Wi4, or How I Survived the Plague

I would just like to start out by saying that I did take pictures… but all of them are blurry. I like to think this is a combined effect of busy-crazy-fun and plague-induced shakiness, and not just the latter. So no pictures; sorry folks!

But if you want a blow-by-blow look at the inside of a bookseller trade show, you are in luck. Twitter to the rescue! Several of the attendees (one of them local) updated the entire time, from their sessions, dinners, and everything in between.

The conference started off with a bang — we had 100+ folks flood the store Wednesday night, shopping, schmoozing, and enjoying the delicious baking prowess of Les Madeleines (cooooookies) and Carlucci’s Bakery (fruit tarts = heaven). The staff had a blast, and we’re pretty sure everyone else did too.

Then on Thursday, it was Local First Day. 250+ booksellers met to hear about our very own Buy Local First movement, presented by leading lights of Salt Lake including our owner Betsy Burton and rockstar local author Terry Tempest Williams. I heard through the grapevine (I was here at the store giving impromptu tours to booksellers who made their way down from the Marriott) that Terry made everyone cry (in a good way) — the woman just has a way about her! Then it was Sam Weller’s turn to host their own party, complete with dance floor. You ain’t seen nothin’ till you’ve seen booksellers boogie!

Friday was a whirlwind — between the amazing keynote, the insanely informative lunch with reps, my VERY FIRST PANEL (at which I did not giggle or say umm, I’m pretty sure, and am therefore considering a complete and utter triumph of public speaking), and the truly awesome Emerging Leaders party with Emily Mandel, Eric Barnes, and the wonderful folks at Unbridled Books, I didn’t have time to realize that I had contracted …. dun dun DUN … The Plague. I just thought I lost my voice. Or rather, I did lose my voice, I just didn’t realize it was a symptom of the greater evil.

Apparently the ABA were all a little under the weather, and were missing several colleagues due to a virulent strain of who knows what. I understand there were other victims, though I didn’t meet any personally. All I know is that I can’t remember much of Saturday morning, aside from begging the lovely Guinevere from Vroman’s to lend me her hotel room for a nap and then promptly passing out until 4:30 p.m., at which point I tried to reinsert myself into the conference, discovered that The Plague had other plans, gave up and went home.

Three days later, I’m just starting to feel better. And that, my friends, is my story. Well worth it, all told, but I am glad to say goodbye to the ABA Plague, even though it means that all my bookselling friends are gone. See you at BEA!

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