Bookseller’s Association Conference

This year’s Bookseller’s Association Conference was held at Warwick University. It was dominated by the Books Are My Bag [BAGM] initiative that was launched to the industry at this year’s London Book Fair and to the public on 14th September. Patrick Neale, current President of the BA, congratulated everyone who spent time on making this initiative, the key facet of which is to celebrate the local bookshop and demonstrate its importance to the community, so successful. Patrick informed the audience that across the country the average footfall in bookshops had increased by 17.4% and average sales had increased by 18.5%. As an aside, he mentioned that the day had ‘trended’ on social media. Booksellers agreed that it had ‘felt like Christmas’. The best thing about it, though, that it was just the start: the industry must carry on reinventing itself now, and not lose the momentum.

The Bookshop of the Future session featured three speakers. Jo Henry of Bowker Marketing took the lead. She revealed some of the data from Bowker’s Books and the Consumer tracker study, which has been developed through monthly interviews with 3,000 book buyers. Jo said that one of the things that the study has revealed is that last Christmas saw a marked consumer return to the printed book. E-books are now holding their share of the market, but it isn’t increasing. We are delighted to be able to announce that Jo has agreed to be one of the speakers at our From P to E Conference in November. Bill Bryson gave the keynote talk of the conference, which, as has become traditional at BA Conferences, was the concluding presentation. He was as witty and informative as always, and delegates enjoyed the added bonus of being able to take home a hardback copy of his latest book, One Summer: America 1927