Saturday, November 17, 2012

AAR/SBL, Day 1, part 2

Because AAR/SBL is in Chicago this year, we decided to bring as many staff up for a day or two as possible. Today, we had 5 extra people. Melody and Carina, two of our customer service people, Bev, one of our editors, Pam, our prepress manager, and Andy, our graphic artist, all came. Actually the first four came up Friday and spent the night. Andy caught an early train and got there a bit later.

Melody and Carina manned (personned??) the booth and did a great job. They enjoyed putting faces to the names they see every day. Bev and Pam met with people. Andy wandered around getting ideas, taking pictures (he's a great photographer), and deciding what he wanted to do differently for next year with our booth.

This year, we are trying some different things. First, we are paying the sales tax if you buy a book at the conference. Chicago tax is 9.5%, so that is essentially giving an extra 10% off. Second, if you decide to order the book at the conference, we are paying the shipping. Third, we are selling PDFs of our books. If you want the book and the PDF, we are only charging an extra $19.00—and you get the book on a 2 GB USB drive that says Eisenbrauns. How's that for a deal? And the PDF is DRM free...we call it our No Wait, No Weight sale—you don't have to wait for the book to be shipped and it doesn't add any weight to your suitcase.

Of course, we also are offering our new mug for free if you order or purchase $150 or more. If you want to buy the mug—and who wouldn't—it is only $9.95. A steal at twice the price :)

The rest of the day after my ASOR excursion was relatively uneventful. As always, I saw a lot of old friends, met some new ones, and had a good time pointing people to books that I thought would be helpful to them. That's the best part of the conference; it's all about the people and helping them find what they need.

The problem with where the conference is this year is that there is nothing in the area when it comes to restaurants. You have to drive or take a cab to everything. Tonight, we didn't want to go anywhere near downtown, so we looked for something relatively close. Someone, who shall remain nameless, found what sounded like a good place close by. So, after bidding the day trippers adieu, the remaining ones of us, except Andrew, whose wife and daughter were with him, loaded into Gina's vehicle and drove there. Turns out the place is a takeout only. No problem, so we thought. A quick Internet search revealed an alternative about a block away. So, we walked on over to what turned out to be another takeout only. Hmmm...back to the Internet. Back into the vehicle. We headed for an Italian restaurant that was nearby. Parked the vehicle, walked past a burger joint, a Subway and into the restaurant. An hour and a half wait! Not happening. So, we walked back past the Subway and the burger joint and went to a Thai restaurant that Jim had mentioned as being very good as we walked past it on the way to the Italian place.

It was very good. And cheap! Rare combinations, but welcome to our travel budget...While we were there, Dan checked his Facebook and saw that Andy had gone to a Greek restaurant before boarding the train and was having flaming cheese. Andy and I had gone to that restaurant at an AIA conference in Chicago several years ago. Unfortunately, he had misjudged his schedule and had to run to get his train before he could do more than have an appetizer. He always wanted to go back. Tonight he did...

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