A Letter From ABA Board President Robert Sindelar

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Dear Fellow Booksellers,

My hope is that you are too busy being tied down to your point of sale, hand-selling your favorite books, or restocking your shelves to read this letter. But on the off chance that you find yourself with a moment to spare, I wanted to reach out with a quick holiday bookselling message.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, the holiday shopping season kicked into gear right after Thanksgiving. We had a strong Black Friday and Small Business Saturday at all three of our locations and the momentum has been swift and steady ever since.

One of my favorite parts of this time of year is reflecting back on all the books I read since January and trying to put together my top 10 list. The fun part is reintroducing our customers to some of the gems from early in 2018. For me, those were Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi, There There by Tommy Orange, and Circe by Madeline Miller. The tough part is that the year isn’t over and I’m still reading great things. I’m currently halfway through Washington Black by Esi Edugyan and am pretty certain that one will make my list this year — it’s an absolutely gorgeous novel.

Looking back, however, also gets one looking forward. Reviewing this list reminded me of the amazing opportunity I had to meet both Akwaeke Emezi and Tommy Orange at Winter Institute last year. The list of authors and speakers for this year’s institute in Albuquerque has me gearing up to get some of those books under my belt before I arrive. I absolutely loved Hanif Abdurraqib’s They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us and am so looking forward to hearing him speak next month. I am thrilled that Karl Marlantes is back with a new novel, Deep River — I’ve already dived into this one and can tell you that all of the majesty and rich characters that made Matterhorn so great are alive and well in this new book. And to top it off, one morning we’ll get to wake up and go listen to Margaret Atwood — how amazing is that!

Please, remember, if your plans changed and you can’t attend Winter Institute this year, let ABA know as soon as possible. We do still have a waiting list and we’d love to get more of those folks into the event.

I hope the season continues to treat you and your stores well. I look forward to seeing many of you in New Mexico next month.

As always, if you ever have a question or comment about ABA, please feel free to contact me at rsindelar@thirdplacebooks.com.

Robert Sindelar
President, American Booksellers Association
Third Place Books
Lake Forest Park and Seattle, Washington