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Milwaukee book stores in spotlight for national bookseller conference

By Kaylee Staral,


Over 300 booksellers from across the world flocked to Milwaukee for the 2023 Children’s Institute hosted by the American Booksellers Association (ABA).

The new president of ABA, Tegan Tigani, said the event brings the event is a three-day-long trade show and education conference for booksellers, publishers, and authors alike.

“We get to actually go out in the neighborhoods and see the communities Milwaukee is serving, and see how they are connecting with them. It’s wonderful,” Tigani exclaimed.

The first day kicked off with a city-wide book tour that highlighted local Milwaukee bookstores.

The tour included stops at Boswell Book Company, Lion’s Tooth, Rooted MKE, La Revo Books, and Rainbow Booksellers.

The owner of the building where Rainbow Booksellers sits, Dan Schley welcomed the guests from out of state. He said the store is a long-time anchor of the Washington Heights and East Wauwatosa neighborhoods.

“It’s really exciting. I’ve lived here since 1984 so I find joy in being able to share my neighborhood with people who don’t know much about Milwaukee,” Schley smiled.

Booksellers at the store stared in awe at a book mural decorating the side of the building before heading back on the bus.

Tigani said the conference inspires the sellers with ideas for their own stores back home.

“The way the stores are being done here are being taken back to all these other cities around the country,” Schley said.

The last stop of the day took the group to the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network in the Third Ward, where La Revo Books has a pop-up.

“We were one of the stops and we welcomed everyone to our store and space, but also our model which is really unique,” Valeria Credo, co-owner of La Revo Books, said.

Their businesses travel to different events around Milwaukee, selling new and used books for and by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

ABA is a national not-for-profit organization that supports the success of independent bookstores. Registration for the conference is closed, but Tigani encourages everyone to get involved and support their local bookstores.

For more information, you can visit their website.

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