At a time when nonbook items have become a significant part of many stores’ sales, BookExpo is upping its commitment to sidelines by setting up a separate exhibit hall for book-related sideline vendors under the UnBound umbrella. Choosing as its tagline “a collection of bookish goods,” UnBound will offer an alternative gift show for time-pressed booksellers who can’t typically attend both a gift show and BookExpo. Admission to UnBound is included as part of BookExpo.

Led by a stationery industry veteran, Patti Stracher-Lee, who was named events director of Reed Exhibitions last fall, UnBound will showcase close to 100 vendors in 25 categories this year (see p. 44) for a list of attending vendors). Each of the vendors has been vetted carefully. “We want stores to be delighted,” says Stracher-Lee.

To distinguish UnBound from other sidelines shows for booksellers, Stracher-Lee says she plans to highlight “new resources that are hard to find, but have the business structure that can deliver.” Instead of vendors whose toys and other products have become ubiquitous, UnBound will feature the creative play brand Eco-Kids. There will be baby milestone books and other products from Lucy Darling, which specializes in keepsakes; and pencils from Blackwing, whose Blackwing 602 pencil was favored by writers like John Steinbeck and Stephen Sondheim. North Ave Candles is exhibiting its literary candles; Australia’s Sock It Up its novelty socks; and GeoCentral, crystals and rocks.

For Stephanie Larason, brand and marketing director of Taza Chocolate in Somerville, Mass., UnBound offers an opportunity to reach more independent booksellers, which have proved to be a good fit for its stone-ground chocolate. Taza’s products are already available at some bookstores, including Harvard Book Store in Cambridge and Trident Booksellers in Boston. Indie bookstores outside New England have begun stocking the chocolate, too. “What we’ve been finding,” she says, “is that there’s a lot of word of mouth in the independent bookselling community. My instinct is that the consumer who shops [at independent bookstores] is looking for something different, something unique.” That’s what Taza prides itself on offering.

In conjunction with the exhibits, UnBound is offering presentations about sidelines on the Choice Stage. Lisa Uhrik, president of Franklin Fixtures, which creates display shelving and fixtures for bookstores, will talk on visual merchandising basics and on the design practices of successful stores. A panel with booksellers will focus on developing sidelines, while another presentation will highlight product trends.

But even with all the attention that BookExpo is giving to sidelines and UnBound, Stracher-Lee says she is only getting started. “UnBound is a launch,” she notes. “It has a future, and we’re investing in it.”

UnBound Is Here!

Take a look at who’s selling what—and where to find them


Booth 2849

2020 Vision USA supplies eco-friendly reading glasses and sunglasses to independent bookstores worldwide. This is a socially conscious brand that aims to promote positive change in the world with a policy of giving back.

Attic Journals

Booth 2133

A purveyor of gift and decor items—including journals, garlands, mini notebooks, jewelry, and more—Attic Journals is committed to sustainability, offsetting the book-discard pipeline by upcycling as much as possible of what the company calls “long forgotten books” in its line of products.


Booth 2623

For more than 38 years, Avanti Press in Detroit purports to “entertain the world with its “feel good funny” greeting cards. Avanti means “move forward,” and the company is dedicated to constant innovation in both content and product quality.


Booth 2631

Since the 1930s, this company has made pencils, notebooks, and tools for creative-minded people. The Blackwing 602 pencil was favored by such writers as John Steinbeck and Stephen Sondheim. A portion of every Blackwing sale benefits music and arts education through the Blackwing Foundation.

Book Art Bookmarks

Booth 2434

Since it launched in January 2018, the Wisconsin-based company has sold more than 4,000 bookmarks.

Calypso Cards

Booths 2839, 2938

A woman-owned business, Calypso publishes and distributes contemporary greeting cards and related gift products that are sold through specialist retailers in the U.S. and Canada.

Chalk of the Town

Booth 2439

Chalk of the Town sells T-shirt kits that allow youngsters’ imagination to run free as they create their own one-of-a-kind designs for shirts that are reusable and machine washable. Chalkboard Tote Bag Kits for both kids and adults are also available.

Chick Lit Designs

Booth 2437

Subscribers receive a monthly book subscription box that focuses on bringing the “book to life.” Boxes include a newly released novel along with individually wrapped gifts with page numbers, meant to be opened when the reader reaches the given page.

Clear Solutions Inc.

Booth 2149

Clear Solutions specializes in creative retail display design.

The Colorful Geek

Booths 2438, 2339

This company sells what it describes as “bookish and geek chic” clothing and accessories.

Dionis Natural Goat Milk Skincare

Booth 2833

Founded in 1982 on a goat farm in Virginia and later moved to Bucks County, Pa., Dionis offers products that are dermatologist tested and free of parabens, gluten, and sulfates.

Dissent Pins

Booth 2337

As its name hints, this company sells jewelry and pins inspired by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which aim to make a difference in issues customers care about.

Exaclair Inc.

Book 2823

Exaclair is a purveyor of French- and American-made notebooks, journals, notepads, gifts, stationery, ink, planners, sketchbooks, and more.

Fairhope Graphics

Booth 2527

Fairhope creates posters, cards, field guides, and gift wrap whose illustrations explore 3.8 billion years of natural history and the evolution of life’s biodiversity by combining new peer-reviewed science research with antique artwork and watercolors.


Booth 2349

FiGPiN makes collectible pins that are officially licensed with popular brands worldwide.

Franklin Fixtures

Booth 2944

Since 1974, Franklin Fixtures has manufactured display products for bookstores and libraries.


Booth 2145

Founded in 1991 near Calais in northern France by three brothers, Gigamic develops, publishes, and distributes games designed for people of all ages. Its signature games offer fast play time.

