SIBA Discovery Show

(Sept. 15–17)

The Sheraton in New Orleans

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance will kick off the day before its official start date with an American Booksellers Association education session called “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Addressing Stereotypes and Creating a Welcoming Environment.”

Diversity is woven into this year’s SIBA programming, which includes a session on inventory activism. This how-to panel is designed to help stores better serve their customers’ need for a social gathering place by stocking and displaying books about inclusion, the environment, and local issues.

Traditionally, SIBA hosts more authors than any other regional, and this year is no exception, with close to 120 authors set to attend. Several standout writers with recently released or forthcoming books will speak at the closing supper, including Robert Beatty (Serafina and the Splintered Heart, Disney), Kristin Hannah (The Great Alone, St. Martin’s), Eric Litwin (Groovy Joe, Orchard), and Jesmyn Ward (Sing, Unburied Sing, Scribner).

The First 180 Days Party gives booksellers a chance to meet and greet writers with books landing in the first half of 2018. Nearly two dozen authors will attend the event, including Tomi Adeyemi (Children of Blood and Bone, Holt), Xhenet Aliu (Brass, Random House), and Zachary Lazar (Vengeance, Catapult).

A session titled “Independent Bookstores and Indie Authors: Creating a Match Made in Heaven” focuses on how booksellers have built publishing programs through IngramSpark, a publish-on-demand service for writers.

The inaugural Conroy Legacy Award winner will also be announced at this year’s show. The award, created to honor the memory of Pat Conroy, celebrates the connections between independent bookstores and writers in their communities.

NEIBA Fall Conference

(Sept. 18–20)

Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence

One of the oldest shows in the country, now in its 44th year, the New England Independent Booksellers Association’s annual conference begins with a keynote featuring environmentalist Bill McKibben, author of the forthcoming debut novel Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance (Blue Rider), in conversation with former bookseller Linda Ramsdell, founder of the Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, Vt.

The show closes with a keynote luncheon featuring John Hodgman (Vacationland, Viking).

Booksellers will have plenty of opportunities throughout the three-day show to meet and hear authors, including John Irving, who will receive this year’s NEIBA President’s Award. A total of 26 writers will sign books at the Author Reception, including Mira Bartok (The Wonderling, Candlewick), Deanna Cook (Baking Class, Storey), Anne Fadiman (Wine Lover’s Daughter, FSG), Ivy Pochoda (Wonder Valley, Ecco), and Jared Yates Sexton (The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shores, Counterpoint).

Children’s programming is front and center thanks to NEIBA’s children’s group, NECBA. It will host several sessions, including one on how new children’s books get launched and where bookstores fit in, “From Signing to Signings: The Marketing Journey of Debut Authors.” It will also host a children’s author breakfast with Holly Black (The Cruel Prince, Little, Brown), Justina Ireland (Dread Nation, HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray), and Matt de la Peña and Loren Long (Love, Putnam).

Some publishers are offering terms to indies specifically to promote backlist. Like all the regional shows, NEIBA’s fall conference will include a presentation by ABA called “Maximizing Backlist.” The session will focus on ways to market, promote, and sell backlist titles, along with best practices for managing cash flow and ensuring return on investment.

Several NEIBA panels are designed to hone both bookseller and rep skills. In “View from the Other Side,” reps who were buyers discuss what makes a successful sales call and how to build relationships with store staff. Frontline booksellers and managers can benefit from “Unlocking the Grid: Secrets and Best Practices of Events,” on how to pitch events and manage shared expectations. In “Unlocking the Grid,” publicists from Grove Atlantic, HarperCollins, Macmillan, and Penguin Random House will share their tips; moderated by Annie Philbrick, co-owner of Bank Square Books in Mystic, Ct., and Savoy Bookshop & Café in Westerly, R.I.

NAIBA Fall Conference

(Oct. 6–8)

Crowne Plaza Cherry Hill in Cherry Hill, N.J.

