Dispatch from Winter Institute: Raving and Speculation, in brief

The morning of my first Winter Institute finds me disoriented and groggy. The Starbucks from the hotel lobby tastes of burnt beans and I wonder if maybe patronizing locally-owned vendors of every kind should be a tenet of the ABA. I have been mistaken on two occasions already for Joe Foster of Above the Treeline. My priorities for this conference have changed. I must find Joe Foster and I must eliminate him. I mean, meet him. It’s going to be awkward for him. I know that now.

On the plus-side, I have a new Winter Institute-branded Moleskine. There’s a letter to booksellers on the inside cover from Michael Tucker, the President of the ABA’s Board of Directors, and signed “Yours in Bookselling.” It’s fraternal and honorable, and maybe a little Christ-y, but it’s really just the right note to strike because this isn’t just a conference, this is revival. Amazon is no longer a bogeyman, but a Leviathan, and Len Vlahos is here and he’s gonna cut us out of that beast’s belly and lead us to the mountain. Ebooks are now a part of the landscape, but Google is here and I feel a late-inning rally coming on. Booksellers have their warpaint on. Or maybe I’m just feeling the coffee and mixing metaphors.

I’ll be writing up some books as soon as I decipher my notes, and it’s possible that we’ll see some guest posts from another bookseller or two. Stand by, and in the meantime, a hot tip for you: read Jay Kang here, here, and even here. Do it now, while you wait.


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