Winter Institute Registration Now Full: Waitlist Forming

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Winter Institute 13 logoUpdated: Thursday, September 14

Registration for the American Booksellers Association’s 13th annual Winter Institute (Wi13) opened on Wednesday afternoon, September 13, to all ABA bookstore and provisional members. The institute reached full capacity on Thursday morning, September 14. Booksellers who are interested in attending can fill out the registration form to be added to a waitlist; booksellers on the waitlist will be notified on a first-come, first-served basis if space becomes available.

The event will be held from January 22 to 25, 2018, at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel and the Memphis Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Winter Institute’s four days of special events and programming, made possible by the generous support of lead sponsor Ingram Content Group, will be highlighted by an outstanding lineup of keynote speakers, timely and informative sessions for booksellers at all levels of experience, networking opportunities, and more.

Keynote speakers for the 13th annual Winter Institute include:

  • Sarah Jessica Parker, award-winning actress and founder of the new literary fiction imprint SJP for Hogarth, in conversation with New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul, author of My Life With Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues (Henry Holt & Co.)
  • Daniel Pink, author of the forthcoming When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, out January 9, 2018, from Riverhead
  • Junot Díaz, author of the forthcoming Islandborn, a children’s book out March 13, 2018, from Dial Books
  • Amy Webb, founder of the Future Today Institute and author of a forthcoming book about the great artificial intelligence awakening, out in 2019 from PublicAffairs/Hachette Book Group
  • Alberto Manguel, author of the forthcoming Packing My Library: An Elegy and Ten Digressions, out March 2018 from Yale University Press

This year’s schedule features 38 education sessions on topics ranging from store design and layout and establishing financial systems to selling used books and owning and operating a bookmobile. Four sessions aimed specifically at children’s booksellers will cover the topics of merchandising nonbook items in a small space, author events for schools, tapping into the millennial parent market, and sensitivity readers and free expression. Advanced learning sessions for owners and managers include succession planning as well as recognizing and making the most of your store’s strengths.

The Winter Institute officially kicks off on Monday, January 22, with a Welcome Reception & Blind Date With a Book (bring a favorite book wrapped in brown paper tagged with clues!) at The Cadre in downtown Memphis. Catch up with colleagues from across the country over cocktails and snacks at this event, co-sponsored by Shelf Awareness. Shuttle service will be provided from the Sheraton to The Cadre and back.

Prior to the reception, booksellers are invited to take part in a number of tours and activities. Pre-registration, where required, opened on Wednesday, Septeber 13, for all January 22 events:

Tours and discounts:

  • Discounts on attractions: Booksellers with badges can receive discounts on visits to the National Civil Rights Museum and Graceland.
  • Yoknapatawpha County Tour/Square Books (pre-registration required): A full-day guided tour that will take booksellers to Oxford, Mississippi, to tour the town and visit Rowan Oak, the home of William Faulkner, and Square Books. Highlights include Faulkner’s grave, the Lyceum (the site of the Ole Miss riot of 1962), the James Meredith statue, and historic Oxford Square, featuring three Square Books locations, boutiques, and many places to eat lunch. Most of the tour is guided, but guests will have several hours to explore historic Oxford Square on their own before returning to Memphis.
  • Mississippi Delta Tour/Turnrow Books (pre-registration required): Travel the “Blues Highway” with guide Jamie Kornegay (owner of Turnrow Book Co. and author of Soil, S&S) as he points out significant historic Civil Rights and Delta blues sites between Memphis, Tennessee, and Greenwood, Mississippi. The tour will stop at Greenwood’s Turnrow Book Co. for time to explore the store followed by a down-home Delta lunch at Fan & Johnny’s, with surprise guest authors appearing at both locations.

In addition, Ingram Content Group is offering booksellers the option to arrive in Nashville on January 21 to visit their La Vergne, Tennessee, offices and take a tour of Lightning Source and the wholesale warehouse the next day; a bus will deliver booksellers to Memphis in time for the Winter Institute opening reception on January 22. Learn more and register for the Ingram Content Group tour here.

