|Biltmore Estate. Image found here|
In addition to attending lots of educational sessions that will help me be a better bookseller/ manager/ buyer/ HR person for my store, I'll get to hear various keynote speakers. This year John Green, Steven Johnson, and Azar Nafisi are the headliners. I've never heard the latter two give a talk before, but John Green is one of the most dynamic speakers I've ever had the pleasure of listening to, so I'm pretty excited.
Betwixt and between all of these educational things will be fun lunches, in which reps from dozens of publishing houses will do speed dating with booksellers, pitching us their favorite books for the upcoming season before moving on the next table of booksellers. There's also a magical, mystical place called The Galley Room, where I can meander through and help myself to advance reading copies galore. And, of course, it wouldn't be complete without the two nights of author receptions, where booksellers stand in line to meet several dozen authors and get books signed for FREE.
I pretty much have the best job in the world, so attending Winter Institute is the icing on the cake. It helps that it's the perfect size. Capped at 500 independent bookseller attendees, it's a few times larger than my regional New England trade show, and many, many times smaller than BEA, which is a monster of a show.
Asheville is a pretty amazing destination in and of itself, and I'm pretty darned excited to be returning there. I've only been there a couple of times before, so I don't know it well, but I definitely know it well enough to anticipate a most excellent time there. I'll be back next week to post about my experiences, my new best friends, and my new favorite books.
* You might have noticed that I said "probably not" up there. As a matter of fact, I will be attending an author dinner on the Biltmore Estate on Monday night, so depending on when you read this post, there's a chance that I'll be sitting there, quite agog, at my great good fortune. About which, more anon, but with luck, I will acquit myself there in the manner of Chauncey Gardiner from Being There.