44. Rachel, Avid Bookshop – I love StoryGraph! I broke up with GoodReads!
  45. wendythomasrussell – @Evan Oh, that’s interesting, thank you.
  46. @Broche Thank you for that!
  47. Ben Roberts HOST Newtown, CT – We are not sharing a single list of emails, Tanya.  But you can ask us for one.
  48. Kelly Stromberg – I also send my customers who are sending books to friends/relatives in prison to Bookshop because prisons won’t accept books not from a warehouse.
  49. Donna Paz Kaufman -My earlier comment was about
  50. Ben Roberts HOST Newtown, CT he/him
  51. Ron Charles, book critic at The Washington Post in D.C. – I’d like to hear more about how anti-trust law is — ironically! — imperiling indie bookstores.
  52. Jeff Deutsch | Chicago | Seminary Co-op Bookstores | Bookseller – I would love for ABA to have a lawyer look into the spirit, not the letter, of anti-trust laws, as they are clearly coming from a legalistic/legal-risk perspective, not from a spirit of the law.
  53. Ben Roberts HOST Newtown, CT he/him – We are also creating an email group you are all invited to.
  54. Rachel, Avid Bookshop – Great idea @jeff
  55. Jill Hendrix – If you were in either of my panels 2/26 could you list yourself as a participant in the Notes at as I didn’t write down everyone’s names.
  56. wendythomasrussell – @Jeff YES
  57. Jill Hendrix – Feel free to add more notes if I missed something you said
  58. Jeff Deutsch | Chicago | Seminary Co-op Bookstores | Bookseller- I mean, who is going to sue us for collusion, if we’re not colluding?!
  59. Rachel, Avid Bookshop – Yes @ER !!! Me too!
  60. Elayna Trucker, Napa Bookmine, Bookstore Leader – I believe ABA is pretty active in the anti-trust fight, should be someone to reach out to there if you want to learn more about what they’re doing re: antitrust   ABA are very active and
  61. Vanessa – SF Bay Area – Author (she/her) (V. MacLaren-Wray) – So much good stuff here!
  62. Nialle Sylvan – thanks for the idea, Kelly, about using to get books to prisoners who have to get from a warehouse
  63. Stephen Sparks – I’d be interested in hearing more about how we can think about the industry’s viability outside of ways that aren’t necessarily, “be more like amazon”. In order to seriously reimagine bookstores, we need to chart a more sustainable path.
  64. Jeff Waxman (he/him), East Coast Sales Rep, IPG – @Jeff: before launching their brick-and-
  65. Irene Ryan Durham NC Planning to open a bookstore – I love the energy and support of this entire event – from the set up, to the fabulous hosts, to the kind participants
  66. Kristin Hall – (In fact generosity at times feels rather anti-Silicon Valley)
  67. Tanya Mills – Thanks!
  68. Beth Koehler, Publisher PRH NY – Thanks Praveen and all the hosts!
  69. Carol/owner/BookPeople of Moscow t – thanks everyone for the good sessions!
  70. Beth Koehler, Publisher PRH NY – Thanks Praveen and all the hosts!
  71. Jason Boog, Fable, Los Angeles- Thank you everyone, what a great group of readers!
  72. Susan Chamberlain she/her The Book Keeper – Thank you everyone! Wonderful to be together!
  73. Bradley Jones – Go Praveen!
  74. Nicole Brinkley | Oblong Books (she / her + manager) – Have a great day tomorrow! I can’t attend, but have a blast. ❤
  75. Tanya Mills – Thanks all!
  76. Cherilyn Parsons – This was an amazing organizational 
  77. Jhoanna/Long Beach CA/bkstr leader @belcantobooks (she/her) – Here’s to building a $50 gazillion fund! Thanks everyone
  78. Michele Caprario – 🌼Thank you, everyone! Wonderful to be with you all.
  79. Kevin Smokler – Great job everyone! Thank you for 
  80. Ruth Liebmann – This was wonderful and a big high five to the booksellers in my groups – so much creative and productive thinking!
  81. Cherilyn Parsons – $50M – Mackenzie Scott…..
  82. Vanessa – SF Bay Area – Author (she/her) (V. MacLaren-Wray) – Wow!
  83. Jeff Deutsch | Chicago | Seminary Co-op Bookstores | Bookseller- Great job, Praveen and the hosts! Thank you so much for convening and facilitating this amazing conversation!
  84. Josh Cook (Porter Sq Book, Cambridge, MA) (he/him) – Thank you all. Good luck tomorrow! (I will be, you know, selling books so will have to miss it.)
  85. Steve Piersanti – Great facilitation!  Well-conceived and carried-out event!
  86. John Perkins – Thanks
  87. Stephanie Heinz – Thanks everyone!!
  88. Ruth Liebmann – And thank you to Praveen and the 
  89. Derek Stordahl/Holiday House Publishers – Thanks to alL!
  90. Ron Charles, book critic at The Washington Post in D.C. – Thank you!
  91. Beth Baldwin R&B Used Books – Thank you all so much ❤
  92. Broche (she) /bruh-kuh/ River Dog Book Co./Sourcebooks – Thank you all! Looking forward to tomorrow!
  93. Christie Olson Day- thank you!
  94. Alex Green – Thank you all!
  95. Julie O’Mara – Thank you all.
  96. Shelley Macbeth, she/her Blue Heron Books, Uxbridge ON, Canada- Milles mercis!
  97. Stacie Williams (she/her); IPS Field Sales – Thanks organizers and hosts!
  98. Cindy S, Reader – Mahalo to all!
  99. Michelle Montague – Thank you! Fascinating conversations.
  100. Praveen Madan- Thanks everyone for coming!

