Small and university presses took center stage last Thursday at the ABA Winter Institute in Memphis, beginning with a breakfast event in the main ballroom of the Cook Convention Center during which several reps for small and university press sponsors presented upcoming titles of interest. Afterward, booksellers had the opportunity to meet with publishers in the ballroom foyer for informal conversations. This was followed, at noon, by a small press luncheon, a first for the Winter Institute.
|Kelli María Korducki, author of Hard to Do: The Surprising Feminist History of Breaking Up; & Alana Wilcox, editorial director at Coach House Books|
"We're going to try something a little different this year," ABA CEO Oren Teicher had said before the breakfast event began. "On the lobby level, we're going to do our small press reception. Generally, in previous institutes, we've done it at the very end. We're going to do it over lunch and there will be authors from our smaller and university presses.... We know that your interest in supporting our small and independent presses is really important."
The change made for an almost communal flow to the proceedings, reflecting a mutual admiration society that has long been a hallmark of the indie bookseller/small press relationship. This was evident in the animated conversations among publishers and booksellers at each venue. The connection was also highlighted by several of the presenters during the rep picks breakfast.
"I'm sincerely grateful to be here among this legion of smart, caring, kind, resourceful and indomitable independent booksellers. Especially smart, though," said Richard Hunt of AdventureKEEN. Last June, the publisher donated 100% of profits generated by sales of its titles at independent bookstores to support the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. For 2018, Hunt said, "We're going to do Shop Local, Live Local all year long, and we're devoting 6% of sales all year--3% go to Binc, 3% go to back to your store."
|Becky Kraemer of Cursive Communications & Marketing; Anne Bowman, North American sales manager for Faber & Faber; & Ed Scotland of Mr. B's Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath, England|
Also expressing gratitude for indie support was Timothy Wilkins of Princeton University Press: "Thank you for all you do, not just for our books but for everyone's books. You guys are a real resource and we really appreciate what you're doing."
David Goldberg of MIT Press noted that "working with indie booksellers is truly one of the highlights of my job, and you may not realize that in addition to publishing brilliant, beautiful and groundbreaking books, the MIT Press also has our very own bookstore in Cambridge, Mass."
"This is our opportunity as publishers to thank you for what you've done for our books, all the hard work you've put in this past year," said Gianna LaMorte of University of Texas Press.
Noting that Quercus is celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2018, Nathaniel Marunas observed, "I want to say that this is in large part due to your efforts. Independent bookstores are where our list is truly at home. If only the ABA had made this a day drinking sort of affair, I'd be raising a toast to all of you for all your efforts. So thank you very much." --Robert Gray