Wi5: Membership Has Its Benefits

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The American Booksellers Association's Fifth Winter Institute (Wi5), to be held from Wednesday through Friday, February 3 - 5, 2010, in San Jose, California, will offer many benefits for attending bookstore and provisional members. Those who have not registered yet are urged to do so. Registration is currently open and is being filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and will be capped at 500. Ingram Book Company/Ingram Publisher Services sponsors the annual ABA event.

Given the Silicon Valley location, the focus of this year's event is on technology, with a full day devoted to technology education on Wednesday, February 3. However, tech talk is only the beginning, said ABA COO Len Vlahos. "We have 33 sessions and plenary speakers -- 23 of which are new to this event -- covering a wide range of topics for booksellers of all levels," he reported. "Also, after an amazing buzz from last year's opening reception at Sam Weller's Books, we are grateful that Kepler's Books has volunteered to host the opening reception. It's a great atmosphere to connect with old friends, make new friends, and explore a Bay Area, landmark independent bookstore."

Vlahos added that because San Jose is a major Southwest Airlines hub it offers many low-cost flights from many destinations. Moreover, because the hotel is so close to the airport, booksellers will not need to rent a car if they are coming from out of town.

This year's program includes sessions on understanding how mobile technology is affecting bookselling, how booksellers are creating new business models to stay relevant and viable, how to handsell in the digital age, how to buy non-book items, and more. Details on the full program are below. The Institute will also feature myriad special events, including a stellar author reception, rep picks sessions, a free galley room, and bookseller-publisher "cafes."

The Winter Institute is a member benefit open only to regular and provisional members. ABA has negotiated a hotel rate of $115/night at the Doubletree San Jose hotel. The only additional cost is a $50 non-refundable meal fee to offset some of the food costs. (Wi5 will include two breakfasts and three lunches, and host receptions each night.) Booksellers attending past Winter Institutes have found a great way to save travel expenses is to share hotel rooms. If you want to find a roommate for the event, simply add a posting to ABA's online bookseller forum.

Wi5 session descriptions and the complete education schedule are available on BookWeb's Wi5 Event pages. Questions may be addressed to Wi5@bookweb.org