October 19 Morning News and Announcements

Praveen Madan’s Opening remarks

HELLOOOOO EVERYONE! WELCOME to the new folks and WELCOME back to everyone who was with us yesterday.  Thank you all for being here.

For the folks who were not with us yesterday. My name is Praveen Madan and for my day job I work at Kepler’s Bookstore in Menlo Park, California. 

It was wonderful to see all the energizing conversations yesterday.   If you weren’t here yesterday, you can see the write-ups this morning in Shelf and PW Daily. We are expecting another great turn out today. We had many people on the waitlist and we have been working hard behind the scenes to make it possible for them to participate.

Review again the PURPOSE – The Overarching Question we have proposed for this gathering

How can we reimagine bookstores… to deepen literacy, strengthen our communities, and pay decent living wages to our employees?

I would like to share a few reflections from yesterday – one self-disclosure/ observation and three provocations.

One self-disclosure: Asking for Help!

  • I have found and learned that it’s ok to ask for help. It’s actually more than ok, it’s a critical leadership skill to know when to ask for help, who to ask, and how to ask. I think it’s especially hard for men and certainly didn’t come easy to me. And I am still learning. But I am better at it today than I was ten years ago. Example? This gathering!! The reason I am saying this is because it seems to me that bookstores (their owners, leaders) can get better at asking for help!

Three provocations:

  1. Bookstores that embrace this new model we are evangelizing will do better in the future. What’s the new model – bookstores are a social cause, they are good for the community. We try harder to become the centers of community life. We get better at asking for help – we ask our communities to fund us, to advise us, and even provide governance through a board of directors. As part of this, we embrace new legal and business models like nonprofits, hybrids, and cooperatives.
  2. Living Wages – This is the issue that keeps me up at night! The current situation in most bookstores can only be described as Institutionalized Poverty. We can do better. We must do better. I am convinced we can do a lot.
  3. We have to stop expecting someone is going to come to our rescue – there are many versions of this fantasy – publishers, government, ABA. The essence of Open Space is an invitation and a process for people to self-organize on what matters to them. So, let’s try to walk away with what we are ready to do ourselves. There is tremendous energy and talent here – let’s help ourselves and each other.

I would love to see a community of people who want to work together on these issues and more. We hope this gathering is a starting point. But it is really going to be up to all of you!

This is an experiment

We have been blown away by the enthusiastic response to our invitation. Yesterday was and today is a big experiment. Let’s continue treating this like an adventure we are on together. We ask for your patience and understanding as work through the largest Open Space gathering ever done online.


Let’s have some fun, Let’s have some energizing conversations, Let’s create some change!

What came in on the midnight express?

Antonia: I woke in the middle of the night and thought, we had energizing conversation that I loved. It was all about what others can do for us. I thought, that’s not helpful. How do we address that today? 

Julie: I’m a customer. I didn’t realize how dire the situation was. I admire Praveen and others coming together to fix it.

Christie: realized, attracted other long time professionals. I suddenly conceptualized us as deep state of book industry. Hard to imagine something different. We hold history, norms. I woke with sense of how that experience can hold us back. Not sure of solution.

