VWi2023 Program

Thursday, March 23, 2023  

10:00 am to 10:00 pm ET / 7:00 am to 7:00 pm PT

The Virtual Galley Room is filled to the brim with ARCs of upcoming titles from Winter Institute sponsors.

12:00 pm to 1:00 pm ET / 9:00 am to 10:00 am PT

Meet booksellers from around the country! Breakout rooms will be devoted to affinity and subset groups so that you can meet booksellers with shared interests. You can connect with other Mission-Driven Stores, then head over to your LGBTQIA2S+ affinity group room before joining the conversation at the Pop-up Stores room! Join one room for the entire hour or hop from room to room to meet as many folks as you can. [Cameras on!]

“...poetry began when somebody walked off of a savanna or out of a cave and looked up at the sky with wonder and said, ‘Ahhh.’ That was the first poem.” — (Lucille Clifton)
Take a moment to experience the “ahhh” with some of your new favorite poets reading their work.

1:00 pm to 2:00 pm ET / 10:00 am to 11:00 am PT

Join a panel of booksellers as they discuss ways that they have become more efficient in basic bookstore operations. The panel will review how to organize invoices for efficiency, provide samples of easy-to-use forms to streamlined processes, discuss how to communicate with staff around new operations procedures, and more. Come to the session to listen and also share your own best practices. [Pre-recorded at Wi2023 in Seattle]

Speakers: Luis Correa, Avid Bookshop (Athens, Georgia); Emma Nichols, Norwich Bookstore (Norwich, Vermont); Lauren Nopenz Fairley, Curious Iguana (Frederick, Maryland); Darryl Peck, Righton Books (St Simons Island, Georgia)

For people in historically marginalized communities, having a space to exist, work, play, and connect can be a powerful thing. There are many ways to honor your community by creating space, and this panel will feature four booksellers who have done just that. You will leave this session with great hope for the future and promise of bookselling and with new ideas for creating space for the communities to which you belong. [Pre-recorded at Wi2023 in Seattle]

Speakers: Davis Shoulders, Atlas Books (Johnson City, Tennessee); Lee Francis, Red Planet Books and Comics (Albuquerque, New Mexico); Janet Jones, Source Booksellers (Detroit, Michigan); Jonah Zimiles, [words] Bookstore (Maplewood, New Jersey)

Build a culture of great service and treat your customers and colleagues like royalty! Join Elnian Gilbert, an educator with ZingTrain, as she teaches the recipe for providing service in a way that will make your store stand out! You will learn easy-to-implement (and teach) skills. When you leave this session you will understand what a culture of service looks like, how to deliver it consistently, and how to measure results. [Pre-recorded at Wi2023 in Seattle]

Speakers: Elnian Gilbert, ZingTrain (Ann Arbor, Michigan)

2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET / 11:00 am to 12:00 pm PT

The rights of readers and the importance of representation in books is critical to the work of independent bookstores. The wave of book bans threaten these rights and these values as an orchestrated movement attempting to silence historically marginalized voices and experiences. As authors, publishers, and booksellers are under constant attack from random and targeted book bans, ABA has assembled a diverse group to discuss the effects of these bans.
Heather Hall from Green Feather Book Company; Maia Kobabe, author of Gender Queer ; Laura DeLaney from Rediscovered Books; and Kendrick Washington, Policy Advocacy Director of the Seattle ACLU, will share their experiences as well as their insight and wisdom on how to deal with an increasingly pervasive occurrence. The discussion will be moderated by Ray Daniels, Chief Communications Officer of ABA. Gather here to understand first hand what is at stake when book bans happen in your community and how you can respond or even prevent them. [Pre-recorded at Wi2023 in Seattle]

Speakers: Laura DeLaney, Rediscovered Books (Boise, Idaho); Heather Hall, Green Feather Book Company (Norman, Oklahoma); Kendrick Washington, ACLU of Washington; Ray Daniels, ABA (White Plains, NY); Maia Kobabe, Oni Press

Join four new genre authors as they come together in conversation to discuss how they use and subvert different genre tropes to reimagine worlds past, present, and future. [Pre-recorded at Wi2023 in Seattle]

Moderator: Calvin Crosby (Owner, The King’s English Bookshop)

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Chain Gang All Stars, Pantheon);
Chloe Gong (Immortal Longings, Gallery/Saga Press);
Taj McCoy (Zora Books Her Happily Ever After, MIRA);
Andrew Joseph White (The Spirit Bares Its Teeth, Peachtree)

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET / 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm PT

This idea exchange is an opportunity for booksellers to come together to discuss what’s happening surrounding banned books in their community and how individuals are responding to situations as they arise. Attendees will come away from the idea exchange with advice for resolution and support, and a network of peers to reach out to throughout the year. Presented by the ABC Children’s Group for all booksellers. [Cameras on!]

