Winter Institute 2023 - Seattle - Part 1
This week, Laura and the Rebeccas (C and G) are in Seattle at Winter Institute. What is Winter Institute? It is four days of the largest gathering of Independent Booksellers in the United States. And 2023 is especially wonderful because it has not happened for the last 3 years. So what do thousands of booksellers do when they get together from all over the US?
Go visit bookstores, of course! Talk about books with other booksellers all the time. Learn about our industry and what issues are facing us. Meet with publishers and so many great authors to find out what your next best read is going to be. Network and visit with other stores of all sizes to see what issues we are all facing, what challenges lie ahead, and what successes have come since the last time we met. It is a chance to connect with old bookstore friends and meet new ones. Winter Institute is a vibrant and amazing place with great people and soooooo many books (we do not bring extra luggage for NOTHING!). And, of course, it is a chance for us to sit back and enjoy the amazing bookstore atmospheres that other stores have created. Each and every bookstore has its own "vibe" and seeing the people and places that they have created is awe inspiring to say the least.
On our first evening, we had an amazing welcoming cocktail party hosted by Elliott Bay Books. Good food, great books, and new and old friends alike reveled in this beautiful bookstore looking at everything from bookshelves to cookbooks. On my first full day (Rebecca G here), I got to visit 7 different bookstores in Seattle with 54 of my newest book loving friends from all over the US. We shared stories, book picks, and the amazing hospitality from Elliott Bay Books, University Bookstore, Third Place Ravenna (with a delicious coffee), Phinney's Bookshop, Secret Garden Books, and Queen Anne Books. I saw one of our own beloved Idaho author's (Cynthia Hand) books in the wild and gloated a little bit about that. WOW! What generous hospitality from our bookstore hosts and what a great way to spend an entire day (without anyone being antsy because they are "tired" of looking at books--as if). Top the day off with a stellar Welcome Reception with delicious food, a few drinks and a chance to make even more friends!
Not to lie, our days are packed full and we are busy busy busy, but surprisingly enough being together with other people who love books as much as we do is invigorating and energizing. We will come home armed with new ideas, new friends, and so many books to read and share. I will sign off for now. Got to run to a Publisher Dinner with Abrams Publishing, a Book Swap event, and then, top today off with a Celebrate Romance After Party. I love my job! Cheers for now! Read a good book,