From Bradley Jones / Morgan Hill BookSmart Boss 1.5k sq ft – We need big ideas, a paradigm shift. Not incremental change.

From Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction (Greenville, SC) – Very true @christie. Re-imagining is hard work the more experience you have 🙂

From Susan C she/her The Book Keeper – Yes, it is a complete re-imagining of the business model. It will have to start with us, the booksellers and we will have to “sell” it to our communities.

What are you curious about if you are new today?

Jessica: How ideas will be put forth to move forward while we continue to do what we do and take action.

Hannah: Last question echos for me. At smaller store w/less privilege. Impressed by what is happening outside traditional, deep state. Black bookstores, not for profit, how do others learn from those who have been doing this work for a long time?

From Laura Larson/Odyssey Bookstore – are there are any industries we 

From Melissa DeMotte Bookstore Leader CDA, Idaho to Everyone:  09:19 AM

Conversation around living wages & a different business model to accomplish great things in our communities!

From Jamie Fiocco-Flyleaf Bks-NC to Everyone:  09:19 AM

yesterday did we glimpse the beginning of this industry tearing down norms and reinventing ourselves? keeping the good…?

From Elayna Trucker, Napa Bookmine, Bookstore Leader to Everyone:  09:19 AM

I always think of records when I think of disrupted industries that bounced back

From Kevin Smokler, Author/Booksmith OG (SF, CA) to Everyone:  09:19 AM

@laura Record stores do a great job of working together through similar great changes

From Margie Franzen, Wanderlust Bookshop to Everyone:  09:20 AM

I would say hospitality / hotels & airbnb etc. is an example of reimagining

From Kim – Third Place Books | Seattle, WA to Everyone:  09:20 AM


From Steve Wax, Board Chair Heyday books, Sebastopol, – How can indie booksellers and indie book publishers can work together — to accomplish Praveen’s 3 provocations.

October 19 Closing

High Points spoken

  • Valuable both thematically and practically how to run warm human electronic events. We’ll post some Open Space resources (how tos)
  • How incredible to be in this community with everyone, even as we are all so busy. To imagine and dream together, especially how practical we are. Change the trajectory of the industry. Hope
  • Praveen’s reminder – learning to ask for  help. The idea of working with your local community, through bookstagram, other non profits/literary orgs to adopt your bookstore. 
  • Thinking some author ought to write about this event. Get a graphic novel out of it. Thank you. 
  • These forms of Open Space/Unconference. Participated in more of them in the public library world (basic way of working/imagining the future). How different they feel from 10 years ago, adaptability to their communities. This kind of process is connected to making change fast with like minded communities across the country. Stay connected and keep doing the work.
  • It’s possible that this event is one of a number of indications that we are into a new kind of golden age of independent bookstores. New models, new ways of connecting/reaching out. Story in Publisher’s Weekly about another pandemic surprise – indy bookstores on the rise. Flourishing, expanding, starting. This event shows there is a deep and broad range of imagination, ideas, passion and connections to propel that. 
  • Ideas for what partnerships could look like for community bookstores. Looking around we are in a world hungry for partnerships. 
  • Perhaps publishers helping bookstores with events. Publishers benefit from marketing, need to help bookstores with marketing. 

Partnerships – that is how the Bay Area book festival was created and sustained. In “dark” periods of not bringing events, I’d like to share your events. Brings exciting things to our audience. We would partner with bookstores virtually. Win win win.


