For many first-timers — or even 13th-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 13:
- Before you go, visit the Winter Institute page on BookWeb for tips on travel, sights, and an overview of Wi13.
- Download the Winter Institute app to stay on top of last-minute schedule changes and choose to allow push notifications to get real-time alerts. The app enables users to review the event schedule and session descriptions, create personal agendas, message fellow attendees, share contact info, explore a map of the convention center and hotel, check out the list of attending authors, and fill out those ever-important session evaluations. Create an account and log in to get the most out of the app.
- Bring preprinted FedEx shipping labels to ease your way at the PartnerShip shipping desk.
- Bring business cards and/or one-sheets about your bookstore, plus a pen.
- Wear your badge at all times during the event. Listed on the back of the badge are table assignments for the Bookseller Discussion Groups, Rep Picks Speed Dating Lunches, and Bookseller and Publisher Focus Groups.
- Take time each night to review your plans for the next day.
- If you have preregistered 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 staff person (identifiable by the red stripe on our badges) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- All mentees will sit with their mentors at assigned tables at the breakfast keynotes on Tuesday, January 23, and Wednesday, January 24. Otherwise, there is open seating at the keynote sessions; doors open 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start.
- Attendance at the Bookseller Discussion Groups on Tuesday, January 23, is critical; beyond the quality discussions booksellers can expect to participate in, these roundtable talks are an ideal way to meet fellow booksellers and make new friends at the start of the institute. Please be sure to join your assigned group.
- ABA does its best to provide an interesting mix of publishers for attendees to meet with during the Rep Picks Speed Dating lunches. As a courtesy to Winter Institute’s publisher sponsors, booksellers are urged to remain for the entirety of the presentations at the Rep Picks Speed Dating Lunch, Day 1, on Tuesday, January 23, and the Rep Picks Speed Dating Lunch, Day 2, on Wednesday, January 24.
- Attendance at the Bookseller and Publisher Focus Groups on Tuesday, January 23, is also very important; even if the companies present are not ones you normally do business with, these meetings are an essential element to opening and encouraging dialogue with publisher partners.
- The IndieCommerce team will be available in Room 201 of the Memphis Cook Convention Center to speak with any bookseller interested in improving their store’s online presence, whether they are a participating IndieCommerce store or not. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are also welcome.
- Session evaluations are one of the most important tools ABA has for making programming decisions. Booksellers can fill out evaluations through the Winter Institute app; a small number of paper evaluations will be available at each session. Booksellers are also encouraged to complete the overall Wi13 evaluation that will be e-mailed to attendees following Winter Institute.
- Books in the Galley Room are there for the taking, but attendees are asked to take only one copy of each; if a particular pile is getting low, please take just one to be shared among all store staff.
- 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, and have fun!
Have questions? Swing by the St. Louis Foyer at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel, where ABA staffers will be at the ABA Welcome Desk on Monday, January 22. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, January 23–25, the Ask ABA Desk will be located in the Ballroom Foyer of the Memphis Cook Convention Center, between the doors to Ballrooms B&C. Booksellers can also speak with any ABA staffer, identifiable by the red stripe on our badges, or e-mail email@example.com.