Regional Booksellers’ Show

November 2000
by Curt Matthews, IPG/Chicago Review Press

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I was in Indianapolis recently to help formalize the transition of the Mid-America Publishers Association (MAPA) into a chapter of PMA (Welcome to these new members!) and to attend the Great Lakes Booksellers Association (GLBA) regional show.

My expectations for the show were very low. I had not been to one in years because, like many publishers, my books are displayed at these shows by the rep groups that work each region for me. I did not see any point in showing up myself.

I have now completely changed my mind, and I am going to argue here that independent publishers can benefit hugely from attending, and better yet exhibiting, at the show in their own region, and at as many other regions as they can if they publish books of national interest.

The GLBA show drew about 850 participants, of which about 550 were booksellers or library buyers and 300 were publishers, wholesalers, reps, authors, and other types who don’t buy books. As a seller, I like that ratio of buyers to sellers. It is very unlike the situation at BookExpo America, where actual customers are so very thin on the floor. (The BEA show is also indispensable, but for different reasons.)

We are all guilty of sitting behind our desks building interesting but wrong theories about developments in the book market and the place of our own books in it. Attendance at a regional show clears one’s mind of such nonsense in a hurry because the usual hype that obscures the actual business of bookselling is stri…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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