From chat

  • Just want to say that I really appreciate the landing page, with all the links we could ever need – as an events organizer, it made me rethink our landing pages for these kinds of events!
  • So rewarding to connect to book sellers. Love all of you
  • List of topics assembled
  • From Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction (Greenville, SC) – I think it would be helpful if the organizers could go through the agendas and notes from both days and create a core set of topics/ideas that came up during the 2 days.
    • From Veronica Liu :: she/her :: Word Up Community Bookshop – I could do that with someone/a group
    • From Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction (Greenville, SC) – Veronica, maybe book it as a working meeting on the bulletin board and I’ll join you if I can.
    • @Veronica, @Anna and @Evan to form a team for notes/lists compilation (check Chat)
  • Brad: Appreciate what Praveen has gotten started
  • Praveen: the whole team
  • Cherilyn: You made this work. Big thank you
  • Nialle Sylvan –  would like to participate in an asynchronous discussion about the lessons of the pandemic, especially technology. Also I would love to share ideas about community reading rooms; bookstore support for authors (space to write, writing group); and clubs other than book clubs
  • Big ups to Praveen!!!
  • Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction (Greenville, SC) -hear hear
  • Jamie Fiocco-Flyleaf Bks-NC – yes, thanks Praveen and the team!
  • Julie O’Mara Yes. thanks you all
  •  Cherilyn Parsons   You’ll share ALL these chat links in the follow-up email? There’s a thicket of links!
  •  Ruth Liebmann NYC PRH publisher  High five to Praveen and everyone who helped make the magic happen!
  •  Tanya Mills  Thanks to all of you!
  •  Pat Mullins Bliss Books and Bindery Stillwater OK co-owner Thanks to all the hosts and organizers
  •  Jamilah – House Of Pages Bookstore   Agreed! Thank you all
  •  Kendra Armer (she, her) | Reader | SF Bay Area   Thank you to Praveen and all the planning team!
  •  Jyo Maan – HOST, IA  Looks like @Veronia, @Anna and @Evan forming a notes/list team
  •  Christie Olson Day  thank you thank you
  •  Kelly Justice/Fountain Bookstore (she/her) This makes me feel hopeful for the future.
  •  Tanya Mills True
  •  Latanya Devaughn  Same @Kelly
  •  Melissa DeMotte Well Read Moose CDA,ID  Engergizing & empowering – thank you all for making this happen!!
  •  Jamie Fiocco-Flyleaf Bks-NC   yes @Kelly
  •  Nialle Sylvan  Does anyone know if ABA or other organizations has data or white papers on what bookstores do for economic development, or why giving us controlled rent is a good investment?
  •  Andy Hunter The BA in the UK did a study:
  •  Jamie Fiocco-Flyleaf Bks-NC@Nialle yes.. Look also at ILSR
  •  Roy – Rozzie Bound  Great job, everyone!  I love that you made room for open and shared leadership.
  •  Ben Roberts HOST Newtown, Speak for yourself, Peggy!
  •  Alex Green    ABA has said they’re doing a big data push starting around Jan 1 as well @nialle
  •  Rebekah Shoaf (she/her)  I learned a lot over these 2 days about how to design and facilitate warm, democratic, purposeful, efficient virtual gatherings
  •   Latanya Devaughn This was such a clean event I agree
  •  Nialle Sylvan thx Jamie
  •  Alex Green ABA has said they’re doing a big data push starting around Jan 1 as well @nialle
  •  Nialle Sylvan  and thanks Andy and Alex
  •  Jamie Fiocco-Flyleaf Bks-NC @Nialle I meant ILSR
  •  Roy – Rozzie Bound @Rebekah agree!
  •  Maryelizabeth Yturralde –  Agreed, @Rebekah!
  •  Denise Collazo  Shout out to @Steve Piersanti!  The BIG Kahuna!!  Good to see you.
  •  Roy – Rozzie Bound Yes, with our coop members!
