A Letter From ABA CEO Oren Teicher

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Dear Bookseller,

Despite the continued warm weather here in the New York area, it always feels to me as if the bookselling calendar resets with the start of September as schools reopen. With that in mind, there are some important key dates that I want to highlight as September begins.

First off, please get out your red pen and mark on the calendar that on Wednesday, September 12, ABA will announce the complete program for Winter Institute 14 (Wi14), which will take place January 22–25, 2019, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

We’re doing things a bit differently this year by instituting a two-step Wi14 registration process. First, all information about Wi14 will be available on BookWeb.org on September 12 in order to provide you with some time to look at the program before you register. Registration for Wi14 will then open on Monday, September 17, at 1:00 p.m. EDT (and please note that registrations received before that time will not be honored).

However, even with this change, as has been the case for previous institutes, we expect that Wi14 will fill up very quickly. If you are planning on attending, I can’t encourage you strongly enough to be ready to register on September 17, if at all possible, to avoid having to put yourself on the Wi14 waiting list. Set that smartphone alarm, send a reminder e-mail to yourself, highlight that to-do item in your bullet journal, or tie a knot around your finger — whatever it takes, if you are planning to come to Wi14 (and all of us at ABA are looking forward to seeing you in Albuquerque!) I hope you are ready on Monday, September 17, when the registration page goes live on BookWeb at 1:00 p.m. EDT.

We believe this change will make the entire Winter Institute registration process easier and a lot less stressful, and please do share any feedback you have with us at [email protected].

When you review the Wi14 schedule, do note all the programming set for the first day of the institute. Tuesday, January 22 (ahead of the opening reception that evening), is a very strong mix of professional development education for all levels of bookselling as well as programming highlighting the diverse cultural richness of New Mexico. So — if you can — we hope that you will include that Tuesday, January 22, as a part of your Winter Institute plans.

When you read the details about the rest of the Wi14 programming, we hope you will be as excited about the event as we are! With the help of our lead sponsor, Ingram, and our publishing partners, Wi14 is again going to have a very strong lineup of keynote speakers and participating authors. With the insight and assistance of the Booksellers Advisory Council, the ABA Educational Task Force, the ABA Board, and many member booksellers, this year’s educational program offers a broad spectrum of sessions for all levels of experience.

And did I mention that we are announcing the full program on Wednesday, September 12, and that registration will begin at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, September 17? (I had to get that in one last time...)

The other big event, and one that is much closer to us, is the opening of the fall trade show season. ABA will again be at all eight of the shows, and I and my colleagues are very much looking forward to seeing many of you at them. There is a lot going on this year!

We will be presenting a new education session, “Maximizing Pre-Order Campaigns.” The session will be led by ABA senior staff and board members, and it will focus on how indie bookstores can take part in the important — and growing — business of pre-orders. As you know, pre-orders have become an important way that books are launched, sold, and marketed, and this session — which includes extensive input from ABA’s Pre-Order Task Force of indie booksellers — will help you learn how your store can work with publishers to take full advantage of pre-order opportunities and boost sales, PR, and market share.

In addition, I very much hope that you will come by the ABA booth at the show in your region to learn more about Indies First on Small Business Saturday, the newest Indies Introduce selections (to be announced September 12), the 2019 Children’s Institute, IndieLite, the latest update on Batch, and much more. And don’t leave without dropping off a business card for a chance to win a Wi14 scholarship. (And did I mention that Wi14 registration begins at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, September 17?)

With the participation of the incomparable Indies First spokesperson Jason Reynolds and with the launch of the “Indie Bookstores Give Back on Small Business Saturday” campaign (#IndiesGiveBack), which will distribute copies of Jason’s book Ghost to thousands of young readers in underserved communities, this year’s Indies First on Small Business Saturday will be the most dynamic ever. Many thanks to all of you who have signed up for the program, and do watch both BTW and e-mails from ABA for further information and updates. And many thanks, too, to American Express and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, for without their support this program would not be possible.

Finally, I want to encourage you to consider attending one of the two Principles of Bookstore Finance seminars that ABA is offering this fall. These are 101-level seminars, and they are led by ABA CFO Robyn DesHotel and a local independent bookseller. One session will be offered on Wednesday, October 3, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., in Minneapolis before the Heartland Fall Forum, and the other will be presented on Wednesday, October 10, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Denver before the MPIBA fall trade show. This Minneapolis session will be co-led by Cynthia Compton of 4 Kids Books & Toys (Zionsville, Indiana), and the Denver session will be co-led by Len Vlahos of Tattered Cover Book Store (Denver, Colorado).

The Principles of Bookstore Finance seminars cover the fundamentals of budgeting, understanding cash flow, business financing, bookkeeping, and financial statements as well as strategies for achieving higher profits and improving cash flow. The sessions are marked by discussion throughout, and they conclude with interactive group work, in which attendees will work through an example of how to use their store’s financial information to make sound business decisions.

Robyn and the presenting booksellers have gotten high marks from those who have attended previous seminars, and some booksellers have even attended more than once! I hope you will consider being part of one of the two fall offerings; here’s a link to more information.

I appreciate that that’s a whole lot of information, and if you have any questions, please do contact your membership relationship manager or e-mail [email protected]. I hope to see many of you in the coming weeks, and if we don’t have a chance to catch up at one of the fall shows, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me. ABA is always more effective when we hear your questions, comments, and feedback.

Warm regards.


Oren J. Teicher
CEO, American Booksellers Association