The last of the Winter Institute booksellers stranded by a snow storm in Kansas City after Wi8 concluded Monday evening seem to have finally made it home--or, are well on their way. The Twitter hashtag #Wi8 was still going strong late last night, as booksellers attending the event reported reaching their destinations after numerous flights out of Kansas City International Airport were canceled Tuesday.
While the second storm to hit the city in a week caused travel headaches for most people, it was not as devastating as last week’s blizzard, which hit the day before Wi8’s opening night reception. KCI remained open all day Tuesday, and some Wi8 attendees, including PW staff, were able to catch flights out of town without too many problems.
A number of booksellers discussed their travel woes on social media on Wednesday, many saying they had found a way out of Kansas City, either via plane or car. The word "finally" came up again and again in the status updates on Facebook and Twitter.
Carol Besse, the co-owner of Carmichael’s in Lexington, Ky., tweeted Wednesday evening: "I think we’re the last to leave KC. We’ll turn off the lights." Christie Olson Day, a bookseller at Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino, Calif., said: "Westin Kansas City to my front door. EXACTLY 14 hours. Last bookseller home?"
ABA CEO Oren Teicher, who reported to PW on Wednesday that he was en route to New York City "hopefully," after Tuesday's ABA Advisory Council meeting, said he thought "the key to the Institute's continued success is the extraordinary spirit and enthusiasm of the booksellers in attendance."
Teicher praised the good humor and resourcefulness of the stranded booksellers and publishers’ reps, who kicked off an unofficial extension of Wi8, which they dubbed Wi8.5 and Wi8.5.1. The acronym, Wi8.5, was originally coined by Teicher at the Monday morning Small & Independent Press Breakfast, when he advised the crowd that Wi8 would continue through Monday evening as previously scheduled., and joked that booksellers could continue the dialogue Tuesday with Wi8.5.