  •  Ben Roberts HOST Newtown, CT he/him Open Space works really well in person too!  (COVID nothwithstanding)
  •  Tanya Mills   Good!
  •  Broche (she) /bruh-kuh/ Sourcebooks/River Dog Book Co.   @Nialle: Here’s that Harvard Business School white paper:  a couple of years ago.
  •  Julie O’Mara Agree with Steve — this opens the door to hosting meetings like this.  Good job
  •  Kristin Hall  Virtual OpenSpace instructions would be great, thank you!
  •  Roy – Rozzie Bound I would love to see the Stewardshop Council explore the use of Sociocracy, a form of consent based decision making
  •  Peggy Holman, HOST, Seattle – Coast Salish lands, she/her  Some information on Open Space
  •  Ben Roberts HOST Newtown,  We’re on the Sociocracy bandwagon, @Roy
  •  Steve Wax Board Chair Heyday Books Publisher Evan, Cherilyn, Kelly Margo & I talked about a better approach to event promotion, production.
  •  Roy – Rozzie Bound   @Ben – Nice!  I have found it both effective and humanizing.
  • Zoom, the Novel!
  •  Ben Roberts HOST Newtown, CT he/him I produced a video about applying Sociocracy in a networked context @Roy, which you might find interesting.
  •  Nialle Sylvan   I would like to participate in an asynchronous discussion about the lessons of the pandemic, especially technology. Also I would love to share ideas about community reading rooms; bookstore support for authors (space to write, writing group); and clubs other than book clubs
  •  Anna Brown, Katy Budget Books, Katy, TX  @Nialle I love all of that!
  •  Ben Roberts HOST Newtown, CT he/him Only asynchronous, @Nialle?
  •  Nialle Sylvan   asynchronous is the only way I can host, with a 5mo baby, but I would go to a live discussion!!!
  •  Ben Roberts HOST Newtown, CT he/him If it wasn’t clear, the Bulletin Board is for organizing more LIVE conversations (primarily).  And we have the email group for asynch. If you need help hosting a live event, we can talk about that too.
  •  Julie O’Mara Theres southing bigger than all of us happening now.
  •  Ben Roberts HOST Newtown, We have Zoom lines available, and a cadre of experienced hosts
  •  Nialle Sylvan  thanks Ben. And yes to Paul, let’s organize our best practices for reaching out to potential partners
  •  Jamie Fiocco-Flyleaf Bks-NC   Thank you so much for organizing and running this, it’s been a great two days of discussion. I have to leave a few minutes early so goodbye!
  •  Ben Roberts HOST Newtown, Bye Jamie
  •  John Perkins   to hosts: could this section get recorded?
  •  Ben Roberts HOST Newtown, We’re taking notes John
  •  Nialle Sylvan   Yes! CPB for bookstore events!
  •  Cynthia St John   I loved learning what 3rd place books is doing with the money that they started collecting for kids during the pandemic, I donate to it everytime I order books and now that Iv
  •  Veronica Liu :: she/her :: Word Up Community Bookshop @Jill @Anna @Evan – I posted a Doodle poll in a bulletin board submission, but we can add dates/times if none of those work for you, for next week. And others, feel free to also vote on the Doodle poll! [For others: this is in reference to this post above: “I think it would be helpful if the organizers could go through the agendas and notes from both days and create a core set of topics/ideas that came up during the 2 days.”
  •  Cynthia St John ‘ve learned it’s successful I’ll continue
  •  Len Vlahos   I have to sign off… but thanks to the organizers, and thanks to everyone in Cohort C!
  •  Antonia Squire Bridport UK Bookseller she/her   Bye Len, it was great see you
  •  Jim Bean Anthology POS   Traverse City, MI Has been a very productive event.  Looking forward to a continued collaboration to find the path forward for independent bookselling.
  •  Jyo Maan – HOST, IA  thank you @Veronica – radical action here – CLAPS 🙂
  •  Art Scott   🐬🐬🐬thanks

