Andrews McMeel Publishing joined more than 1,000 attendees as a sponsor at The American Booksellers Association’s 15th annual Winter Institute (Wi15) in Baltimore January 21 – 24. Independent booksellers, publishers and authors gathered for four days of inspiration and information through educational, networking and special events at the annual conference.
Kirsty Melville, Cat Vaughn, Sarah Peiper and Kathy Hilliard represented Andrews McMeel by taking part in a number of informative sessions, with subjects ranging from children’s book selling to pre-order campaigns to event management. The Town Hall Meeting provided a lively exchange of ideas, suggestions and topics of concern to booksellers, including robust competition from Amazon, health insurance, minimum wage, sustainability and pricing issues.
“Winter Institute is a vibrant gathering of people celebrating a common interest and love: the world of books,” said Melville. “It provides a tremendous opportunity to strengthen our relationships with some of the most important advocates integral to spreading the news of our books. Independent booksellers are thoughtful, engaged, passionate and savvy businesspeople, and trusted advisers in their communities. It is always refreshing and inspiring to meet and exchange ideas, and to share our featured books and authors with them at the conference.”
In two days of speed-dating meetings with booksellers, the AMU team enthusiastically talked up some of our featured spring titles, including: a fire like you by Upile Chisala, Tomorrow’s Woman by Greta Bellamacina, Dear Girl by Aija Mayrock, Prince Neptune by Cody Simpson, I Left the House Today! by Cassandra Calin, War and Peas by Jonathan Kunz and Elizabeth Pich, and a variety of Epic! Original titles, ranging from Pterapunzel (“Once Before Time” Book 3) to The Friend Thief (“Diary of a Teenage Outlaw” Book 2).
AMP’s international presence was highlighted by two of our featured guests at the Author Reception – Chisala, from Johannesburg, and Bellamacina, from London. They joined Judith Martin (aka Miss Manners, Minding Miss Manners In an Era of Fake Etiquette) and Catana Chetwyd (Snug), who delighted booksellers by signing advance copies or galleys of their forthcoming books at this signature event. Other notable (non-AMP) authors at the conference included Jeanine Cummins (American Dirt), Erik Larson (The Splendid and the Vile), James McBride (Deacon King Kong) and Julia Alverez (Afterlife).
The annual event also celebrated a changing of the guard, as ABA CEO Oren Teicher retired after 10 years and passed the torch to incoming CEO Allison Hill. The ABA is already planning Winter Institute 16, which will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio, in February 2021.