Kansas City, Mo., International Airport opened to air traffic early Friday morning, which was good news for booksellers and publishers trying to get to Friday evening’s opening night reception at Union Station. The weather continued to be a topic of conversation and the circuitous routes that some booksellers took—the crew at Boswell Book Company drove eight hours from Milwaukee, with an overnight in Iowa City—others had no problems on regularly scheduled flights. There were just a few cancellations.
The lawsuit filed by three bookstores against Amazon and the big six, which broke earlier this week, not so much. “What lawsuit?” and “explain it to me” were common refrains from those unfamiliar with the class action suit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on February 15. Some thought “lawsuit” referred to the recent Macmillan settlement in the Department of Justice case.
Given the vibrancy of the reception and the gathering before hand in the bar at the Westin Hotel where the show is taking place, this could well be a strong Institute. In addition to many booksellers who make a point of coming each year, there were a number of first-time and would-be booksellers, including a couple considering opening a store in Philadelphia and a woman who will open a bookstore/wine bar in Denver this spring.
Despite mother nature’s best efforts, in the end the timing of the show could well be its strong point. Most booksellers were able to get in on Friday, and ABA only had to do a little tinkering to its schedule. Unfortunately, National Association of College Stores, which had already begun, had to cancel many of its smaller Friday sessions. All of its mega sessions are on track as is the trade show with 700 exhibitors, which runs from Saturday through Tuesday.