Independent bookstores in America are flying high and many are reporting, at least anecdotally, that 2013 was their best year yet. Several have seen gains of 15% or more over the December, according to anecdotal conversations at this year's Winter Institute. the annual convention for indie bookstores organized by the American Booksellers Association (ABA), which was held in Seattle this week.

The fifth iteration of the Winter Institute was the biggest yet, drawing some 500 booksellers from across the United States. It was also the first year where the international community was invited,

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