Booksellers from the Cape and Islands region of Massachusetts sparked a lively conversation at a March 24 gathering of the New England Independent Booksellers Association (NEIBA), asking the organization to consider “pooling funds” to support larger regional tours for authors who otherwise only read in major cities.

The idea, which came from Jeff Peters of East End Books Ptown in Provincetown, Mass., was one of the many discussed at NEIBA’s “All About the Books” education program in Harvard Square. Peters said that publishers, when it comes to author tours, often overlook more sparsely populated areas. Fellow attendees shared past and current examples of ways that booksellers have tried to address the issue.

NEIBA executive director Steve Fischer suggested that Peters and fellow Cape booksellers draft a regional tour proposal for Patrick Dacey’s forthcoming novel The Outer Cape. The story follows the return of two sons to their childhood home, a village on Cape Cod. Fischer said the book is a natural fit for booksellers and readers in the area. Once drafted, the booksellers' proposal will then be shared with Dacey's publisher, Henry Holt & Co.

“I intend to pursue it," Peters said. "This would be something that I think would help booksellers and authors."

Dacey appeared at a morning program that gave 10 veteran and first-time authors a few minutes to present their upcoming releases to over 100 booksellers. Authors included Estep Nagy, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, and Susan Tan.

The session closed with a rousing ovation for Dartmouth historian and president emeritus James Wright, whose Enduring Vietnam (St. Martin's/Dunne, April) draws on 160 interviews to tell the story of Vietnam War combat veterans and their families.

During the afternoon open forum, American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher was upbeat on advocacy issues, noting Amazon’s decision last week to pay sales tax in all states. He urged members to step up their opposition to Amazon's use of tax credits.

Attendees also participated in a conversation on ways to make bookstores “an inclusive place for dialogue and discovery.” The ABA is conducting the sessions with its regional associations nationwide, and will present its findings later this year.