Education (pre-registration is required for each education session):

  • Principles of Bookstore Finance Seminar: A six-hour, 101-level seminar that will cover the fundamentals of budgeting, cash flow, business financing, bookkeeping, and financial statements.
  • Used Bookstore Forum: This three-hour session will look at the art of selling used and rare books, from pricing, trade policies, and inventory acquisition to events, displays, sales, and more.
  • IndieCommerce Institute: The IndieCommerce Institute is a two-part, interactive, classroom-style workshop for users of ABA’s IndieCommerce platform. The morning seminar will look at optimizing checkout pages for higher sales conversions and e-mail subscription, marketing, and promotional campaigns, while the afternoon seminar will cover Google Analytics and Drupal Views. Booksellers can register for one or both seminars.
  • Paz Workshop, “Introduction to Retail Bookselling”: A one-day crash course on the essentials of opening a new bookstore or buying an existing one.

Thanks to the support of publishers large and small, the Winter Institute schedule will once again feature Reps Picks lunches, Bookseller/Publisher Focus Groups, the Small and University Press Breakfast, the Galley Room, and special events, including the ever-popular Author Reception, the Scholastic Meet & Treat After Party, and a Lunchtime Author Reception and Southern BBQ Picnic featuring small press and Meet the Presses authors.

Also returning is the Consultation Station, which provides booksellers with the opportunity to meet with representatives of ABA’s affiliated business solution partners, POS vendors, and others. The all-new Meet the Presses invites booksellers to meet with small and mid-size publishers for informal conversations.

ABA will also host a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday afternoon, January 24, at which booksellers are invited to share their thoughts and concerns about industry and association issues with ABA President Robert Sindelar and Vice President Jamie Fiocco, who will facilitate the meeting. The full ABA Board will respond to questions and comments from all booksellers; booksellers who would like to send questions in advance can e-mail [email protected].

Booksellers won’t want to miss the final hours of Winter Institute 13 on Thursday, January 25, which will feature a special presentation of the Thacker Mountain Radio Hour, just before the Wi13 Closing Reception. Thacker Mountain will be a blend of lively music, fun conversations with authors, and a couple of great surprises, and the Closing Reception will feature a book signing with the Thacker Mountain authors.

The Winter Institute is open exclusively to Regular and Provisional ABA members and invited guests. Registration is first-come, first-served, with a maximum of three registrants per member business. The 2018 Winter Institute conference fee is $129 per person. New this year, during the registration process, booksellers will be asked to provide their personal pronouns (he, she, they, etc.), which will be displayed on badges.

The Winter Institute is being held at the Memphis Cook Convention Center, with select events at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel. ABA has reserved room blocks at the Sheraton and at the Crowne Plaza Memphis Downtown. Booksellers are advised to make their hotel reservations as soon as possible after registering for the Winter Institute.

The ABA Group hotel rate for the Sheraton or the Crowne Plaza is $134 plus tax; rates are available from January 19, 2018, to January 26, 2018, as well as three days before and after, based on availability. Reservations must be made before Friday, January 5, 2018, to receive the ABA Group rate. All reservations are subject to the availability of rooms in the ABA Group block.

Thanks to the Winter Institute’s sponsors and other industry partners, more than 70 scholarships will be awarded to booksellers to attend Wi13. Booksellers are encouraged to fill out the Winter Institute scholarship application form by October 29 or drop off a business card at the ABA booth at any of the fall regional trade shows to apply for an award, which covers the conference fee, up to four nights plus tax at the Sheraton, and transportation costs up to $400. Scholarships are open to booksellers from ABA member stores that did not have a Winter Institute scholarship winner in 2016 or 2017.

Winners will be announced in November. In addition, a Winter Institute scholarship winner will be drawn and announced at the end of each of the eight regional trade shows. The winner will be selected from the pool of business cards submitted at the ABA booth throughout the show; booksellers do not need to be present at the drawing to win.

For up-to-the-minute program details and to register, visit the Winter Institute pages on Questions should be addressed to [email protected].