In a new initiative modeled on the popular Book Sense white box sampler, the Great Lakes Booksellers Association (GLBA) has launched a new Advance Access program of its own, geared specifically toward regional publishers and member bookstores.

"That program has worked so well for Book Sense," GLBA executive director Jim Dana told PW, "and our booksellers continue to be excited about the job Book Sense does in getting out pre-publication copies and generating buzz for titles and authors. Our idea is simply to create a regional complement to the existing model and to spotlight the specifically regional titles that often fall through the cracks in the Book Sense program."

The GLBA has mailed out the details of its new program to all the publishers and booksellers on its mailing list and will also market the idea to exhibitors at the GLBA's trade show in Dearborn, Mich., on September 27—29. Dana and the GLBA have had the cooperation and support of the folks at Book Sense in developing their regional model.

"Regional publishers and titles are really important to independent booksellers," Dana said, "and the national program has not, unfortunately, been particularly well suited for regional titles. We see this as the sort of thing that helps our members focus on some of things that are actually happening in our region in terms of books and publishing. We also think it's a great thing to export to other regions."

Dana told PW that the GLBA has already had inquiries about the program from other regional associations around the country.

"Right now we're still working on getting the word out to publishers," Dana said. "We expect it will take a while for people to get the idea and to understand the way the program works. Obviously we're hoping that this will build and we'll see some spillover and some national exposure for some of our regional titles and publishers. It's been overwhelming work for us so far, but I'd love for it to be even more."