From June 20-22, 2022, Deidre Dumpson, Edelweiss Retail Client Success Manager, and Adam Schleicher, Edelweiss Senior Product Manager, attended Children's Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. Organized by the American Booksellers Association (ABA), Children's Institute is an annual conference that focuses on children's books and bookseller education.
Below, Adam and Deidre share some reflections (and photos!) from the conference and chat about their experience meeting booksellers new and old, leading a training session, and enjoying the bookstores of Phoenix.
Deidre: I arrived in Phoenix on Monday and got to take a tour of bookstores in the area. This was tons of fun and a great opportunity to learn more about booksellers in the city!
Adam: I arrived a little later on Monday and got settled in our hotel. The conference was held at the Arizona Biltmore, which was a stunning resort partially designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
The Arizona Biltmore
I met up with Deidre after she finished her tour. We've been working remotely here at Edelweiss, so this was our first time meeting in person! We both had dinner with Amanda, the Children's buyer at WORD, which is a bookstore in Brooklyn, NY and Jersey City, NJ.
Adam: The conference got into full swing on Tuesday. Deidre and Jenny Cohen, a bookseller from Waucoma Bookstore in Oregon, led an Edelweiss session. The room was pretty much full!
Deidre: Our session was "Edelweiss 411 For Buyers," and it walked folks through the process of ordering on Edelweiss. Jenny and I split up the attendees. I took novice Edelweiss users through the basics, and she led roundtables with intermediate users to offer tips and tricks to streamline the buying process.
Adam: And, I ran around answering any questions. There was a ton of peer discussion going on, and it was really cool to see not only Deidre and Jenny teaching things but also booksellers teaching each other.
Booksellers at the Edelweiss 411 for Buyers session
Adam: After our presentation, Deidre and I spent the rest of the day at the "Consultation Station." This was a table where booksellers could stop by to learn more about our products or ask specific questions, and we get to hand out swag. WE. WERE. BUSY.
Deidre: At the Consultation Station, we connected with a ton of bookstores including El Taller, Skylight Books, Belmont Books, Print Bookstore, Cover to Cover, Rediscovered Books/Once and Future Books, McLean & Eakin, and Sistah Scifi.
We found ourselves sharing a lot of tips for ordering, creating saved filters, and general title discovery in Edelweiss. We also talked about Edelweiss360 for Bookstores, which helps booksellers with targeted email marketing and answered quite a few questions about Analytics too.
Adam: Once Consultation station was done, Deidre and I stopped by a reception hosted by Bookshop.org and visited the ABA's author reception.
Deidre: Then, Adam and I had dinner with Corinne, who's a bookseller at Lost City Books in D.C.
Adam: We went to Renata's Hearth, which was located in the hotel, and ate a ton of food:
Lots of good eats
Adam: After dinner, we stopped by a Scholastic-hosted event where the publisher showcased a few new graphic novels.
Hannah, the founder of Loyalty Bookstore in D.C. and Silver Spring, MD, joined Deidre, Corinne, and I in taking full advantage of their Photobooth:
Deidre: Wednesday was another full day at the Consultation Station! Like Tuesday, we again were quite busy teaching booksellers how to make the most out of Edelweiss+ and their Analytics subscriptions.
Adam: Things went great, and it was awesome to be present and in person with booksellers and put a ton of faces to names. We got a bunch of "I love you guys!" from people passing by, and we got a multiple folks commenting on how great our support team is.
Deidre: Our experience over these three days reinforced for me that we are at a really interesting moment in the book world-- there are SO MANY new bookstores, and it was fantastic to connect with them. We are committed to playing a part in the health of bookstores new and old, and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together. Overall, exciting times!
Thank you to all the booksellers who made our Children's Institute experience unforgettable!