To accommodate increased demand, the American Booksellers Association is growing its annual postholiday gathering, which this year takes place in Denver from January 23 to 26. Attendance had previously been capped at 500 booksellers to maintain an intimate atmosphere, but the number will increase at Winter Institute 11.
Much of this year’s programming is centered on best practices for booksellers, with several programs directed specifically at children’s booksellers, including “Partnering for Diversity” and “Getting the Most Out of Your ARCs.” Other sessions look at such topics as inventory management, returns, and human resources. There will also be plenty of opportunities to meet authors. Both the general authors reception and the one with small and university press authors are back. Authors will also give morning keynote addresses and appear on the panel “Authors, Agents, and Booksellers—United for a Fair Marketplace,” featuring Authors Guild president Roxana Robinson and council member Douglas Preston, who founded Authors United.
This year’s conference is also going mobile for the first time. A new app from CrowdCompass by Cvent is available for iOS and Android devices, as well as for desktop computers. It includes a complete schedule of events, updated frequently, and maps of Denver and WI 11–related hotels. Users can post to Twitter and LinkedIn from the app and complete event evaluations.
ABA CEO Oren Teicher sums up what is important about this year’s institute and where bookselling is heading in the following letter, which he sent out at the end of last year.
A Letter from ABA CEO Oren Teicher on the Eve of WI 11
I am pleased to be able to report that the state of indie bookselling remains strong. For the first three quarters of 2015, sales across the indie channel were up over 2014, and, what’s more, a number of stores have reported increases in profitability. This tells us that indie stores are continuing to innovate and to adapt—and, as a result, are running their stores more efficiently and profitably.
That commitment to innovation is what fuels the Winter Institute, and it has undoubtedly become one of the highlights of the annual bookselling calendar. This year more booksellers than ever will be joining us in January in Denver, and, while we’ve grown the event to accommodate increased demand from both booksellers and publishers, we are determined not to lose the institute’s overall intimacy and its ability to maximize one-on-one interaction among attendees.
WI 11 will present the broadest program yet, including advanced learning opportunities, and we could not be more delighted with our roster of plenary speakers, featured talks, and educational sessions. We are very excited about the new Backlist Book Swap, as well as the opportunity for attendees to be able to visit some wonderful bookstores in the Denver area the day before WI 11 opens. With help and guidance from ABA’s Education Task Force, Booksellers Advisory Council, and board of directors, the ABA staff have been hard at work in planning for this year’s institute. We can hardly wait for it to begin! And we’re extremely grateful for the participation of all the booksellers who taking part in WI 11’s panels and sessions, and for the institute’s many sponsors, especially our lead sponsor, Ingram.
Looking ahead to 2016, indie booksellers face a number of significant challenges— everything from intensifying competition from online retailers to changes in minimum wage to significant increases in the cost of real estate—but it’s clear that, now more than ever, independent bookstores are the prime venue for the discovery of new titles and new authors, not to mention the sustained sales of backlist. Putting the right book in the hands of readers and book buyers continues to be the central mission of indie booksellers, and I’m confident that they will continue to discover new and exciting ways to do just that.
Below, more on WI 11ABA Winter Institute 2016: Bookselling Peaking in Colorado
Denver is “a real boomtown right now,” says Len Vlahos, who with his wife, Kristen Gilligan, is the new owner of Tattered Cover Book Store, which has four branches in the greater Denver metropolitan area and three at Denver International Airport.ABA Winter Institute 2016: Big Plans for April’s Independent Bookstore Day
Last year’s inaugural national Independent Bookstore Day, which coincided with Free Comic Book Day on May 2, was a huge success.ABA Winter Institute 2016: A Look at Bookselling Trends
Over the past year, Peter Hildick-Smith, founder and CEO of the Codex Group, and Kristen McLean, director of new business development for Nielsen Book, have been following several industry developments that could well shape book sales going forward.ABA Winter Institute 2016: Conversations with Keynoters
As part of his Sunday morning presentation, consumer expert Martin Lindstrom, author of the soon-to-be-published Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends, selected five booksellers for an onstage business review.ABA Winter Institute 2016: Authors and Books to Watch for at WI 11
A selection of adult and children’s authors to meet at this year’s Winter Institute—and what makes their books notable.