The WordStock meeting
One reason for attending NEBA is to have a meeting with the WordStock people who are developing a new on-line approach to gaining some control over the FRF process. It is anticipated that the system will be complete enough that it can be explained to your ExecSec. You will recall that the hope was expressed that frontlist ordering and tracking on the web would be ready for review by October 1, and it now appears that such will be the case. Obviously, you’ll be hearing a lot more about this before the Spring 2001 disks are underway, but for now you should be aware that matters are progressing.
The regional booksellers’ meetings begin this weekend and extend for about a month across the various parts of the country. On the NAIPR website (www.naipr.org) you’ll find a listing of most of the important information for most of the meetings. By the time you read this, the Mid-South meeting in New Orleans will have ended. Next weekend, Spokane hosts the Pacific Northwest meeting.
Three major meetings are scheduled for the weekend of September 22-24: the Southeast Association will be in Atlanta; the Upper Midwest Association will meet in St. Paul; and the New England group will return to Boston, the only meeting which your correspondent plans to attend, given budgetary constraints. The Great Lakes Association will meet in Toledo from September 29 to October 1; and the Northern California Association will be in Oakland October 6-8.This may all seem repetitive, but given the opportunity to see so many of your suppliers and your customers in one place at one time, it seems to me to be important enough to risk repetitiveness in this reminder.
In line with the above, a major presentation is already in the planning stage for the December meeting, which will be held in NYC on Sunday evening, December 3rd. Please mark the date on your sales-meeting calendars because this meeting will be an important one for useful information. We only get a shot at a full exchange of information twice a year, and the more people attend, the better the results.
Responses to our invoices have begun to arrive, pouring in from reps and trickling in from publishers. More specifically, 75% of the rep groups have already sent checks for the costs of the diskettes they distributed for Fall 2000; while only 25% of publishers have. The cash flow, as a percent of total billings, is about on par with last season, but of course hope springs eternal
Thanks to all of you who sent valuable advice to combat the slug plague mentioned last month. Most of it revolved around the use of beer, some even being brand-specific. However, you’ll be relieved to know that the weather has cooperated by drying up, and nary a slug has been spotted in a couple of weeks.
However, and there’s always a ‘however’ to be found, I present for your delectation something I’ll bet you haven’t heard of before: Every two or three years, the oak trees around here produce a bumper crop of acorns; and this is the year, as the old punch line goes. Despite this being The Pine Tree State, our forested ‘yard’, with the majority tree by far being the oak, has become a designated hard-hat area this year. Overhanging the front of the house is a very large Northern Red Oak, and every time an errant breeze blows through off the ocean, it sounds as though we’re living at the business end of a rifle range when those missiles hit the roof, and especially the roof windows. Take a nap? One can only pray for perfect calm. Now, as we say in Maine, ain’t that wicked peculiar?