Winter Institute 6 Registration Opens

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Registration is now open for the American Booksellers Association's Sixth Annual Winter Institute (Wi6), to be held from Wednesday, January 19, through Friday, January 21, 2011, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. This educational event – sponsored by Ingram – is a member benefit exclusively for ABA bookstore and provisional members.

"Recognizing that the Winter Institute has become one of the year’s most important events for indie booksellers, ABA has been working very hard to fashion a program that we believe will offer booksellers at all levels of experience an unparalleled educational and professional experience," said ABA COO Len Vlahos.

The Wi6 schedule offers an array of 31 education sessions covering a wide range of topics, including adding a café to your bookstore, understanding the strategic thinking process to create new business models, using the political process to create the change you want to see, a report on the 2010 ABC & Bowker PubTrack survey on the children's book market, and more. (Here’s a full description of Wi6’s educational programming.) Also, continuing a popular Winter Institute tradition, there will be an opening reception at Politics & Prose Bookstore on the night of January 18. OtherWi6 special events include the always-popular author reception, rep picks sessions, a free galley room, and a closing reception featuring authors from small presses.

Given Wi6's proximity to our nation's capital, the opening focus of this year's event is on advocacy as well as current trends in policy related to small business in America. The morning education sessions on Wednesday, January 19, will become immediately actionable in the afternoon when attendees who choose to participate will join fellow indie booksellers on a trip to Capitol Hill to meet with their elected officials. The day will end with a reception at the Library of Congress, co-sponsored by The Center for the Book.

Registration for the Winter Institute is capped at 500, and spaces will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Since past Winter Institutes have been sell-outs, ABA is encouraging members to register as soon as possible. The Wi6 event registration deadline is December 15. (Register now.)

The Winter Institute is free for ABA bookstore and provisional members; there is a $60 non-refundable meal fee to offset some of the food costs. (Attendees will be served three breakfasts and three lunches in addition to light refreshments at nightly receptions.)

ABA has reserved a block of rooms at Wi6's host hotel, the Crystal Gateway Marriott, for Tuesday, January 18, through Saturday, January 22, 2011. The special room rate of $119 a night for ABA bookseller and provisional members and participating publisher sponsors will only be available until January 5, 2011, or until the group block is sold out, whichever comes first. Registration is via the Crystal Gateway Marriott's dedicated Wi6 reservations page.

Questions regarding Wi6 hotel reservations should be addressed directly to the hotel at (800) 266-9432. To cancel a reservation prior to January 5, contact the hotel directly; on January 5 or later, e-mail [email protected]. Importantly, Reagan National Airport is the best airport to fly into for easy access to the Crystal Gateway Marriott. The hotel provides free shuttle service to and from Reagan National, and it is only one Metro stop from the airport.

ABA Publisher Partners are sponsoring more than 20 Wi6 bookseller scholarships. Scholarship winners will be selected from among all ABA bookstore members. Booksellers who drop off a business card at the ABA booth at any of the regional trade shows can earn an extra entry in the scholarship awards process. Scholarships include up to four nights hotel accommodations at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, and airfare up to $350. Previous scholarship winners are not eligible. Winners will be announced no later than November 15. Follow Bookselling This Week for updates.

Below is a preview of Wi6's education sessions. Watch for updates on the complete Wi6 program in upcoming editions of BTW and follow the Twitter hashtag #ABAWi6. Questions may be addressed to [email protected].

Wi6 Education Sessions

Adding a Cafe to Your Bookstore
What does it take to create an in-store cafe, a wine bar, a snack stand, or other food and/or beverage options? Hear a panel of knowledgeable booksellers explain the strategic planning process, as well as the benefits, costs, and reasonable expectations for the first year.

Buyers Roundtable
If you are a buyer, this is your chance to spend some uninterrupted time with other buyers. Come discover new tactics, share some of your own, and enjoy a conversation with your colleagues.

Buying, Selling, and Merchandising Used Books

Can you improve your margins with used books? Yes! This 101-level session on buying, merchandising, and selling used books will provide basic start-up information for adding used books to your inventory.

Buying Your Way to Success

Your gross margin is the lifeblood of your store. Every dollar you spend on wages, rent, or advertising comes from your gross margin. This session will explore how to grow your gross margin by controlling your cost of goods sold. Hear a panel of experts describe inventory management and buying best practices that will add money to your bookstore’s bottom line.

Children's Bookselling: A Roundtable Discussion
Join in roundtable discussions about the day-to-day operational issues that can make a big difference in your experience as a children’s bookseller. Each table will focus on a single topic, and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. There will be several moderated tables for those who are new to children’s bookselling. Bring your questions, thoughts, and concerns. We’ll learn from each other and emerge with fresh ideas and best practices to take back to our stores. Presented in conjunction with the Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC).

Consultation Station
Consult with various vendors and learn more about both their services and ABA programs. For a list of participating vendors, contact information, and to schedule an appointment, follow updates in Bookselling This Week and on

Cost of Goods Sold 101
This 101-level bookstore finance session will examine what cost of goods sold is, how it fits into and affects your operating results, and the most accurate way to calculate it. Learn important formulas and facts to help keep your store profitable!

Creating Killer Events
One of the most effective tools to set your bookstore apart from the competition is to offer a schedule of compelling events. In this session, you’ll review an event preparation checklist and hear experienced booksellers describe what makes a killer event. This session will focus on events for small and medium-size stores.

Digital Update 2011
What are the new opportunities for booksellers in the world of digital books? Come to this session for the latest updates on Google Editions, e-readers and apps, and the digital book market as a whole.

