[OSList] Reimagining Bookstores
peggy at peggyholman.com
Mon Nov 1 09:45:21 PDT 2021
That’s great that you are sharing it. It seems the need is with bookstores everywhere. Praveen Madan, the bookstore owner who got this started, and I are talking to an editor at Buchreport in Germany later this week.
BTW, I had a typo in Sono’s last name in my original message. I missed the last letter. Her name is Hashisaki.
> On Oct 31, 2021, at 11:01 PM, Michael M Pannwitz via OSList <oslist at lists.openspacetech.org> wrote:
> Dear Peggy,
> will send this to my publisher and to some of the tiny bookstores in my neighborhood and to a local newspaper that covers neighborhoods in detail.
> What a grand undertaking!
> Am 31.10.2021 um 23:31 schrieb Peggy Holman via OSList:
> > On October 18 and 19, for three hours a day, I co-hosted an online Open
> > Space on Reimagining Bookstores <https://reimaginingbookstores.org> to
> > explore what it looks like when bookstores are centers of community life.
> > We had expected about 200 participants. When our registration pass 300
> > people, I was concerned that we’d spend too much time getting the
> > agenda set and the number of topics would be overwhelming for the time
> > and space we had. My tech host partner, Nancy White and I reached out
> > to Ben Roberts to rethink our approach. Nancy came up with the strategy
> > we used: after opening the space, we split into three cohorts to create
> > the agenda and hold the sessions. Ultimately, more than 600 people
> > registered and I’d guess about 350 people showed up over the two days.
> > We used Google docs and Zoom with a landing page that provided links to
> > Zoom, the agenda and session notes for the three cohorts so people could
> > view all their options. Even with a tech-challenged culture, people were
> > able to navigate it all.
> > We had a stellar team, with tech hosts Nancy, Ben, and Jyo Maan and as
> > process hosts, I enticed two friends to join me: Michelle Ferrier and
> > Sono Hashisak. Below is an article about the gathering. The writer
> > called it "one of the most invigorating gatherings on independent
> > bookselling in a generation.”
> > If you want to know more, just ask.
> > Peggy
> >> https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/87766-reimagining-bookstores.html
> >> <https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/87766-reimagining-bookstores.html>
> >> Reimagining Bookstores
> >> By Alex Green |
> >> Oct 29, 2021
> >> Reimagining Bookstore organizer Praveen Madan (l.), with author and
> >> consultant Peggy Holman.
> >> Earlier this month, Praveen Madan, CEO of Kepler’s Books in Menlo
> >> Park, Calif., delivered a dire series of observations to the attendees
> >> of Reimagining Bookstores, an online gathering of nearly 600
> >> booksellers and publishing professionals. Independent bookstores face
> >> multiple crises that threaten their existence, Madan said, ranging
> >> from declining literacy to unsustainably low employee wages that he
> >> characterized as “institutional poverty.”
> >> Then, before sending attendees into one of the most invigorating
> >> gatherings on independent bookselling in a generation, he offered warm
> >> encouragement: “Let’s have some fun. Let’s have some energizing
> >> conversation. Let’s go create some change.”
> >> Madan’s balancing act of pragmatism and optimism is what led him to
> >> purchase and revitalize Kepler’s, the nearly 70-year-old indie
> >> bookselling institution, in 2012. In the past nine years, he has
> >> transformed the store through creative partnerships—Kepler’s took over
> >> fulfillment for the community library when it closed at the outset of
> >> the pandemic—and by committing to implementing a living wage for
> >> employees.
> >> Those successes led Paul Wright, a board member of Berrett-Koehler
> >> Publishers, a Kepler’s Bay Area neighbor, to suggest last year that
> >> Madan convene booksellers to try to apply the same revitalization to
> >> its entire segment of the publishing industry.
> >> Madan wasn’t convinced. “In the beginning I was like, I don’t know,”
> >> he said.
> >> But instead of giving up, Wright took Madan’s reticence as a challenge
> >> to create a core group of potential participants, to persuade him to
> >> move from uncertainty to a firm yes. He started by introducing Madan
> >> to author and consultant Peggy Holman, whose work goes back to the
> >> earliest days of the internet and centers on “open space technology”
> >> (OST), a philosophy of creating intentional, nonhierarchical
> >> gatherings to address complex issues.
> >> Holman then introduced Madan to a squad of fellow OST adherents.
