In late January I had the privilege of attending the American Booksellers Association Winter Institute meeting held in Minneapolis. Now while the prospect of spending a week in late January in Minnesota may not sound like much of a privilege the opportunity to be surrounded by 650 other booksellers and countless authors, publishers and book distributors all there to share ideas, information and to learn from each other certainly was a privilege that would make anyone want to open a bookstore just so that they could be invited to attend.
The day before the meeting started 40 people, myself included , signed up for an all day Book Store Boot camp course designed to introduce new bookstore owners and prospective bookstore owners to the art and believe it or not the science of running a successful bookstore. By the time January rolled around our bookstore had actually already been open a year but I felt that having done everything flying by the seat of my pants for the first year maybe in the second year I would actually find out what I might have missed along the way. I did indeed pick up some pearls of wisdom in that class and even more by talking with bookstore owners from around the globe ( interestingly enough even though it is called the American Booksellers Association there was quite a contingent of bookstore owners from both England and Canada in attendance). I won’t bore you with all that I learned at the convention – in today’s blog at least; but I will tell you that we have already started asking people to write short recommendations of their favorite books, we have contacted more publishers so that we can expand what we have to offer in store, and we are working on an exciting idea for more children’s programming in our area. Oh, and did I mention I met Andrew McCarthy ? Yes, that’s right , the guy from Pretty in Pink , St. Elmo’s Fire and Weekend at Bernie’s is now an author and has a new YA (Young Adult) title coming out soon ! If I did not already love the day to day life that is owning a bookstore attending this meeting would have been a reason to open a store. It is like the biggest of book festival all under one roof and even better next year it will be held in Memphis so this Southern girl won’t have to freeze.
Now it is time to prepare for a busy season as St. Francisville plays host to The Writers & readers Symposium February 18-19, 2017 followed by The 46th Annual Audubon Pilgrimage March 17-19 and The Fourth Annual Walker Percy WeekendJune 2-4, 2017. Bring it on, we continue to live and learn , to grow and to improve and to read on.