Grey Moggie Press

Booth 2530

The letterpress greeting cards from Grey Moggie, printed in Washington, D.C., are “inspired by good books, changing seasons, and walks in the city,” the company says.


Booth 2233

Hibernacula describes itself as “a museum boutique, celebrating the

scientific, the sacred, and the sublime, designed to educate and inspire.” It sells historical talismans, sacred symbols, natural treasures, and artifacts inspired by myth and folklore.

House of Darkly

Booth 2246

This company sells artist-made plush products that feature original designs of food and fantastical creatures.

Iron Curtain Press

Booth 2744

Iron Curtain Press makes tools for productivity and creativity with notebooks that strike a balance between being functional and aesthetically pleasing.

J.A. Wilson’s

Booth 2240

J.A. Wilson’s imports journals, stationery products, greeting cards, postcards, and gift items from around the world, as well as collectible books from the U.K.

JPT America Inc.

Booth 2831

Established a decade ago, this company is dedicated to delivering fine Japanese stationery.

Kalan LP

Booth 2249

A family-owned business founded more than 40 years ago, Kalan supplies gift, novelty, and specialty items to retailers across the United States. Bear Wear is the newest addition to its keychain line.

Lamy Writing Instruments

Booth 2726

Based in Germany, this 50-year-old company designs and manufactures high-end writing products, including limited editions of this year’s Lamy AL-Star Special Edition bronze fountain pen.

The Lavender Whim

Booth 2431

Featuring the work of illustrator Jill-Ann Mark, the Lavender Whim offers greeting cards, art prints, stationery, and gift items.

Little Poland Gallery

Booth 2531

This company sells handmade wooden toys made in Europe.

Looney Labs

Booth 2733

Looney Labs makes card games in three main categories: pop culture, party/family, and education, including Fluxx, Loonacy, and Nanof.

Melissa & Doug

Booth 2844

From classic wooden toys to creative crafts, pretend play, and books, Melissa & Doug’s mission is to create products that inspire exploration and enrich children’s lives.

The Music Gifts Company

Booth 2827

This Florida company sells a wide range of music-themed items, including books for both children and adults.

My Audio Life

Booth 2236

This company’s tiny animal-shaped Bluetooth speakers that sport patented designs have been recommended by Oprah Winfrey, USA Today, Good Morning America, and the Today show, among others.

North Ave Candles

Booth 2540

North Ave makes candles for literature lovers.

Oooh Yeah! Socks/Sock It Up

Booth 2435

Using combed cotton, Oooh Yeah! creates popular designs that represent every lifestyle.

Ox Eye Media

Booth 2639

Ox Eye media sells board games, books, and gaming accessories.

Ozone Socks

Booth 2241

This company combines bold designs and high quality materials to create fashion and novelty socks for men and women.

Patent Press Greeting Cards

Booth 2822

This greeting card line features original artwork from applications to the U.S. Patent Office.


Booth 2529

Pebble, a U.K. company, is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization; its children’s toys are sustainably made by artisans in rural Bangladesh.

Pretty Alright Goods

Booth 2645

According to this purveyor of stationery, greeting cards, and gifts, Pretty Alright’s products are handmade in the U.S. “by people with an appreciation for clean design and a keen sense of humor.”

Product 101

Booth 2447

Product 101 is a source for customized products for in-store, online, or marketing use, including bags, apparel, pens, journals, candles, stickers, banners, drinkware, hats, magnets, and napkins.

The Retrospect Group

Booth 2445

A publisher and distributor, the Retrospect Group offers fine art and images in calendars, cards, boxed note card sets, tote bags, mugs, magnets, and custom pieces that all use environmentally friendly materials.

Silk Road Bazaar

Booth 2341

The felt products of this company are made by women artisans who work in the remote regions of Kyrgyzstan. Each purchase supports women.

Simpson & Vail

Booth 2338

Simpson & Vail offers the Literary Tea Line, a collection of 15 blends that were inspired by authors’ works and lives.

Sindri Solutions and Foam Brain Games

Booth 2244

This company produces custom pins, key chains, gift coins, and more.

Storymatic Studios

Booth 2727

Storymatics are boxed collections of cards that can create endless stories for kids, adults, writers, teachers, parents, and artists

Streamline Importing

Booth 2247

This company supplies whimsical gifts and collections from home decor to stationery.

Tea and Absinthe

Booth 2627

Tea and Absinthe offers what it calls “nerd-themed” loose leaf tea blends, as well as tea ware, barware, absinthe accessories, books, and “sundry geeky paraphernalia.”

Topato Co.

Booth 2532

Topato offers exclusive merchandise made in partnership with writers and artists of all kinds.


Booth 2141

Travelflips are language cards in an authentic case or a vintage leather pouch, available in many languages.

Up with Paper/ UWP Luxe

Booth 2822

In business for more than 40 years, Up with Paper and UWP Luxe’s innovative, three-dimensional greeting cards feature intricate designs, trendy artwork, and unexpected pop-ups.

Wacky Links

Booth 2754

Wacky Links DIY creative kits are “powered by a child’s imagination,” the company says. Kits contain colorful tubes and links shaped like unicorns and dinosaurs that allow kids to build anything, from necklaces to backpack decorations.

Waverley West

Booth 2243

Waverley West is the exclusive U.S. representative for Waverley Scotland’s designer- quality notebooks and journals, which are bound in one of 48 genuine tartan patterns in cloth woven by mills in the U.K.

Wick and Fable

Booth 2343

This company is a purveyor of soy candles inspired by books and different fandoms.