We made it to Kansas City and back! Despite major snowstorms before and after, Erica Warshal and I made it safely to and from the American Booksellers Association’s 8th Annual Winter Institute last week. We are thrilled to take part each year with other publishing houses, big and small. This year’s institute was particularly strong for ABRAMS, with informative panels, a new bookseller focus session, and with a debut author for Amulet Books taking the spotlight.



The best part of the show is seeing good bookseller friends. I jumped at the chance to give Jessica from Northshire Books in Northshire, VT a hug.aba-2


The first major session was about the Kobo, which provides e-readers to Independent booksellers. Michael Tamblyn, Chief Content Officer, gave a lively talk about the history of Kobo, its reach around the world, and where it expects to go in the future. Erica snagged a photo with Michael and Lorna Ruby, buyer for Wellesley Booksmith Booksellers, Wellesley, MA.


Erica also gave a warm hug to Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL.

Even with my eyes closed, I was able to find Cristy McDanold of Secret Garden Books in Seattle, WA.


If you know Erica, you know she knows how to talk! And talk she did to booksellers during the reps picks luncheon. Booksellers from around the country circulated to her table to hear Erica’s top choices from across all of our imprints.


During the show, there is a room designated for free galley giveaways. Two Amulet titles, Bruised and In the Shadow of Blackbirds, were up for grabs.



Newly added to WI 8 were focus groups with publishers and booksellers. We had a very informative discussion with our people, who represented a terrific group of stores from around the country. Pictured are (from l.) the participants: Charlie Leonard, the Bookcase, Wayzata, Minn.; Ed Conklin, Chaucer’s, Santa Barbara, Calif.; Mary Adams, the Annapolis Bookshop, Annapolis, Md.; Richard Deupree, Katy Budget Books, Houston, Texas; Gloria Noriega, Books & Books, Coral Gables, Fla.; Slade Lewis, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.; Wendy Manning, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Wash.; Jan Hall, Partners Village Bookstore, Westport, Mass.; Erica Warshal, Abrams; Susannah Long, DIESEL, Santa Monica, Calif.; Wendy Hudson, Nantucket Bookworks, Nantucket, Mass.; and Mary Beth Nebel, I Know You Like a Book, Peoria Heights, Ill. This photo was featured in ShelfAwareness on February 27, 2013!



My favorite panel at the show was the one about Core Curriculum Standards and how booksellers and publishers can reap the benefits of this new initiative. It was as much a panel as it was a wakeup call—the panelists each had thoughts on how to get in on the expected upswing in sales for “informative books” as children are required to read more of them. Pictured below is Richard Buthod, of Turtleback Books in St. Louis, holding the actual Common Core guidelines. Not a fun carry-on item!



An unexpected visitor made an appearance after the panel. A cardboard President Obama is pictured with Monica and Valerie from Hicklebees’ Books, San Jose, CA, and Becky Anderson from Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL.


Now for something larger than life! Our featured author this year was Trevor Pryce, famed retired football player for the Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, and New York Jets. An enthusiastic line of booksellers came to meet him during the author reception, including Heather Hebert from Children’s Book World, Haverford, PA.


After the reception we hosted an intimate dinner with Trevor and six booksellers at Lidia Bastianich’s restaurant Lidia’s Italy. She is one of the most-loved chefs on television, a best-selling cookbook author, and restaurateur. We were so excited to eat cuisine inspired by her true Italian roots. Here’s the menu that greeted Trevor and our guests.


When it was finally time to go, Erica and I were determined to prove how short we really are next to Trevor.


Another successful WI behind us, we definitely made our mark with booksellers in Kansas City and look forward to next year, in Seattle, WA.


Jason Wells is Executive Director for Children’s Marketing & Publicity at ABRAMS. 

on Monday, March 4th, 2013
in Conferences
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