Wi2023 First-Timer’s Checklist

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A Checklist for Winter Institute First-Timers


For many first-timers — or even 18th-timers — the annual Winter Institute can be an overwhelming maze of education sessions, publisher talks, author signings, and meet and greets. Here are a few reminders and tips to help you navigate Winter Institute 2023.
Before you go, know what to expect at Wi2023
Explore our website and get information on health and safety procedures, accessibility, travel, and an overview of Wi2023.
Note: Bring preferred masks, some areas will require wearing one.
Author Reception at Ci10What to Wear

We are booksellers and we salute your personal fashion sense and originality. So dress as you would at your store. For your well-being, we suggest wearing comfortable walking shoes. Please note that some booksellers like to dress up for the author reception, but overall this is a casual event. We advise dressing in layers as Convention Centers are often cold. If you plan on going to a publisher dinner, please check with the restaurant to see if they have any specific dress requirements. 

Download the Winter Institute app (coming early February)
  • Create an account and log in early to get the most out of the app

  • Stay on top of last-minute schedule changes and allow push notifications to get real-time alerts

  • Review the event schedule and session descriptions

  • Create personal agendas

  • Message fellow attendees

  • Share contact info

  • Explore a map of the Seattle Convention Center and the Sheraton Grand Hotel (There will be a paper copy in your welcome bag too!)

  • Check out the list of attending authors

  • Fill out those ever-important session evaluations


Bring business cards and/or one-sheets about your bookstore, plus a pen and paper

Check the Welcome Bag for a Wi2023 journal from Ingram.

Wear your badge at all times during the event

Listed on the bottom of the badge are table assignments for the Rep Picks Rotations and Bookseller to Bookseller discussion groups. 

Take time each night to review your plans for the next day
If scheduled plans change, inform your party or the ABA team

If you have pre-registered for a session, made an appointment, or have an assignment and find that you cannot keep that obligation, do your best to let the person who is waiting for you know. If all else fails, flag down an ABA team member or email [email protected].

Plan to attend the Network and Connect meetup on Monday, February 20, at 4:30 pm at the Sheraton Grand Seattle. Booksellers can meet fellow first-timers and get the scoop on how to best navigate Winter Institute.

Rep Picks Rotation at Ci10Attend Rep Picks Rotations

ABA aims to provide an interesting mix of publishers for attendees to meet with during the Rep Picks Rotations. As a courtesy to Winter Institute’s publisher sponsors, booksellers are urged to remain for the entirety of the presentation. Rep Picks with Coffee will be at the Sheraton on Tuesday from 1:20 pm to 3:20 pm and Wednesday from 10:25 am to 12:25 pm, and the Publisher Rep Picks Breakfast Presentations will be on Thursday from 7:45 am to 9:05 am at the Seattle Convention Center.

Attend our Book Swap Dinner

What better way to spend the evening than with your bookseller colleagues over food and books! Place a store bookmark or note in the pages of your favorite book, wrap it, add an intriguing review on the wrapped cover, and bring it to this reception. Dinner options will be available.

Current publisher sponsors for this event include American Psychological Association, Arcadia Publishing, Catapult, Counterpoint Press, Europa Editions, HarperCollins, HarperCollins Children’s Books, Haymarket Books, Johns Hopkins University Press, Nimbus Publishing, Rare Bird, Soft Skull Press, Steerforth Press, University of Toronto Press, Verso Books, and World Editions.

Set up your appointments

With IndieCommerce: IndieCommerce, IndieLite, and IndieCommerce 2.0 are ABA’s fully transactional, content-rich e-commerce platforms designed specifically for independent bookstore websites. Both users and non-users of IndieCommerce, IndieLite, and IndieCommerce 2.0 are invited to schedule one-on-one time with a program specialist from the IndieCommerce team. Space is limited, but walk-ins are welcome. Booksellers will be able to sign up for appointments starting Wednesday, January 18.
Note: Masks are required for IndieCommerce one-on-ones.

With Batch for Books: Batch for Books is a free tool to manage, keep track of invoices, and prepare payments to publishers. Make an appointment for a one-on-one, or drop by our table at the Vendor Showcase.

With Bookshop: Bookshop’s platform gives independent bookstores tools to compete online and financial support to help maintain their presence in local communities. Make an appointment for a one-on-one or drop by our table at the Vendor Showcase. 

Publishers By Appointment: Attendees will be provided with a link the week of January 16 to schedule appointments with these participating publishers: Abrams, Catapult/Counterpoint/Soft Skull, Europa Editions, HarperCollins, Macmillan, The New Press, Sasquatch Books, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, and Sourcebooks.

Fill out session evaluations through the Winter Institute app
Session evaluations are one of the most important tools ABA has for making programming decisions. Booksellers are also encouraged to complete the overall Wi2023 evaluation that will be emailed to attendees following the event.

Galley Room at Ci10Books in the Galley Room are there for the taking!
The Galley Room (open Tuesday from 9:00 am to 6:20 pm, Wednesday from 8:45 am to 6:30 pm and Thursday from 8:45 am to 6:35 pm) is chock-full of the most exciting forthcoming titles for you to grab. Select titles in the galley room will also have QR codes that can be used to request copies to be sent directly to you after the event so you can save your luggage/shipping space! We ask attendees to take only one copy of each and, if a particular pile is getting low, please take just one to be shared among all store staff. 

Ship your galleys from Wi2023 with FedEx instead of lugging them home! Shipping costs vary based on box weight, size, and destination. 

  • ABA’s PartnerShip benefit can help you save on shipping costs! Not taking advantage of this ABA benefit? Enroll before you go. PartnerShip will preload account numbers to speed up the process.

  • Bring pre-printed FedEx shipping labels to ease your way through the FedEx shipping desk. 

  • Questions? Contact PartnerShip’s Harry Centa at 800-599-2902 x2242, or by email [email protected].

Make sure to network

According to Winter Institute bookseller veterans, the opportunity to meet fellow booksellers is one of the most valuable parts of the event. Don’t be shy! Introduce yourself and be ready to exchange contact information. Swap business cards with everyone you meet; for easy reference and recall later, make a note on the card about what was discussed.

Finally: Pace yourself, wear comfortable shoes, drink lots of water, and have fun!
Look in your Welcome Bag for a Simon & Schuster sponsored water bottle to help stay hydrated. 


Have questions? Email [email protected]




About ABA

The American Booksellers Association, a national not-for-profit trade organization, works with booksellers and industry partners to ensure the success and profitability of independently owned book retailers, and to assist in expanding the community of the book.

Independent bookstores act as community anchors; they serve a unique role in promoting the open exchange of ideas, enriching the cultural life of communities, and creating economically vibrant neighborhoods.


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