Beat the girlboss back to the hotel room after dinner so I’m hijacking her laptop for a quick post from the American Booksellers Association (ABA) Winter Institute in Washington DC. I’m am having a great time here. It is really interesting meeting and talking to all these other booksellers and people in the book business. And hearing about all the things they do and all the ideas they have. And being wined and dined. And noting how well respected the girlboss is. And catching everyone’s enthusiasm for books. I really have learned some stuff that I can bring back to Blue Willow with me. I have, of course, broken my vow not to grab too many of the books that are being given away. My back will not be happy with me on the trip home. One really important thing I learned today: one of my pairs of grownup shoes is definitely an 8 hour pair of shoes, not a 15 hour pair of shoes. I will not be wearing my black pants again this trip – at least not with matching shoes.
This morning’s talk was by Bob Phipps, the Retail Doctor. Sounds hokey, I know, but he was an engaging speaker and he did make a lot of good points about retail and how we can be more successful by making some simple upgrades in how we treat customers and market stuff in our store. He started the talk by saying that when he was a boy he felt pretty lost and alone and it was John Steinbeck’s The Red Pony that hooked him on reading and let him escape with his imagination. Even if he made up the story, I was impressed by his choice of authors. I have had more than one conversation this trip that has included observations that booksellers definitely have an instant bond and the similarities between us are greater than our differences. Feeling that I was truly in a roomful of my peers, I was shocked at how few people knew how to make a decent paper airplane (one of his audience participation exercises).
I have had one really brilliant idea of my own this trip. I think that as a public service the full body scanners at airport security should print out your BMI after you walk thru them. Sort of like the old fortune machines that also gave your weight. Maybe that’s why Americans have gotten so fat, no more stepping on a scale in order to get your fortune.
And speaking of fat, I leave you with this quote, “Really there are still goodies left? Usually all the fat people have gotten all the food before I get there.” This, said to me as I was stuffing some spinach-in-puff-pastry-thing in my mouth. Sigh. I’ll walk thru the full body scanner now.