This year’s regional bookseller shows, which took place over a six-week period from mid-September through October, benefited from the continued growth of the indie bookstore channel, which brought in more new bookstore owners and younger frontline booksellers. All eight shows were marked by high energy, strong programming, and dozens of authors.
Children's authors and illustrators along with children's programming were deeply woven into the fabric of the 43rd annual New England Independent Booksellers Association fall conference, held at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence from September 20–22. Booksellers and publishers alike gave the show high marks. Ellen Richmond, owner of Children's Book Cellar in Waterville, Maine, said, "There was really good energy, and people are looking forward to the next season."
With so many new booksellers entering the business and new store openings, NEIBA used its day and a half of educational programming to provide panels with information for newbies. The sessions also served as refreshers for long-time general and children's booksellers alike. Below are some of the most helpful ideas culled from sessions on Selling More Nonfiction, What Reps See, and Growing a Children's Bookseller: Demystifying Stages of Reading from Birth to YA.
The Southern Independent Bookstore Alliance Discovery Show, held September 16–18 in Savannah, Ga., featured several notable children's and YA authors. Among the highlights was a Friday afternoon panel discussion featuring a quartet of YA authors, called "What to Read Next." The panel included Maggie Thrash, Leah Konen, Ryan Graudin, and Zoraida Cordova.
At this year's Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association trade show, held September 29–October 2 in Tacoma, Wash., books for younger readers held their own against big-name adult draws. With a blend of realism – high school dramas and coming-of-age stories remain popular – and the more fantastic end of the spectrum, with dragons and other mythical creatures abounding, there was something for everyone.
What this year's Heartland Fall Forum, held Oct. 5–7 in Minneapolis, lacked in terms of bookseller attendance, it made up for in enthusiasm, especially when it came to children's books and authors. The booksellers who attended said that meeting authors is just as important to them as checking out publishers’ newest offerings – and the children’s book authors at Heartland fully delivered.
With 15 new stores signing on as members in 2016, the Mountains and Plains Independent Bookstore Association is booming. In all, some 221 booksellers attended this year's MPIBA Fall Discovery Show, held in Denver from October 6–8, and the mood was positively giddy. The author programming began on Thursday morning with a breakfast session featuring a trio of top children’s authors.
"It was great to see my 'old-timer' friends and yet it was incredibly refreshing to see all the younger people," said Francine Lucidon, owner of The Voracious Reader in Larchmont, N.Y., one of a number of booksellers and publishers alike who were inspired by the number of younger booksellers who attended the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association fall conference in Baltimore.
The New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association fall conference may have been short – it opened with a preview supper in a room overlooking the Baltimore waterfront on Saturday. October 15 and ended on Monday afternoon, October 17, following a Moveable Feast – but it was packed with education.
"You are my people, and I love you," exclaimed Jon Scieszka, emcee of the Children's Awards Breakfast at the 2016 SCIBA Fall Trade Show. The ensuing laughter set the tone for the session and the show, held October 21–22 at the Garland Hotel in North Hollywood.