Winter Institute 2023 - Part 2
Wow! What a week! Nearly 2000 booksellers gathered from all over the US (and a few from abroad). After an amazing start with the bookstore tours, the week only continued to get better with publisher dinners (Thank you, Abrams, for an amazing dinner in a really unique venue.). And thank you to Meghan from Riverbend Books in Connecticut for a wonderful partnership event. I hope that everyone had fun and learned a lot about Professional Development. Our week also included a ton of great workshops and chances to connect with other booksellers and book stores. I attended workshops on Customer Service, Grant Writing, and Serving Communities by Creating Space and these were just a small segment of the offerings available.
We have so many things to talk about beyond the usually "bookish" chat and book recommendations. Publishers shared so many upcoming reads and book recommendations with us, we met and chatted with authors and got books signed. We attended a couple of after parties -- one for Romance authors (with ICE CREAM) and one with Kid's Graphic Novel authors and enjoyed much good food, great company, and so much book swag (bags, water bottles, and other goodies).
The book industry always has many issues to address from the effects of Amazon on authors, books, and bookstores to the book bannings that are affecting more and more states. Laura (our bookstore co-owner) sat on a Keynote panel on Book Banning with another bookstore owner from Norman, Oklahoma, a representative from the ACLU, and Gender Queer author Mia Kobabe, which rolled into an informative workshop on dealing with book bannings and shadow bans.
By the time we rounded out our week on Thursday, we all had about 100 pounds of Advanced Reader Copies to cram into our luggage and carryons, notebooks full of notes, handfuls of business cards, and a plethora of ideas to share with our colleagues. It is always such a wonderful experience to reconnect with old book friends and even nicer to meet new ones. I think that after the CoVid years with no Winter Institute, everyone was especially pleased to gather again and grateful for the connections that we made. So, until we meet again... Thank you ABA for an amazing conference.