a NOTE FROM Bookmanager
President mICHAEL Neill


What a weekend! Between the education, lunches, debates and socials, I think I can speak for most everyone - that was a whole lotta fun and brain exercise packed into two-and-a-half days and three evenings. I hope the post-event wine tours helped you relax after an otherwise super-pumped-up enthusiasm-filled event.

The gangs all here - up bright and early on Day 1 of BMA.

Your comments from the reports cards were extremely valuable and overwhelmingly positive. We may have tried to cover too much ground in such a short time-frame, but you should have gained a ton of ideas. We had some great topics that could have been expanded with more breathing room.  BMA could easily have been a three or four day event with some topics split up in order to focus better on niches.  Or, it could be done annually, if the time and money for travel was affordable (and if our small crew here was crazy enough).

On the social front, OMG this gang still likes to party! Thursday night at the pub, Friday night at Hanna's, and then Saturday at Mosaic... yikes, you are a resilient group that still managed to show up on time for the 8:30am sessions. It was also a positive sign to see a growing younger demographic mingle with the elders and lead them astray.

Big smiles from the ladies at Black Bond Books, enjoying the Usborne houseboat tour.

Peter Hill-Field, Iolanda Millar, and Carey Low from Canadian Manda Group celebrating at their 40th anniversary party. Some Michael Jackson got the party going and everyone dancing.

Booksellers enjoying the view and vines at Tantalus Winery on Raincoast's wine tour.

All said, I think the mission was accomplished. Our primary goal was to try and fill an industry gap by creating the opportunity for booksellers, and their suppliers, to meet face-to-face. I was very impressed with the professional and positive dialog between everyone, including discussions on more sensitive and troubling issues. Kudos to all.

Diana and I met with over twenty publishers and reps for three hours on Sunday morning. It was wonderful to see competing companies show each other mutual respect and focus on common ground. The interest in independent booksellers seemed especially strong this year, and they were all eager to continue supporting and improving the tools we build for booksellers. Lots of new ideas here. Of course, it was your presence and participation that was essential for them to recognize your passion and optimism. Not everyone is able to attend these gatherings, but we have all directly (and indirectly) benefited from the 150 or so people attending BMA 2017.

Having a laugh at the Publisher's Panel on Day 2 of BMA.

Great discussions at the Round Table session on Day 1 of BMA.

Would we change things IF we have the guts to do this again (a.k.a. asking a mother after delivery if she wants to do it again)? Suggestions included: Use risers so panelists could be better seen and speak more (thanks again to our volunteers!). Allow more time in between sessions for one-on-one dialog. More Q&A time. Eliminating or separating topics of specialized interest.  My enthusiasm, speed, and intensity?...not sure what can be done there, ha!

Caught gramming! (Instagramming) Samara from Otter Books "book facing" Trevor from Bookmanager. See the final photo here.


Finally, and of significant importance, this event gave Bookmanager an enormous amount of feedback to continue moving forward in the right directions. Your industry optimism was genuine and contagious.

BMA 2017 involved countless hours by the semi-unprofessionals who put this together (we are after all, a software/bookstore company) but this would not have been possible without the significant financial support provided by your suppliers. This was by no means cheap (or for-profit), and everyone, including booksellers, pooled their time and resources to build a stronger independent community and book industry.

Thank you all for coming to Kelowna!
Michael Neill    

Penguin Random House's cocktail party was a ton of fun! Here's the Bookmanager team from left to right: Kristi, Trevor, Quintin, Diana, Melissa, Carley, Eric, Kellynda, and Michael - (not pictured Mike B.)

Big thanks to the Penguin Random House team for sponsoring such a fun party! From left to right: Carol Greenwood, Mary Giuliano, author Michael Redhill (his newest book Bellevue Square comes out this Fall), Jennifer Fyffe, and Robert Wheaton.

Diana making friends with the Lilah and Ill from Pegasus Books in Berkley, CA.

The lovely Shelley and Rebecca from Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge, ON.

What would have we done without all of your help!?! High fives to the best staff in the whole world, the gals from our own bookstore Mosaic Books! From left to right: Nicole, Erin, Britt, Gaisha, Cassidy, Alicia, Madisyn and Michele.

3/4 of the Neill Family... way to make it awkward Michele and Michael (haha).