> >> Together, they said they were willing to help him organize everything
> >> he would need for participants to frame goals and generate ideas.
> >> Holman assured him that if he was prepared to start envisioning a new
> >> landscape of American bookselling, they could create and manage a
> >> simple framework for channeling the experience of hundreds of
> >> booksellers into the beginnings of a movement for change.
> >> The team’s enthusiasm persuaded Madan, who began sending out
> >> invitations to Reimagining Bookstores in mid-September, and by the
> >> first day of the gathering on October 18, the list had grown to nearly
> >> 600. Throughout the conference, participants split into groups,
> >> devising their own session topics geared toward creating new ways to
> >> combat endemic issues that have long hindered stability and growth in
> >> indie bookselling.
> >> In retrospect, Madan said, his initial reluctance mirrors a problem
> >> among indie booksellers. They are hesitant to ask for assistance.
> >> Speaking to the attendees on the second day of the conference, he
> >> said, “Bookstore owners and leaders can get better at asking for help,
> >> and they’re going to have to get better at asking for help in the
> >> future we are imagining here.”
> >> Madan acknowledged that what he is proposing is difficult. To succeed,
> >> he believes indie booksellers need to completely reorient public
> >> perception of what they offer, framing it as a social good that
> >> warrants an array of supports from individual customers, industry
> >> partners, and government leaders. At the same time, he is very
> >> skeptical that any of those stakeholders can be trusted to lead the
> >> effort to make the changes bookstores need.
> >> In a stark assessment, Madan told Reimagining Bookstores attendees
> >> that booksellers alone will have to take the steps to guide Americans
> >> toward embracing the importance of their place in their communities.
> >> “We really have to stop expecting that someone is going to come to our
> >> rescue,” he said. “There are many versions of this fantasy: publishers
> >> that are going to come rescue us, God is going to come rescue us, the
> >> American Booksellers Association is going to come rescue us.”
> >> Madan and his fellow organizers are also convinced that sustainable
> >> answers will only emerge if a diverse group of booksellers are at the
> >> forefront of sharing the ideas that lead to action. Time and again in
> >> the conference sessions, conversations appeared to affirm this
> >> sensibility. Participation and leadership by BIPOC and LGBTQ
> >> booksellers was notable, especially in a predominantly white industry.
> >> At Reimagining Bookstores, conversations generated radical ideas with
> >> potential, including a proposal for the creation of an independent
> >> bookstore fund to act as a lender in lieu of banks, which often deny
> >> booksellers—especially BIPOC booksellers—access to capital. And nearly
> >> two dozen industry professionals attended a session on creating an
> >> ongoing organizing committee to keep the discussion moving forward.
> >> For Madan, the key to success will be in resisting the creation of yet
> >> another single-solution mindset or a monolithic organization. “It’s
> >> not so much, to me, what//we are going to do as how, and the how is
> >> determined by the principles,” he said during the conference. “I think
> >> the reason the principles are so important is because we’re bringing a
> >> radically different set of them than what had been applied to this
> >> issue before.”
> >> Evan Karp, the only bookseller aside from Madan in the group’s
> >> organizing committee, said that the OST members’ enthusiasm for
> >> facilitating the event is a positive sign in and of itself—one that
> >> points to the potential for booksellers to create the radical change
> >> they need by drawing on broad communal support. What shape the effort
> >> will take from here is still an open question, but Madan plans to
> >> follow up with participants in the coming weeks, encouraging them to
> >> resist the pull to go back to business as usual. (Four new sessions
> >> have been scheduled for November so far, and four other leaders are
> >> looking for expressions of interest in their topics before scheduling
> >> meetings.)
> >> For Wright, whose enthusiasm sparked the idea to begin Reimagining
> >> Bookstores, the gathering was an affirmation that an ongoing effort is
> >> needed to ensure the long-term viability of independent bookselling.
> >> “I felt over the last two days the sense that community bookstores are
> >> one of the pillars this country stands on,” he said. “And whether
> >> their situation is dire—or as dire as we fear—I see them as
> >> institutions that must be protected for the sake of our larger society.”
> >> Reimagining Bookstore organizer Praveen Madan (l.), with author and
> >> consultant Peggy Holman.
> > ________________________________
> > Peggy Holman
> > Co-founder
> > Journalism That Matters
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> > www.peggyholman.com
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> Michael M Pannwitz
> Draisweg 1, 12209 Berlin, Germany
> +49 30 7728000 mmpannwitz at gmail.com
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