The focus of the ABA Winter Institute is education -- sometimes gained in a panel or a seminar, but, also, through the compelling insights of thoughtful authors and experts.
This year's institute featured two memorable keynote speakers and a thought-provoking roundtable discussion on localism that ended in a standing ovation. If you couldn't attend the Winter Institute, or missed any of these insightful speakers, four videos have been posted on BookWeb.org.
The roundtable discussion featured authors Bill McKibben, Stacy Mitchell, and Michael Shuman, who talked about the unique role booksellers play in their communities, the Shop Local movement, and the growing consumer awareness of the importance of locally owned independent businesses. McKibben is the author of Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future (Holt Paperbacks); Mitchell is the author of Big Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for American's Independent Businesses (Beacon) and is senior researcher for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance; and Shuman is the author of The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition (Berrett-Koehler), is vice president of enterprise development for the Training & Development Corporation, and is co-founder of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies.
Restaurateur Danny Meyer, author of Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business and president of the Union Square Hospitality Group, gave an engaging talk about the importance of hospitality, staff training, and creating a memorable customer experience for restaurants -- and bookstores.
Gary Hirshberg, author of Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World and president and CE-Yo of Stonyfield Farms, passionately argued that it was possible for bookstores to be "green" and to increase profiles and profits.
And, from the Winter Institute's festive author reception, many of the 38 writers who greeted booksellers and signed copies of their latest titles shared their thoughts about books that were especially important to them.