The New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association (NAIBA) and the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) have collaborated for the past two years on New Voices New Rooms, a virtual fall bookselling conference. Now the organizations are moving that event to the summer months, with the meeting scheduled for the week of August 8. In addition, they are launching a spring book event scheduled for May 17 and 18. Both events will be virtual.
The May meeting will focus on networking among booksellers and authors, as well as book promotions for publishers, including buzz panels and galley grabs. The August event will be a more traditional fall conference, with online education sessions, publisher “booths,” and new title presentations.
In addition to the two announced events, both NAIBA and SIBA are planning to hold a “speed dating” event March 1-4 and a new owners “retreat” on October 25-27.
This is not the first time regional bookseller associations have sought to move their typical fall events earlier in the year, particularly to avoid inclement weather and football season. For example, in 2017, then SIBA executive director Wanda Jewell announced her intention to move the association’s event to spring, to coordinate with the Great American Bargain Book Show (GABBS) in Atlanta, but the idea was dropped after GABBS went out of business.
“Summer is when booksellers are focused on their holiday buying, and it made sense to host an event at that critical time in the process,” says Eileen Dengler, executive director of NAIBA. “Once we shared this idea with booksellers and publishers, people started nodding their heads and wondering why we hadn’t done this a long time ago."
SIBA executive director Linda-Marie Barrett, added, “A summer conference is ideal for SIBA booksellers, who live in a region where football and challenging weather, along with book fairs and the holiday season, compete for attention. Summer can be slow for southern booksellers, so our new timing could bring even greater attendance.”
SIBA is among the regional organizations planning an in-person event for the spring as well. Barrett told PW the “SIBA in Springtime” event this year will be significantly larger than in the past. “The theme this spring is ‘Come Together,’ inspired by the Beatles’ song and a Peter Max art vibe,” said Barrett. Programming will include author appearances, bookseller education, book buzz with reps and editors, a tour of regional bookstores, “and at least one special evening event to bring everyone to the bar for fun, schmoozing, and author discovery.” Dates for the event have yet to be announced.
The Mountains and Plains Booksellers Association is planning on hosting two spring in-person events, in Golden, Colo., Apr. 6–8, the other in San Antonio, Tex., Apr. 20–22. MPIBA's fall conference will take place in Denver Sept. 29-Oct.1.
The New England Independent Booksellers Association's spring forum will take place in Portland, Me. April 6-7, and its fall conference in Providence, R.I. Sept. 20-23. The Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association will travel to Kalamazoo, Mich. on April 21 for its spring forum, while the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association convenes in Bayfield, Wisc. for its spring forum, May 23-24. The two organizations will gather in St. Louis, Mo. Oct. 10-12 for the first in-person Heartland Fall Forum since 2019.
This story has been updated with further information.