Sara Gruen on ABA's Winter Institute

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On Thursday, October 12, Sara Gruen, author of independent booksellers' handselling favorite Water for Elephants (Algonquin), sent the following e-mail to members of the American Booksellers Association:


Dear Bookseller Friends,

The wonderful success of Water for Elephants this past year has been in no small measure thanks to the community of independent booksellers. You have my heartfelt thanks for everything you've done for the book and for me.

But there was one event in particular that really helped launch Water for Elephants: ABA's Winter Institute in Long Beach, California. The value of connecting with so many of you in such an intimate setting was an experience I won't soon forget. And from what I've seen and heard in my travels, and from what I have heard from Craig [Popelars, marketing director] at Algonquin, the booksellers in Long Beach felt the same way.

ABA is holding its second annual Winter Institute -- this time in Portland, Oregon, February 1 and 2 -- and I just wanted to take a moment to encourage you to attend. Not only will you be treated to a stellar program of education, and not only will you have the chance to network with one another, but you will once again have a wonderful opportunity to meet and greet authors and to talk about books.

To find out more about the Winter Institute, visit ABA's website.

Warm Regards,
Sara Gruen

ABA Education Director Len Vlahos told BTW, "We're honored that Sara would take time out of her busy schedule to extend this invitation. It underscores the important relationships that exist between authors and independent booksellers."

Vlahos also noted that registration for the two-day education program, which is on a first-come, first-served basis and capped at 500 booksellers, is now more than half full, and he encouraged booksellers who wish to participate to register as soon as possible. The Winter Institute education program, which is free for all ABA member booksellers -- owners and staff -- will be held at the Doubletree Portland-Lloyd Center in Portland, Oregon, on Thursday and Friday, February 1 and 2, 2007. The event registration deadline is Wednesday, November 15.

ABA member booksellers can register for the Winter Institute, as well as make hotel reservations, through the association's trade website, The association has negotiated a special rate of $99 per night at the Doubletree Portland-Lloyd Center for attendees. All hotel reservations must be made through ABA; the hotel will not take direct reservations for this event. Booking is through the online form on the ABA site. Hotel reservations, and changes, must be made by January 3, 2007.

Education sessions and special events, which include most meals, fill the two days. ABA is encouraging booksellers to arrive in Portland on Wednesday, January 31, as programming begins at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday with a Welcome Breakfast, followed by the plenary session, "A Whole New Mind," featuring bestselling author Daniel Pink.