Speakers: Brein Lopez, Children's Book World (Los Angeles, California); Diane Capriola, Little Shop of Stories (Decatur, Georgia)

Professional development — that is, identifying goals and learning new skills — is vital for employee satisfaction. Providing opportunities for professional development signals that an employer values the skills and potential the employee brings to the store. Facilitated by bookstore owners who have successfully created road maps for employee success, this idea exchange is the place to be if you are looking for ways to create a more fulfilling work environment. [Cameras on!]

Speakers: Meghan Hayden, River Bend Bookshop (Glastonbury, Connecticut); Rebecca Leber-Gottberg, Rediscovered Books (Boise, Idaho)

Come to this session to share meaningful solutions with your colleagues on day-to-day concerns that you deal with in the bookstore. We will brainstorm possible solutions around interpersonal conflicts, mental health concerns, creating personal and professional boundaries, and more. [Cameras on!]

Speakers: Suzanna Hermans, Oblong Books & Music (Rhinebeck, NY); Noelle Zenovic, Oblong Books & Music (Rhinebeck, NY)

4:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET / 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm PT

A school partnership is an important asset to any bookstore. It strengthens the community, introduces books to younger readers, generates future customers, and supports a bookstore’s bottom line. This session is a bookstore-presented panel on how to best establish school connections from square one. Booksellers will learn first steps to take to begin a healthy partnership, key roles in school administration to get to know, how to work with teachers, and what events and means of support a bookstore can provide to create trust and put the store front of mind when opportunities arise. Presented by the ABC Children’s Group for all booksellers. [Pre-recorded at Wi2023 in Seattle]

Speakers: Susan Williams, M. Judson Booksellers & Storytellers (Greenville, South Carolina); Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop (Houston, Texas); Heather Jeziorowski, Little Shop of Stories (Decatur, Georgia)

This session will offer insight into the small data sets you didn’t know you had and how to mine data to better focus your efforts. Information from POS reports, one-question customer surveys, and even understanding store traffic patterns can make the difference between a good day and a great one. [Pre-recorded at Wi2023 in Seattle]

Speakers: Cynthia Compton, 4 Kids Books & Toys (Zionsville, Indiana); Melissa DeMotte, The Well-Read Moose (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho)

There are many factors that go into publisher decisions for author visits and tours, and bookseller event grids help them make those choices. In this session, publishers will provide sample event grids, explain how they use them to determine author tours, and share info on what has changed in their approach to events since 2020. Booksellers will learn:
- The number one thing publishers are looking for in potential events
- How to make your event proposal stand out
- How to make your grids more specific
- Important ways to follow up after you submit the grid
- The ways in which publishers determine virtual vs in-person vs hybrid events
[Pre-recorded at Wi2023 in Seattle]

Speakers: Ronnie Kutys, HarperCollins Publishers (New York, New York); Melissa Bullock-Campion, Macmillan Publishers (New York, New York); Emily Hall Schroen, Main Street Books (St. Charles, Missouri); Wendy Ceballos, Abrams Books (New York, New York)

5:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET / 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm PT

Join Michelle MiJung Kim, award-winning author of The Wake Up: Closing the Gap Between Good Intentions and Real Change, and Hannah Oliver Depp of Loyalty Bookstores for a thought-provoking conversation about how each of us can — and must — be a part of creating a more equitable world. Drawing upon her lived experiences as a queer immigrant woman of color and her work across various industries, Michelle MiJung Kim will share how to move beyond performative allyship to building real solidarity toward social change. Known for her compassionate criticality, Kim’s session is one you won’t want to miss. [Pre-recorded at Wi2023 in Seattle]

Speakers: Michelle MiJung Kim; Hannah Oliver Depp, Loyalty Bookstore (Washington, District of Columbia)

In Ani Di Franco’s debut picture book, The Knowing (Rise x Penguin Workshop), the iconic independent musician captures the awareness that we’re all meant for something greater than the sum of our parts. This knowing is integral to the spirit of independent bookstores and record stores, which operate as agents of cultural change on both local and national levels. And it is this knowing that compels each of us to dedicate our lives to championing the work of musicians and writers in our stores. In this once-in-a-lifetime closing keynote, Courtney Wallace, ABA’s Program Director of Independent Bookstore Day, will lead a conversation between Ani Di Franco, Carrie Colliton, co-founder of Record Store Day, and Robert Sindelar, managing partner of Third Place Books in Seattle. Together, they will discuss the intersection of independent bookstores and record stores, as well as the influence that independent retail spaces have on society. [Pre-recorded at Wi2023 in Seattle]

Speakers: Ani Di Franco; Carrie Colliton, Independent Record Store Day

6:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET / 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm PT

Join Drag Story Hour for a rousing game of bingo to close out Virtual Winter Institute 2023!

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.


PRESS INQUIRIES: [email protected]

INDIECOMMERCE: [email protected]

ALL OTHER INQUIRIES: [email protected]



Copyright 2024 American Booksellers Association. BookWeb is a registered trademark of ABA.
Privacy Policy, Cookie Policy, Accessibility Statement