CLOSING QUESTION: What is something that will stay with you from this experience?

Respond with a brief phrase in chat.

  • Evan-HELP-Oakland, CA-events+publishing (he/him) – Hope
  • Denise Collazo – Think together
  • Helen C. (she/her) Owner /Stories Like Me , Pittsburgh – I am not alone
  • Rebekah Shoaf (she/her) Boogie Down Books – Do more of what you love
  • Art Scott – Active hope
  • Ben Roberts HOST Newtown, CT he/him – 42 is 42!
  • Jessica Stockton-Bagnulo (she/her) Greenlight Bookstore –  This is a story of “and” not “or”
  • Stephanie Denton, Kepler’s Books, SF Bay Area –   We’re not alone
  • David Goldberg, Boston, Steerforth Press – The possibility of progress on all fronts
  • Paul Wright SF Bay Area – Imagination unleashed!
  • Jasmine Valandani, she/her, bookseller, Kepler’s Books – collectively we have all the resources we need
  • Kendra Armer (she, her) | Reader | SF Bay Area – Building communities
  • Cindy Sumida-Scott, Reader, SF Bay Area – Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • Kristin Hall –  Excitement
  • Marissa MI R & B Books – community
  • Tanya Mills –   Don’t be afraid to risk
  • Kim Patch, Rozzie Bound, Boston – Strong community of booksellers interested and invested in creating strong local communities
  • John Leary  Hachette Book Group – this is a vibrant community
  • Christie Olson Day –  set priorities
  • Lanora Haradon – There is power in collective and diverse voices
  • Antonia Squire Bridport UK Bookseller she/her –  Radical Democracy is the
  • only way forward
  • Steve Wax Board Chair Heyday Books Publisher –  Thank you so much! While this event was primarily to benefit indie bookstores, it was a powerful experience for indie
  • publishers as well❗
  • Cherilyn Parsons –  New connections and deepening previous ones! So
  • helpful and motivating. WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER.
  •  Michelle Ferrier-HOST-USA Garden –  May you remember those who passed on
  • to you the seeds of their dreams so you might grow.—Dawna Markova
  • Bradley Jones / Morgan Hill BookSmart Boss 1.5k sq ft –  Determination to succeed!
  • Donna Liu | Kepler’s bookseller (she/her) –  Booksellers are rad people.
  • Jhoanna/Long Beach CA, bkstr leader @belcantobooks (she/her) – Invite conversation/collaboration
  • Kristin Hall –  Purpose
  • Maryelizabeth Yturralde – We are hungry for sustainable ways to do what we love.
  • Cindy Sumida-Scott, Reader, SF Bay Area – partnerships are key
  • Evan-HELP-Oakland, CA-events+publishing (he/him) – Creative collaborations can benefit all involved parties
  • Vanessa – SF Bay Area – Author (she/her) (V. MacLaren-Wray) – Value your work
  • Anna Brown, Katy Budget Books, Katy, TX – Booksellers are such a passionate group
  • deb leonard-Literati Bookstore –  This will actually spur us to making
  • changes, instead of just talking about it!
  • Amanda Hall- KEPLERS BOOKS – change feels more possible when working together   
  • Julie O’Mara –  That it’s critical important that we solve this issue. Bookstore are too important to fail.
  • Denise Collazo –  Collective brilliance
  • Missy – Katy Budget Books – Change is scary but necessary
  • ohanna Vondeling -Berrett-Koehler Publishers – she/hers – Escape “deep state” thinking! ~Christie Olson Day
  • Kelly Stromberg she/her –  keep trying new things
  • Esme, she/they, Asheville, Firestorm Books and Coffee, Co-Owner, -the magic of anti hierarchical organizing!
  • Jessica P. (she/her) Once Upon a Time –  Book love builds support
  • Nialle Sylvan – we are too DIVERSE to fail
  • Ben Roberts HOST Newtown, CT he/him –  Sociocracy for all!
  • Cherilyn Parsons –   I think we also need an in-person cocktail party.
  • Jyo Maan – HOST, IA –  If we look for questions, we will find the question if we look for answers, we will find the answer  if we look for hope, hope will find us. – Jyo Maan, Oct 19, 2021 🙂
  • Art Scott  puamana 🌼 flower spirit
  • Kelly Justice/Fountain Bookstore (she/her) Missing in-person desperately, but deeply grateful for the many opportunities that virtual provides.
  • Michele Caprario/writer/former book seller❤️ Passion + Authentic Community = Right Progress
  • Steve Wax Board Chair Heyday Books Publisher I can see more  clearly now! 
  • Cherilyn Parsons – In hearing about this gathering, at first I thought yikes, 6 hours out of the work week! But I’m SO GLAD I particpated. I’ll miss all of you! 😀
  • Julie O’Mara –  Yes I would like to do this in the 
  • Tanya Mills –  I could see doing this once or twice a year.
  • Kelly J Maan – HOST, IA – Please use Chat to say YES here too
  • John Perkins – yes
  • Lisa – Buffalo Street Books – Hopefully the bulletin board will help us do more of
  • this with specific goals moving forward
  • Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction (Greenville, SC) –  yes, every 6 months would be great
  • Denise Collazo – yes
  • Anna Brown, Katy Budget Books, Katy, TX –  Yes
  • Roy – Rozzie Bound -👍 2x year
  • Broche (she) /bruh-kuh/ Sourcebooks/River Dog Book Co. –  I’m in!
  • Helen C. (she/her) Owner /Stories Like Me , Pittsburgh –  Yes – 2 x per year
  • Kim Patch, Rozzie Bound, Boston –  Yes
  • IBID – yes
  • Bradley Jones / Morgan Hill BookSmart Boss 1.5k sq ft – 2 x a year
  • Antonia Squire Bridport UK Bookseller she/her – Yes
  • deb leonard-Literati Bookstore – yes
  • Dan Gilbert Yes — twice per year
  • Susan C she/her The Book Keeper – Yes, more of this please! Now that we know what we are doing and know what a wealth of great ideas and fellowship can be found here, I’d come back to this table anytime/many times.
  • Cherilyn Parsons – YES – 2x/yr or quarterly
  • Sandra: Reality is a seamless whole. Striving for wholeness is a healthy thing to do. That’s what we’re doing here.
  • Elise: How alive and well, though sometimes strained, partnership is