Booksellers attending this year’s ABC Children’s Institute (Ci7), to be held June 26–28 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will have the chance to experience the new Mix & Mingle event, which features a series of brief, intimate meetings between booksellers and sponsors.
On Thursday, June 27, from 3:10 p.m. to 4:40 p.m., co-workers from each attending bookstore will meet together with representatives from two of 26 participating publishers and distributors. The 90-minute networking event will be comprised of 18 five-minute time slots; booksellers will be assigned two back-to-back meetings with sponsors at neighboring tables. Staff from one bookstore will travel together from sponsor table to sponsor table in reverse speed dating format, while staff from participating publishers and distributors remain stationed at their tables.
“We’re aiming to introduce bookstores to publishers they might not have met before,” said ABA Director of Development and Publisher Relations Matt Zoni. “The purpose is to provide an organized opportunity for introductions and for booksellers to share information about their store, or to discuss an issue of concern.”
Since booksellers from a single store will attend two back-to-back five-minute meetings with two different sponsors, all booksellers will only be scheduled for 10 minutes within the hour and a half block, and will have downtime to explore the galley room, have a drink, and chat with colleagues.
This new networking event replaces the Bookseller Focus Group format used at previous Winter and Children’s Institutes, which featured 10 to 12 booksellers from various stores sitting at each table and meeting with publishers. The Mix & Mingle format is intended to provide an opportunity for more meaningful introductions as bookstores and sponsors are scheduled on an individual basis.
ABA will set up the sponsor-bookstore pairings; the meeting times along with the assigned publisher or distributor will be printed on each bookseller’s badge. All meetings will take place in the outdoor courtyard and its two adjoining rooms at the Ci7 host hotel, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh-Green Tree. Beer, wine, soft drinks, and coffee will be provided.
To keep this event running on time, booksellers should plan to be in their scheduled room five minutes before they are slated to meet with their first appointment.