I’m back in balmy Houston (current temperature 60 degrees) after my week in Washington DC at the American Booksellers Association (ABA) Winter Institute. Girlboss dropped me off at the house this morning at about 10:45 and since then I have played with the dogs, napped, and watched college hoops. Girlboss has driven to Galveston to finish up at an off-site event and is working the closing shift at the store. (Reason #1 that I will never own a bookstore.) I can tell you this – sharing a hotel room with someone feels downright spacious after you have spent 10 years sharing a 200 sq ft back room office with them.
I really did learn a lot at the institute, but how much I’ll retain and be able to incorporate into the day-to-day machinations of the store are yet to be seen. I know I’m prone to think grand ideas in my head and have no followthru, grand or otherwise. (Reason #2 that I will never own a bookstore.) One thing that will stay with me is my new perspective on the whole world of independent booksellers. When I started working for girlboss, I worked about 2 hours a week as a minimalist bookkeeper. Over the years I have gotten involved in many of the other areas of the store, and I probably have dabbled in more aspects of the business than almost any other staffer. Every time I understand a little more about how everything works, I appreciate all that girlboss has built. (Reason #3 that I will never own a bookstore.) And knowing more sides of the business does make it even more fun and satisfying to work there. After attending Wi6, my world and perspective has now been expanded to include hundreds of other booksellers, editors and sales reps, and the staff of a trade association that helps tie us all into one community. All these people share a common passion, not only for books, but for wanting to share and spread the joy and importance of reading.
I know, I know. We’re not finding a cure for cancer or creating world peace or feeding the hungry. But we are sparking imaginations and celebrating the human spirit and sharing information and hopefully making our own little corner of the world a better place. And it just might be someone from our little corner of the world that does one day find a cure for cancer or create world peace or feed the hungry. And I am surely OK with that.