The New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association is one of several regional groups to give booksellers a chance to enjoy a busman’s holiday before the conference gets underway. Bookstore tours, sponsored by Baker & Taylor, will include a Philadelphia store and some suburban Pennsylvania stores. On Friday afternoon, NAIBA will host a continuation of its popular Owners’ Retreat with a meet-up to talk about hiring for diversity, among other topics. A Children’s Book Buyer Retreat, which was snowed out earlier this year, will also be held that afternoon with representatives from HarperCollins, Scholastic, Penguin Random House, and Hachette.

NAIBA’s keynote, “The Angles of Advocacy,” focuses on being an advocate, whether it’s for e-tax fairness or better parking. The session will offer information on how booksellers can position their cause and approach those in power to enact change. Speakers include David Grogan, director of public policy and advocacy for ABA; Janice Kovach, mayor of Clinton, N.J.; and Tom Lowenburg, co-owner of Octavia Books in New Orleans.

Given industrywide concern about attracting and retaining frontline booksellers, NAIBA is devoting a morning to “Budgeting for a Bookselling Career.” A financial planner will discuss living on a bookseller’s salary and how to save for the future. Donna Paz Kaufman and Mark Kaufman of Paz & Associates will provide information for those who would like bookstore ownership to be part of that future.

Once again, docents will be on hand to guide booksellers around the show floor to make sure that they don’t overlook any of the new children’s books on display. Their activity complements the children’s editor buzz panel that will be held earlier in the day.

As at all the conferences, authors will have a large presence at NAIBA, starting with the preview supper with emcee David Litt (Thanks, Obama: My Hopey Changey White House Years, Harper) and Elizabeth Acevedo (The Poet X, HarperTeen), Eileen Myles (Afterglow, Grove Atlantic), Peter Sís (Robinson, Scholastic), and illustrator Eric Velasquez (Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library, Candlewick). Other authors at the show include Richard Ford (Between Them: Remembering My Parents, Ecco), this year’s recipient of the Legacy Award, and Moveable Feast writers such as Jillian Medoff (This Could Hurt, Harper), Kelly Simmons (The Fifth of July, Sourcebooks), and Brianna Wolfson (Rosie Colored Glasses, Mira).

PNBA Tradeshow

(Oct. 8–10)

Red Lion Hotel on the River in Portland, Ore.

The fact that the official conference hotel was sold out nearly two months before the trade show is set to begin speaks to the importance of the annual Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association fall gathering. It opens with a day of education followed by a late afternoon reception intended to bring all 150-plus participants out of their afternoon sessions into a single brainstorming mixer, Fifth Period: Relate, Create, Innovate! It will feature eight Northwest authors.

The trade show has stayed steady the last few years with roughly 100–110 authors in attendance. Twenty-six will be on hand to talk about their new books at the annual Nightcapper Autographing Party, which closes out the first night. Among those present will be writers whose work speaks specifically to the region, including Andrew Barton and Peter Schweitzer (The Myrtlewood Cookbook: Pacific Northwest Home Cooking, Sasquatch), Martha Brockenbrough and Lee White (Love, Santa, Scholastic/Levine), Molly Hashimoto (Colors of the West, Mountaineers), and Megan Watzke (Magnitude, Black Dog).

Other opportunities for booksellers to meet authors include the popular Feast of Authors, at which each writer speaks to six tables of booksellers. Among the 20 authors attending, all of whom have books out in 2017, are Richard Baker (Valiant Dust, Tor), David Biespiel (The Education of a Young Poet, Counterpoint), Sarah Schmidt (See What I Have Done, Atlantic Monthly), and Dashka Slater (The 57 Bus, FSG). The Coming-Up Author Showcase gives booksellers a chance to hear authors whose books are due out in early 2018, including Apricot Irving (The Gospel of Trees, S&S) and Matt Young (Eat the Apple, Bloomsbury).

Sales reps’ pick of the list events are standard at most regionals, but it is particularly popular in the Northwest. Reps for large houses like S&S and Penguin Random House, small houses, and rep groups like Book Travelers West, Orca Book Publishing, and University Press Associates present hot titles to booksellers who don’t typically see sales reps. PNBA tries to turn these pitches into orders on the show floor.

