Neither a statewide heat wave nor a tropical storm kept bibliophiles from the California Independent Booksellers Alliance’s Fall Fest in Sacramento over the weekend. The in-person meeting, on hold since NCIBA and SCIBA’s March 2020 merger to form CALIBA, brought booksellers, publishers, reps, and authors together for long-awaited networking and the ritual stuffing of canvas tote bags with must-have ARCs.

CALIBA co-executive directors Ann Seaton and Kristin Rasmussen welcomed members to a Friday night reception held at Ross and Heidi Rojek’s game-centered There and Back Again café, around the corner from Capital Books. Sacramento’s environs are home to numerous indie bookstores, from established businesses like Face in a Book and Underground Books to newer arrivals like Wild Sisters Book Company and A Seat at the Table, and attendees got acquainted with the owners and staff or dropped by the stores for a visit.

Booksellers met authors including Ross Gay, Jenny Odell, Alka Joshi, Caldecott Medalist Jason Chin, and Newbery Medalist Matt de la Peña, all touting their forthcoming titles. U.S. Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) spoke about her legislative career and her April 2023 memoir, I Swear, with ABA CEO Allison Hill, and CALIBA's exhibit hall provided opportunities to snag galleys of upcoming work from Maggie O’Farrell, Celeste Ng, and Joy Harjo, among many others. The chance to handle gift items and preview cookbooks--like Jorge Gaviria's Masa (Chronicle, Sept. 13), which inspired the appetizers at Saturday evening's cocktail hour--got everyone prepped for the holiday season ahead.