The last day of Wi5 started with the second half of Reps Picks Speed Dating over breakfast. Again this session was one the most impressive things I have done at Wi5. The rest of the day was made up of some really fantastic breakout sessions where booksellers could get and share advice about dealing with landlords, advocacy, getting better rates on credit cards and an IndieBound Design Workshop.
The design bookshop showed members how to use images provided by IndieBound and create store’s own posters, bookmarks and other promotional material unique to each store. The workshop went through all the basics and into some more complicated examples so there was information to be gained for booksellers with all types of computer experience.
At lunch time Daniel Pink gave a presentation from his new book “Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us”. As with every guest speaker at Wi5 he was on the money and had some great insights into how to keep your staff motivated. He also made a great point about digitiziation, saying that in the mad scramble to digitize as much as possible the things that cannot be digitized will be with worth a higher premium. A very valuable piece of advice to keep in mind.
After lunch were more breakout sessions. I attended a Video Lab session presented by the impressive ABA Market Manager Paige Poe. Using the Flip Camera (but easily applicable to any video device, phone included) she demonstrated how booksellers can take the power of handselling online. Again the session was clear and catered for those with limited knowledge through to those who had more understanding of the different software.
The conference wrapped with a small reception and the next Winter Institute was announced as being held in Washington DC. Awesome.
The whole Wi5 conference has been one of the most valuable experiences I have ever had. I have learned so much and my understanding of the industry is even stronger. I have met some really fantastic booksellers who I hope to stay in contact with (which is easy now with Twitter, I’ve doubled my followers here!).
I would like to thank Oren Teicher, Len Vlahos and Meg Smith for allowing me to attend the conference and congratulate them on a conference that was above and beyond anything I have ever attended (BEA has nothing on Winter Institute). I hope future Australian Bookseller Conferences can even be a tenth of what The Winter Institute is. I can’t possible list all the other booksellers and ABA staff that have helped me while here but I will single out Andrea Vuleta, Paige Poe, Matt Supko, Dan Cullen and Jenn Northington.
Last but definitely not least (she probably thought I was going to leave her off!) I have to say a HUGE thank you to Guinevere Platt. She was lumped on the first night with the job of looking after me (a truly horrible job, I know). Luckily we both hit it off. So not only did I have a chaperone, tour guide, translator and bodyguard for the whole conference but I also had a really, good friend who I am now going to miss!