Heartland Fall Forum

(Oct. 11–13)

The Westin in Lombard, Ill.

This year’s show, a collaboration between the Great Lakes and Midwest Independent Booksellers Associations, returns to Chicago. The fall forum will make the most of this opportunity with a free shuttle and lunch visit at one of the area’s largest indie publishers, Sourcebooks, followed by a visit to Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville. The opening night reception that evening will feature authors from Chicagoland’s indie houses, including Sourcebooks and Agate Publishing. Featured authors will include Nancy Burke (Undergrowth, Gibson House), Cheryl Honigford (Homicide for the Holidays, Sourcebooks), and Courtney Yasmineh (A Girl Called Sydney, Gibson House).

The renamed adult author dinner, Tasting Notes, will offer booksellers a sampling of talks by six writers, including Hanif Abdurraquib (They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, Two Dollar Radio), Chloe Benjamin (The Immortalists, Putnam), Tayari Jones (An American Marriage, Algonquin), and William Least Heat-Moon (Celestial Mechanics, Three Rooms). It will be followed by Heartland’s annual literary trivia competition, Quiz Bowl.

This authorcentric show will feature 40 writers at the Moveable Feast, including Peter Bognanni (Things I’m Seeing Without You, Dial), Francisco Cantú (The Line Becomes a River, Riverhead), and Celia C. Pérez (The First Rule of Punk, Viking). The closing reception will feature 20–30 writers, including Phyllis Good (Stock the Crock, Oxmoor House), Amariah Rauscher (Princess Truly in I Am Truly, Orchard), and Vidar Sundstøl (The Devil’s Wedding Ring, Univ. of Minnesota).

What makes women buy is the subject of a presentation by Bridget Brennan, founder of Female Factor Strategic Consulting and author of Why She Buys (Crown Business). Suzy Takacs of the Book Cellar in Chicago will moderate.

Larry Law of Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville will moderate a how-to session called “Bridging the Technology Gap.” Panelists John Christensen (Arcadia Books in Spring Green, Wisc.), Kevin Elliot (57th Street Books in Chicago), Matt Keihler (Subtext Books in St. Paul, Minn.), and Katharine Solheim (Unabridged Bookstore in Chicago) will share the tools that have worked best in their stores. They will also discuss the importance of closing the technology gap among staffers.

Heartland will hold the Shelf-Talker Party for booksellers to share their hand-written shelf-talkers for diverse titles, as well as an education session hosted by We Need Diverse Books, “We Need (to Sell!) Diverse Books.” Other roundtables will address returns, customer service, resort towns, events, and “botheration” (aka, the things currently driving staff crazy).

MPIBA Fall Discovery Show

(Oct. 12–14)

Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel in Denver, Colo.

The Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association trade show will start the day before the official kickoff with an ABA-sponsored daylong diversity session. That evening MPIBA will hold a first-timer gathering as well as the Backlist Blind Book Swap. The show’s “real” beginning is at 8 a.m. with the Children’s Author and Illustrator Breakfast featuring Shannon and Dean Hale (The Princess in Black and the Mysterious Playdate, Candlewick) and Peter Sís (Robinson, Scholastic).

Other breakfasts include one for buzz books with Peter Carey (A Long Way from Home, Knopf), Ann Leckie (Provence, Orbit), and David Philipps (Wild Horse Country, Norton). The Authors of Future Releases Breakfast features Sara Blaedel (The Undertaker’s Daughter, Grand Central), Tayari Jones (An American Marriage, Algonquin), and Willy Vlautin (Don’t Skip Out on Me, Harper Perennial).

A standout panel geared specifically to children’s booksellers offers tips and tricks for successful book fairs. Meghan Goel (BookPeople Bookstore in Austin, Tex.), Sarah Hopkins (Bookworm of Edwards in Edwards, Colo.), and Margaret Neville (the King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City) will participate in “Build a Better Book Fair.”

