IBPA Report from the 2015 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference

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July 20, 2015

By Angela Bole, IBPA Executive Director —

The 2015 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference brought 22,700 librarians, exhibitors, authors, staff, paraprofessionals, teachers, and friends to San Francisco on June 25-30, 2015. Attendance was up considerably over the previous year’s total of around 18,500. As mentioned in last year’s report, Las Vegas was an unpopular choice for 2014.

As in years past, IBPA staff traveled to the conference to represent member titles in our cooperative booth. We were privileged to display 198 individual titles and host 31 author signings. In the photo below, author Cindy Pon (right) poses for the camera with a fan during her signing of Serpentine (publisher: Month9Books).

ALA2015-CindyPon

Georgia McBride

Georgia McBride

The full catalog of titles displayed during ALA 2015 is here.
The full photo album is here.

As part of our mission, IBPA works hard to provide members with marketing and promotion opportunities that are truly professional and helpful. To this end, we were thrilled to receive the following feedback from Cindy Pon’s publisher, Georgia McBride of Month9Books, following the conference:

“I wanted to pass along a note of gratitude for making my authors exhibiting with IBPA at ALA 2015 feel supported and provided for. I heard nothing but great things about your staff, the booth set up, and accommodations. The location was great for discoverability, and your staff made my staff feel right at home. We will definitely exhibit with IBPA again.”

Thanks, Georgia! We look forward to seeing you next year!

The Benefits of Being There

As with most trade shows, the ALA Annual Conference is primarily an information gathering venture. This year, when librarians weren’t attending one of the over 2,500 educational programs, they were browsing the exhibit floor where the IBPA cooperative booth was located. Mimi Le, IBPA’s project coordinator, snapped the following picture of the cooperative booth just after set-up on Day 1. We were pleased with the eye-catching IBPA blue. What do you think?

ALA2015-Booth

Ana Costa Alongi

Ana Costa Alongi

As a benefit of displaying in the cooperative booth, IBPA members were entitled to a complimentary pass to the conference. Ninty-eight members received free badges through IBPA. It was great to meet many of them face-to-face onsite. Ana Costa Alongi of Sigillum Publishers let us know she appreciated the service she received as a displaying member in IBPA’s cooperative booth:

“We made a lot of important connections and we expect more networking in the next days. The staff working at the IBPA booth were very professional and have excellent PR skills. They represented us very well. I will definitely repeat the experience if I have the opportunity, and I want to thank IBPA for the great work you are doing to help us.”

Thanks, Ana! We’re happy to help!

Connecting with Librarians: Inquiries vs. Leads

Of course, IBPA members weren’t the only people stopping by the cooperative booth. Over the four exhibit days, IBPA staff scanned the badges of over 1,000 booth visitors and distributed over 200 catalogs. Most of the librarians visiting the booth discussed specific holes they needed to fill in their collection; they were looking for just the right fit.

IBPA project coordinator Mimi Le (left) scans the badge of a visiting librarian during the 2015 ALA Annual Conference

IBPA project coordinator Mimi Le (left) scans the badge of a visiting librarian during the 2015 ALA Annual Conference

Each IBPA member who participated in the cooperative booth will receive an Excel spreadsheet containing the contact information collected through badge scanning. This contact information can be added to the member’s marketing database for follow up over the coming year. If you were a displaying member and don’t have the list yet, please email terry@ibpa-online.org to request it.

To those who receive the list: don’t forget your Marketing 101! The contacts pulled during the conference represent inquiries, not leads. An inquiry is an expression of interest. A lead is a business opportunity. Before contacting anyone on a broad list of inquiries, it’s important to first qualify them as a potential lead. Not all inquiries are leads.

In other words, it would be a mistake to send a blanket message to the full list without making sure all the people you’re contacting might have genuine interest in your specific business.

The time taken to qualify a list of general inquires is always time well spent.

Special Thanks to Our Booth Partners

As in years past, in addition to booking inexpensive shelf space in IBPA’s cooperative booth, members with many titles to display could order booth space of their own. This dedicated space is booked alongside IBPA’s cooperative booth, ensuring a prime location on the show floor. In 2015, we were pleased to be joined in this way by Bitingduck Press and Tiger Tales.

Bitingduck Press is an independent press established in 2012 with the goal of providing high-quality, low-cost, highly accessible electronic and print books for anyone interested in science, mathematics, and the lives of scientists. They currently focus on science fiction and “science in fiction,” but will eventually bring forth a wide range of quality non-fiction and textbooks.

Tiger Tales is an independent publisher of imaginative picture and novelty books for children seven and younger. Whether the story is funny, whimsical, sweet, or sensitive, Tiger Tales books are designed to entertain and educate.

If you’re interested in reserving your own booth through IBPA for ALA 2016, please contact Terry Nathan at terry@ibpa-online.org.

A “Where Were You When” Moment

SF-Pride-2015There are certain unforgettable moments in history that hold prominence in our collective memory. We can now add to these the SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage which occurred on Friday, June 26. That same day, in a timely address, attorney Roberta Kaplan’s discussed her new book, Then Comes Marriage: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA (Norton), during the ALA Annual Conference’s opening session. And, of course, there was San Francisco’s annual Pride parade on Sunday, June 28. It’s hard to imagine a better place to have had our “where were you when” moment.

General News Roundup, Plus a Look to 2016

For those looking for deeper analysis of the general ALA Annual Conference program, here is a roundup of news stories published by the American Library Association.

Cognotes: ALA 2015 Highlights Edition
Rethinking Privacy at the LITA Top Tech Trends Panel
Small Press Books from the Show
Getting Graphics at ALA
NYPL, CPL Wi-Fi Lending Pilots Progressing
Academic Libraries Look Toward the Future
Exhibitor News Roundup

The 2016 American Library Association Annual Conference will be held in Orlando, Florida, June 23-28, 2016. We again look forward to bringing members’ titles to the exhibit floor. I hope you’ll join us!


About the Author

Bole-200Just before Angela Bole became IBPA’s Executive Director, she was Deputy Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG), which fosters conversation and consensus across all sectors of the book business. Before that, Angela served for two years as BISG’s Associate Director and two years as its Marketing and Communications Manager.

Angela also serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors of IDPF, the International Digital Publishing Forum. She lives in Redondo Beach, California.

6 responses to “IBPA Report from the 2015 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference”

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed participating in ALA with IBPA and doing a book giveaway of The Coconut Latitudes. It was delightful to meet so many ALA participants, and I want to thank the IBPA staff for helping us authors at the table.

  2. Congratulations, the ALA booth looked great. The display was very professional. Adding photos of all exhibitors on Twitter and Facebook is a great idea. The entire staff of IBPA seem to be enthusiastic and are doing a great job.

    AMZ Publications
    (USA)

  3. Angela, Mimi, et al. It was a great time for me personally as an individual member of ALA and as a publisher member of IBPA. The IBPA booth turned out to be a wonderful meeting place for all kinds of attendees and that location near the door was also beneficial. Kudos to all who worked the booth for many hours each day and I was glad to give a bit of time and to help with break down. It is always a great gathering and I was glad it was in my back yard this summer.

    • Angela Bole says:

      Thank you, Roy, for your help during break down! It was a big booth to take apart. We greatly appreciated the extra pair of hands. I’m glad you enjoyed the program, as well. We look forward to seeing you again next time!

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