This booth, One Associated, probably caused the biggest buzz at the convention. It's no surprise to anyone that the LDS publishing industry is struggling. Independent bookstores are finding it harder to stock their shelves and make ends meet. And you've certainly heard me rant about the unbelievably small profit margins in a niche market like ours. Many of us have been trying to come up with ways to make the situation better for all involved. This company may have just hit upon a solution.
As I understand it (and I hope I don't misrepresent them here), One Associated is a profit sharing situation where bookstores and vendors work together in a win/win situation. Bookstores give a little on some points. Vendors give a little on other points. And we all profit. It's based upon a point of sale register and software program that automates a huge portion of the ordering and inventory process and creates reports that will help the vendor support the bookstores.
One Associated's booth was set up like a mini-store and they showed how the process would work in a real store. They also had training meetings throughout the day to explain how it all works. And they gave away cool pins, water bottles and squeeze balls. That alone makes them a star in my book.
Seriously, I think this idea has some real potential. It will be interesting to see how it works out.