January 22, 2018
Booksellers descend on Memphis for Winter Institute
by Peter Clark
If you’re one of the booksellers fortunate enough to be attending Winter Institute this year, well… you’re probably not reading this post. That’s because instead you’re frantically removing underwear from your suitcase to make extra room for galleys or completing the last round of a juice cleanse before a week of festivities. Winter Institute is just about the most fun a biblio-nerd can have (aside from shelving Dinesh D’Souza in the horror section).
This year’s Winter Institute—the thirteenth year of the gathering, which we’re calling WI13—is expected to be the largest yet. Hosted by the American Booksellers Association, it’s a convention that highlights the struggles and glories of independent bookselling. From point-of-sale systems to book-buying techniques to staff management, industry professionals gather to trade tips in the timeless quest to improve their stores, hop onto new trends, and, of course, sell more books.
From a publisher’s perspective, it’s a great opportunity to support booksellers and give them a sneak peek into our upcoming projects. For that reason, we’re bringing three incredible authors this year for everyone to meet. Tom Malmquist, author of In Every Moment We Are Still Alive, has been selected as an Indies Introduce and Indie Next pick. He’s flying all the way from Sweden to talk autofiction and reflect on grief in the midst of a crisis. Shaun Bythell, author of The Diary of a Bookseller, is coming from Scotland, hot off the UK release of his hilarious memoir. A bookseller himself, he’ll be sharing the charming and fraught anecdotes of his life that are already making his book an international success. And finally, Marc Perrusquia, author of A Spy in Canaan, will be on hand to talk about the mysteries of his native Memphis. Marc spent over a decade tracking down information on one of the FBI’s informants within the civil rights movement — a person that happened to be friends with Martin Luther King, Jr. and part of his entourage.
We’ll also be hosting three—count ’em, three—dinners, and presenting other titles in rep pick sessions. Last year, we accidentally hired a stretch limo to a restaurant, so the possibilities are truly endless.
When you’re not giving me multiple high-fives, stocking up on galleys in the galley room, or sporting the surprise swag that we’re bringing this year, you might find yourself at one of the amazing events in this Winter Institute guide.
We look forward to seeing you this week! Come say hello!
(Also, I’ve been told that I’m obligated to sing karaoke again this year. Yikes.)
Peter Clark is the sales manager at Melville House.