Several education sessions are devoted to improving stores overall. Ron Kroll (Off the Beaten Path in Steamboat Springs, Colo.) and Nicole Magistro (Bookworm of Edwards in Edwards, Colo.) will talk about the most efficient way to manage back office operations. Eric Crouser, former CFO of Einstein Bagels, will provide an overview of what a successful store should look like in “The Big Picture: Your Store’s Finances.” And in “Publishers as Promotional Partners,” moderator Heather Duncan (Tattered Cover in Denver) will join Vicki Burger (Wind City Books in Casper, Wyo.), Suzanne Gutierrez (Tattered Cover), and Abbey Paxton (BookBar in Denver) to show booksellers how to think beyond co-op to create valuable promotions.

NCIBA Fall Discovery Show

(Oct. 18–20)

South San Francisco Conference Center in San Francisco

Children’s books will be highlighted throughout the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association annual fall show, starting with the opening night children’s dinner emceed by comic book, comic strip, and television writer Judd Winnick. Appearing with him will be Martha Brockenbrough (Love, Santa, Scholastic/Levine) and Nic Stone (Dear Martin, Crown). New this year is a Children’s Buzz Lunch, sponsored by the organization’s children’s group, NCIBA, that will be held on the second day, as an alternative to the popular Buzz Brunch for adult authors.

Michael Andreasen (The Sea Beast Takes a Lover, Dutton), Ivy Pochoda (Wonder Valley, Ecco), and Thad Vogler (By the Smoke and the Smell, Ten Speed) will be among the authors at the Buzz Brunch. Isabel Allende (In the Midst of Winter, Atria) will make a rare appearance at a brunch on the last day of the show. Joining her will be Armistead Maupin (Logical Family: A Memoir, Harper) and emcee Robin Sloan (Sourdough, FSG), among others.

This year NCIBA changed things up by moving its keynote to the afternoon to insure a large audience for Yrsa Daley-Ward (Bone, Penguin Books), a poet of West Indian and West African heritage. She will be in conversation with John Evans (Diesel: A Bookstore in Larkspur and Brentwood, Calif.).

Authors will also be available for booksellers to meet at other sessions, like one on the state of speculative fiction. Panelists include Maggie Shen King (An Excess Male, Voyager), Kim Stanley Robinson (New York 2140, Orbit), and Andy Weir (Artemis, Crown).

During the show, booksellers can visit consultation stations à la Winter Institute to get help with different aspects of running their stores. ABA will offer assistance on IndieCommerce throughout the show. Other appointment-only sessions on social media basics and analyzing your store’s complete online profile will take place on Thursday.

SCIBA Fall Trade Show

(Oct. 27–28)

Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona, Calif.

The Southern California Independent Booksellers Association show is making several changes this year, including relocating to Pomona, home to one of the region’s newest art and literary community spaces, Café Con Libros Press. The nonprofit evolved from the now-closed Café Con Libros Bookstore.

The Adult Awards Luncheon represents the diversity of Southern California with authors ranging from TV script writer and novelist Attica Locke (Bluebird, Bluebird, Mulholland) to Best First Novel Edgar Award–nominee Joe Ide (Righteous, Mulholland). Charles Phoenix (Addicted to Americana, Prospect Park) will emcee.

Children’s authors will be well represented at the show, including appearances by Marla Frazee (illustrator, It Takes a Village: Picture Book by Hillary Rodham Clinton, S&S/Wiseman) and Nigerian writer Nnedi Okorafor (Akata Warrior, Viking).

Education sessions will range from a how-to on managing large off-site events to a panel on biography and memoirs with adult and YA authors. This year, SCIBA will also offer space for appointments for booksellers to get help with business concerns, including IndieCommerce.

Because the SCIBA gathering is the shortest of the regionals, just one and a half days, the exhibits are open for three hours. It will have several new exhibitors and a newly introduced game, Bookseller Bingo, to keep booksellers visiting every one.