"[Y]ou have such a February face, so full of frost, of storm and cloudiness."
Last month, two members of the Island Books staff, Nancy Shawn and I, attended the American Booksellers Association's 15th annual Winter Institute in Baltimore. This conference is an annual opportunity for booksellers, independent bookstore owners, authors, publishers, distributors, and vendors to come together to meet and network, discuss best practices in the industry, and of course get a sneak peek at the books coming out over the next year. I won't bore you with the details, however, if you've read this far, you should come into the store and ask for a free ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of an unpublished book because we shipped a lot of back from the conference.
For me, the highlight of the conference was the opening morning keynote "Reinventing the Store: Achieving Growth in the Face of New Business Risks" by Dr. Ryan L. Raffaelli, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Dr. Raffaelli spent the last eight years studying independent bookstores. He writes in his paper:
My research examines how industries, organizations, and business leaders reinvent themselves in the face of radical technological change. In the context of retail, seismic shifts are affecting the way consumers engage with online, big box, and local retailers. Independent bookstores provide a story of hope for community-led businesses.
Both his keynote and his paper highlight the "3C's" that have led to the resurgence of independent bookstores: community, curation, and convening. His whitepaper on the topic can be found here.
In the spirit of Dr. Raffaelli's 3C's, there's a lot happening at Island Books this February. First, in the spirit of the first C -- community -- we are hosting three local author events this month. Kelli Estes will join us on February 9th, Jennifer Longo on February 16th, and Lisa Fain and Lois Zachary on February 26th to celebrate each of their respective new releases. Next up, there's Valentine's Day on February 14, and in the spirit of the second C -- curation -- we have a fantastic selection of carefully curated cards, gifts, and of course books for your valentine. (Please note: we can't guarantee a fantastic, carefully curated selection of anything if you arrive late in the day on February 14th, so shop early.) Finally, in the spirit of the third C -- convening -- our Cookbook Book Club will meet on February 23rd at 5:30pm. Laurie and I have been cooking out of Half Baked Harvest Super Simple for the past month, and we love it.
Finally as an extra bonus in the spirit of the first C, Laurie and I will be attending the Mercer Island Youth and Family Services (MIYFS) Foundation breakfast on February 12th. In addition, Island Books is joining other businesses in donating 20% of our sales on February 12th to support MIYFS. We will also be hosting Blind Date with a book, asking for a suggested donation of $5 towards MIYFS per Blind Date. MIYFS does important work within our community to provide a broad variety of programs, services, and expertise that support the wellness of families of all Mercer Islanders. We hope you join us in supporting MIYFS in any way that you can.
Have a great February! We'll see you in the store.