Efficiency 101: Getting Your Act Together
In order to manage your business efficiently, you need specific organizational skills. This seminar will provide the right tools to evaluate how you spend your time and to create personal systems that will keep you on the right track.

Efficiency 201: Accomplish More by Working Less
Do you have a bookstore project that seems impossible to tackle or that has left you spinning your wheels? Are you afraid to tackle large-scale projects because the details seem insurmountable? Maybe you simply want to figure out how to make your staff more productive. This seminar will help you create actionable steps using the specific organizational skills you learned in “Efficiency 101.” Bring your project ideas, and leave with the beginnings of a management plan!

Events Planners Roundtable
If you are an event planner, this is your chance to spend some uninterrupted time with other event planners. Come discover new tactics, share some of your own, and enjoy a conversation with your colleagues.

Free for the Asking: Marketing With PR & Social Media

Putting your store in the media spotlight and keeping it there does not have to cost a lot of money. In fact, it doesn’t have to cost you anything at all beyond usual staff hours. This session will focus on how to take advantage of free media outlets to market and promote your store.

Getting Political: Creating The Change You Want to See

If you are concerned with free speech, zoning, or other local or national issues, knowing how to navigate the legislative process is crucial. What do you need to know before, during, and after any legislative meeting? How can you best frame the issues to get the response you want? How can you educate the community or the public in general on any given issue? Learn from a panel of activist booksellers who will discuss the battles they have won (and lost).

How to Create New Business Models Through Strategic Thinking
From selling children’s clothes and creating stores within stores to offering local delivery, indie booksellers are using their ingenuity and their roots in the community to create new and interesting ways to sustain their book sales. The process involves recognizing opportunity and using strategic thinking. This session will walk you through the strategic thinking process and leave you with the tools to plan new ventures.

The Indie City Index: A Report From Civic Economics

The Indie City Index, produced by Civic Economics and the American Booksellers Association, provides the first nationwide look at which communities enjoy the most vibrant independent retail sectors. Hear the newest data on correlations between independent retail strength and various measures of economic health, livability, and quality of life.

Ideas That Work: Communications, Events, and Displays for Great Children's Departments

The children’s department of your store offers stellar opportunities for creative outreach to customers, but it is often difficult to come up with fresh concepts on a tight deadline. Join us as we present a variety of proven ideas to showcase your children’s expertise, no matter what your store size. From creative and cost-effective newsletter features to offbeat displays, authorless events, and alternative holidays, this session will provide a toolkit of great ideas that you can use as soon as you get home. Presented in conjunction with the Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC).

IndieCommerce Demo
ABA’s IndieCommerce staff will moderate a discussion on the updated IndieCommerce product, answer questions, and provide a demonstration.

Indie Store Tour

Join us for a merchandising tour like you’ve never experienced. This tour will be on Friday, January 21, from 2:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. We will start with a session on the future of retail and what to look for during the tour, then we will visit a few stellar indie stores in D.C. We will regroup back at the hotel for a debrief and review session.

Large-Store Roundtable
A veteran bookseller will moderate this roundtable discussion for owners and managers of large stores. Space is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis.

Linked by Passion: Growing Sales Through Local Retail Partnerships

Working with other indie businesses in the community can help grow your sales. But how can you convince your indie neighbors that participating in cross promotions or other shared events can strengthen their businesses as well? A representative from branding and identity firm Brains on Fire will lead a discussion on this topic and more.

Making Nonfiction Sexy
Is your store as popular among the gardening clubs, the history buffs, and science wonks as it is with literary connoisseurs? Hear a panel discuss how you can curate and merchandise nonfiction titles to increase sales and provide a unique in-store experience for your customers.

Managing Blockbuster Events: The Logistics of Events for 300 or More Attendees

How do you prepare for an event likely to draw 300, 700, even 1,500 people? A panel of bookseller experts will discuss best practices for large-scale events, including planning, insurance, security, crowd management, and more.

New Adventures in Book Buying: Working With Reps Near And Far

Buying is no longer only about reviewing catalogs and meeting with a sales rep every season. Whether you are seeing reps less frequently or using tools like Edelweiss interactive publisher catalogs, this session will teach you how to cultivate relationships with publishers.

Saving Time and Money With Edelweiss: Power Users Explain How

Edelweiss interactive publisher catalogs have changed how many buyers approach their jobs. Learn from a panel of bookseller power users who employ Edelweiss daily. They will answer your questions and demonstrate how this tool has helped them create a more efficient business operation.

Small And Mid-size Store Roundtable

A veteran bookseller will moderate this roundtable discussion for owners and managers of small to mid-size stores. Space is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis.

Spending Your Way to Success
You’ve pared your inventory to the perfect level to serve your customers and control your inventory costs; you’ve taken advantage of every reasonable stock offer; you’ve even experimented with consignment; and your gross margin is as high as it’s probably ever going to be. Now you need to review how to spend your dollars carefully, with maximum impact. A panel of experts will discuss best practices for controlling your operational expenses, from claiming co-op efficiently to managing your staff schedules rationally.

The New Reality: Alternative Business Models for Independent Bookstores

A business model based on book sales alone is growing more challenging each year, but a few creative ideas can make a difference. This panel will feature booksellers who have embraced new business models that expand the bookstore business beyond the book. Come join the conversation.

What Really Drives Choice in the Children's Book Market? The 2010 ABC & Bowker Pubtrack Survey
How do consumers value children’s books, and what makes them choose one over another? In fall 2010, Bowker PubTrack and the Association of Booksellers for Children set out to understand these questions in collaboration with children’s publishers. Focusing on purchasing for three core groups, and covering everything from how much input children have in buying decisions, to trends in digital book content, these key findings present the first-ever real data about what is driving today’s children’s book market.