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So you want to be a bookseller

One of the attractions at this year’s Canadian Booksellers Association booth is an advance display copy of The Canadian Bookselling Primer, a manual put together by CBA staff that will be available shortly for both members and non-members on a print-on-demand basis. (The list price for members is $19.99 and for non-members a steeper $49.99.). Other recent CBA initiatives include its first ABACUS survey, in which participating booksellers can measure their own financial performance against benchmarks created by averaging the results. “We have to get smarter,” says incoming CBA president Eleanor LeFave, owner of the Toronto children’s store Mabel’s Fables. LeFave says that during her term as president she’d also like to focus on support for marketing initiatives.

The CBA’s annual general meeting this year was by all accounts a quiet affair ocncerned mostly with housekeeping issues. At a members’ forum on Saturday, the principal concern was book prices in light of the ever-rising Canadian dollar. But LeFave says CBA boardmembers recently met with the Canadian Publishers’ Council (which represents foreign-owned companies with Canadian subsidiaries) and were pleased with the results. “It’s not a blame game – it’s about getting prices down,” said LeFave. “They’re really showing that they care.” Outgoing CBA president Steve Budnarchuk, owner of Edmonton’s Audreys Books, says list prices have dropped an average of 5% over the past year.