This year’s regional bookseller shows, which took place over a six-week period from mid-September through October, drew record numbers of booksellers, reflecting the continued growth of indie bookstores throughout the country. All eight shows were marked by passionate discussions on diversity, robust children's programming, and appearances by prominent authors and illustrators.
The annual Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Discovery Show, held from September 15–17, hosted a strong series of discussions focused on children’s publishing, many of which brought issues of diversity to the forefront. As the show opened, it was announced that Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander would be honored with SIBA’s first Conroy Legacy Award. The prize was named after the late author Pat Conroy and recognizes writers who, in the words of the award citation, “have achieved a lasting impact on their community, demonstrating support for independent bookstores.”
Children’s booksellers and authors came together to discuss ways to increase diverse perspectives in children’s literature at the annual New England Independent Booksellers Association gathering in Providence, R.I. The conference, held September 18–20, was also an opportunity for attendees to celebrate major awards and milestones, including the 30th anniversary of the New England Children’s Book Advisory council.
The politics and practicalities of children’s bookselling took center stage from the moment attendees arrived at the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association gathering in Cherry Hill, N.J., from October 6–8. Authors and illustrators delivered visually and verbally arresting presentations, editors shared their excitement about forthcoming titles, and booksellers discussed ways of reaching a broader clientele through school author event partnerships.
Diversity was a watchword at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association fall trade show, held October 8–10 at Portland’s Red Lion Hotel on the River. “More diverse representation in kids’ and YA books has been more out in force here,” said Sam Kaas of Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Wash., who is PNBA’s Education Committee chair. PNBA’s three-day event kicked off with a bookseller panel, “Beyond the Bookstore Walls: Multicultural Outreach in the Literary Community.”
The joint trade show of the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association and the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association took place October 11–13 in Lombard, Ill., drawing hundreds of booksellers, vendors, and authors. If there was a theme to this year’s gathering, it was that all present play an essential role in getting books into the hands of young readers.
Children’s authors and illustrators, along with programming for children’s booksellers, were among the factors that made the 2017 Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association Fall Discovery Show, held at the Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel from October 12–14, a record-breaker. Attendance, which had been growing steadily in recent years, broke 600, making this the biggest fall trade show the association has mounted since executive director Laura Burnett began running it in 2011. That figure includes 350 booksellers, nearly double the number in 2015. “I’m beyond pleased,” Burnett told PW. “I’m thrilled. I thought all the authors [adult and kids’] were phenomenal and moving.”
Children’s authors played a pivotal role at the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association’s Fall Discovery Show, which was held October 18–20 in San Francisco, sparking discussions on current events and diverse representation that lasted for the entire conference. Nothing But the Truth editor Deborah Santana felt that NCIBA inspired a spirit of unity and a celebration among publishing professionals. “There’s no time like now to look at other people’s lives and bring people together in solidarity and one-ness,” she said. “The people I’ve met here are so eager to join in with this one-ness—to get all voices heard.”
At the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association’s 2017 trade show, which took place October 27–28, members celebrated both increasing diversity and rising sales in the children’s section. The organization itself has grown, moving this year to the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona to accommodate more exhibitors and members.