by Lynn Wienck, The Chisholm Trail Bookstore
After several very warm days, I thought summer had arrived, but no, lower temperatures have returned. The rain has returned as well. It’s pleasant and surprising. All vegetation has gone various shades of green and wild. The days have been slightly hazy and humid. Small frogs, tiny frogs hop everywhere. They are a pleasure to watch. Do they play leapfrog?
Still Life with Bottle: Whisky according to Ralph Steadman, (1994) is the author’s more-than-slightly convoluted history of whiskey. It is, of course, accompanied by his own satirical illustrations. His humor is quite dry; he accomplishes the mot juste. There’s much world history detail with particular emphasis on Scotland and Scotland’s many characters. Some phrases and traditions may be unfamiliar; not to worry, as the flavor and intent is informative, clever, and very clear. For an overview, gaze at the busy, dizzy pictures and read the headings at the top of every few pages. This book is joyful, a little manic and best in short readings, but joyful.
Coming soon, but not yet in hand is the Devil’s Dictionary written by Ambrose Bierce in the last century and illustrated by Ralph Steadman in this century. Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) remains known for his scathing, pointed, blazing, and satirical commentary. This tome – originally titled Cynic’s Word Book (1906), later published as Devil’s Dictionary (1911), Ralph Steadman illustrated edition (2003) – is Ambrose Bierce’s own abrasive attitude lexicon-dictionary. Ralph Steadman with his equally pointed illustrations should provide fine, merry, fitting tunes to the words. I’m looking forward to a rather perfect symphony. If words make music, then so do pictures.
Enough of the musing. It’s into the rain, and perhaps, more rain for several days. It’s not too cold, not too hot, but just right, and the rain is gentle. Watch the clouds roll in; watch the clouds roll out; watch the wee frogs hop, hop, hop. It’s a pleasant respite from the soon-to-come summer heat.
If you are reading this, you know that, after a long period of anticipation and preparation, the new and improved IOBA.org website is now live.
As functional as it is attractive, the new site as developed by Mika Babcock and his team at Foreseeing Solutions has several exciting new features. Some are visible, and some are behind the curtain. Let us introduce you:
Each bookseller now has the ability – and the responsibility – to edit their own profile, including one image that can be a logo or photo, a tagline, specialties, member-to-member discount rate and terms, and a few other informative fields. The member directory, viewable by the public, includes a link to a member profile for each bookseller that reflects those inputs. The member-to-member discount page, viewable by members, reflects the member-to-member discount as entered by each bookseller. This is all driven by a custom database; updates made by each bookseller are effective immediately.
Every page of the new IOBA.org website now includes a search box linked to IOBA Books; at the top on the home page, at the bottom elsewhere. When editing their member profile, participating booksellers can enter their IOBAbooks dealer ID. Once that bit (or byte) of data is provided the IOBAbooks search box will be shown on the publicly viewable member profile, and searches that specific bookseller’s listings on IOBAbooks.
Within the next day or two, each member will receive an email generated by the site with a username and temporary password. (Please note that the old global username/password will not work here, wait for the email from firstname.lastname@example.org.) Initial log-in will prompt for a user-defined password and security question/answer. Once completed, the new Member Area consists of member profile options front and center, with member-only page links to the right. Members are urged to edit their “bookseller profile,” this is the profile data that in turn populates the member profile including the member-specific IOBA search and the discount page. The username is assigned by the site; you may also want to change this to something easily remembered. In the eventual case that you forget your username or password, the log-in page now includes links to reset, leading again to an “initial” log-in.
We would like to thank first the members of IOBA for their patience and understanding while waiting for this new site to become available. Thanks also go to Rayburn Taylor, former IOBA member and web developer, who developed and supported the original ioba.org site for many years. To Mark Gaulding, the previous Internet Committee Chair, who developed a clear and comprehensive set of goals for a new site. Finally, thanks to Mika Babcock of Foreseeing Solutions for developing the new site while the volunteer staff at IOBA shifted roles and slowly responded to development issues that needed resolution. It must be a challenge to be a full-time professional developer serving a many-headed volunteer organization.
Problems / Questions / Suggestions
Please send email regarding any problems, suggestions, inconsistencies found, etc. to webmaster at ioba.org
IOBA Internet Committee Chair and Member at Large
My name is Bruce Bell and as Chair of the IOBAbooks Committee I thought I should keep you, our members, informed of the committee’s work. Over the coming months the IOBAbooks committee is going to begin a programme of changes to the IOBAbooks site. These changes are based on a number of things we believe about IOBAbooks.
- As the only trade body aimed at ‘online’ sellers the IOBA should have the best possible (if not the best) online sales portal.
- Most of us lack the resources (time/knowledge/technical know-how/finance) to create our own, truly effective, web presence, but collectively we can do just that.
- The IOBAbooks site should be more than simply a sales venue for our members. It should also be a means of promoting the IOBA and of promoting the businesses of our members.
- The IOBAbooks site should serve as an educational resource for members developing their own site – we’ll share with you what’s working and what’s not and, if we think we know them, the reasons why.
- IOBAbooks needs to be radically different. Lots of small venues have come and gone. If we do what they did we’ll end up where they ended up.
- Central to all this is moving the site from a search based model toward a browsing model. At some point I shall say more about this but for now all I shall add is that I want visitors to our site to browse the books we do have, not search for something we very well might not have.
So what are you going to see?
In the very short term we intend to make a few, pretty crude, changes to the front page. These changes are a stop-gap measure while we work on a full redesign and are aimed at reducing the site’s bounce rate. As we make these changes we’ll publish to this list regular analytics reports. This will give both you and us an insight into what’s working and what’s not and, we hope, why.
Going forward the site will be redesigned. The brief for that is that we want a site that is engaging and interactive and which encourages browsing (we will not be removing any of the search functionality from the site). Obviously engaging and interactive suggests things to interact with and to be engaged by. This is where you all come in. How far we can get with any of this will depend on how involved we can encourage you to be.
One of the things the committee is working hardest on is finding ways to involve the membership in the site. This is about us helping you to help us to promote your books and your business. But all that is in the future.
For now if anyone would like to get involved (those with ideas about marketing, driving traffic etc might be especially welcome on the committee), has ideas on or questions about what we’re doing, then please feel free to contact me email@example.com
Our goal: create a video archive of relevant, business building topics
Quarterly, IOBA will host a video contest for timely, teachable facets of the book business.
Our topic this round: Grading
Our plan: Share your expertise and time-honored tips with the membership, and win prizes.
Watch this small informational video on our new IOBA youtube channel.
Subscribe to the channel to stay in the loop when new videos are uploaded!
Maybe next Oscar night, we’ll see you! 😉
Little Sages Books
Education Chair, IOBA