February 2, 2017
Highlights of Winter Institute 2017
by Peter Clark
For those of you that don’t go down the bookselling rabbit hole too often, Winter Institute is an amazing annual conference where publishers and booksellers look at best practices, the year ahead in books, and how to make reading better for all.
Said another way, BOOKS MAKE THE WORLD AWESOME AND BOOKS ARE GREAT AND TRUMP IS DUMB AND EVERYONE THAT DISAGREES CAN POUR BOILING LEAD INTO THEIR STUPID NON-READING EYEBALLS!!!!
For anyone that wants a full debrief of the weekend, you can find it at Shelf Awareness. But my main takeaway was the solidarity and kindness of our nation’s booksellers. I spent my weekend with some of the most amazing people, all gathering in the wintry tundra of Minneapolis to talk about what they love. I have come away with immense trust and faith that booksellers can make positive change in their communities. Around the country, they are exploring the new political landscape and #resisting in the ways they can. Education tends to be the longest-lasting kind of resistance anyway, and books are really the best way to provide it.
If nothing else, everyone should encourage themselves and their friends to ask a bookseller for a recommendation. They are the most knowledgable bibliophiles in the world—period—and they know how to put the right book in your hands. Just to name a few without names, a big shout-out to the bookseller that hand-sells Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me to the alpha males who stroll into her shop. And the bookseller who preaches the gospel of Charlie Jane Anders (I’m a convert too). And all of the booksellers that make their stores places of moral refuge and integrity.
Here are a couple other highlights:
And if you’ve made it this far down, you’re probably actually a bookseller. So let me say thank you for doing what you do. It is a noble and vital profession, one that you all do every day with poise and expertise. I freakin’ love you guys.
Peter Clark is a former Melville House sales manager.