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News & Press: Trade Show News

IBPA Report from the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference 2018

Wednesday, July 18, 2018   (0 Comments)
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by Lee Wind, Director of Marketing & Programming & Terry Nathan, Chief Operations Officer

The Independent Book Publishers Association's (IBPA's) cooperative booth at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference proudly introduced more than two hundred IBPA member titles to thousands of attending librarians.

Throughout the weekend, over thirty book signings and giveaways in the booth provided a great connection between IBPA members’ authors and attending librarians, while at the same time driving traffic to see all the titles on display. In addition, the IBPA staff was able to collect contact information from close to six hundred librarians who visited the IBPA booth. Their contact information will be shared with participating IBPA members, adding to the numerous new connections and opportunities that opened up for those who participated in this special annual program.

IBPA Director of Marketing & Programming Lee Wind (left) and IBPA Chief Operations Officer Terry Nathan stand ready to receive librarians just prior to the exhibit floor opening on Friday, June 22nd.
A panoramic view of IBPA's 2108 ALA Annual Conference booth in action.

Click here for the full photo gallery from this year’s show.

Conference Overview

More than 12,400 librarians attended the American Library Association’s annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana from June 21 to 25, 2018. This was in addition to the more than 5,100 exhibitors, which included IBPA staff Terry Nathan (Chief Operations Officer) and Lee Wind (Director of Marketing and Programming), as well as IBPA publisher members and their authors who attended to sign books, volunteer in the IBPA cooperative booth, and network with the attending librarians.

IBPA’s cooperative booth had an impressive footprint on the show floor (40’ x 10’), and the professional signage and shelving made a proud showroom for the more than 200 books from our publisher members.

One trend visible from walking the exhibit hall was the cost-cutting of some of the major publishing houses, whose booths were simply books on cardboard boxes on tables. In dramatic contrast, IBPA’s built-out booth with professional signage—and our members’ books—looked polished and well-presented.

Candlewick Press (left) and Simon & Schuster (right) are among some of the larger publishers who opted to go with a more simple looking display at this year's ALA Show.

The Show Catalog

The 200+ books displayed in IBPA's cooperative booth were also included in IBPA's "Indie Titles" ALA show catalog, which was distributed in three ways:

  1. Prior to the show, a link to the digital version of the catalog along with an invitation to visit IBPA's cooperative booth was emailed to the librarians who visited the IBPA booth at the 2017 ALA Annual Conference (in Chicago) and the 2016 ALA Annual Conference (in Orlando).
  2. Printed copies of the catalog were available and handed out in the IBPA cooperative booth on the show floor.
  3. A link to the digital version of the catalog was emailed to every librarian whose badge was scanned by IBPA staff during the 2018 show.

Good, Better, Best: Simple book display, the personal touch, making a connection

The Good. Does simply displaying a book in the IBPA cooperative booth work at the ALA Annual Conference? Yes, to a point. Librarians did come into the booth and browse the shelves, picking up titles of interest and taking photos of the covers. Nearly all who visited the booth were grateful to know that if an IBPA staff member scanned their badge, they’d receive a digital copy of the show catalog with all 200+ books included. Badge scans also entered librarians in a cash drawing for $300; they were excited about that, too.

Librarians enjoying the incredible selection of Indie titles offered by IBPA members at the 2018 American Library Association's Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA.

The Better. Better connections were made when an attending librarian spoke with an IBPA staff member or volunteer in the booth. When this happened, the librarian was guided to titles they were specifically interested in. They also learned more about IBPA, and our goal of leveling the playing field for our independent publisher members.

The Best. Perhaps the best moments were the author signings, where IBPA members’ authors got to meet and sign free copies of their ARCs or finished books for the attending librarians. These moments of personal connection stood out, and when the librarians returned to their libraries with stacks of new books to consider, the personalized IBPA members’ books certainly stood out, too!

Paige Ashley Brotherton, author of Avery Appreciates True Friendship, attracts a crowd of librarians during her signing on Saturday, June 23rd.

New Opportunities for IBPA Members

The IBPA staff discovered multiple new opportunities for IBPA members as a result of representing IBPA member titles at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference.

Claire Thompson, the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award coordinator, stopped by the IBPA cooperative booth and had a great conversation with IBPA staff member Lee Wind. Claire is especially open to having IBPA members submit their eligible works for the Ezra Jack Keats Book Awards for New Writer and New Illustrator. You can find the full guidelines here:

Morgan Peters, program coordinator for the OHIOana Library, runs an annual Ohio author festival in Columbus, Ohio. If you are or have an Ohio-based author in your publishing program, you can reach Morgan at

Not sure what to do with extra ARCs? Kathleen Kluegel is a volunteer for the Urbana Champaign Books to Prisoners program in Illinois, and shared with IBPA staff how uncorrected proofs are accepted and welcomed (paperbacks preferred). Kathleen spoke of similar programs all over the country. You can learn more at

VOYA, Voice of Youth Advocates bills itself as “a library magazine serving those who serve young adults.” For more than 40 years, VOYA has been reviewing books for tweens and teens, rating each book’s quality, predicted popularity, and grade level interest (from middle school through college-age). Lee Wind spoke with their review editor, Lisa Kurdyla, and found she’s very open to submissions of new books for teens and tweens from IBPA members. Lisa writes,

“Please send digital ARCs or physical ARCs as soon as three months prepublication. I prefer two copies when possible in case a teen reviewer will be reading and reviewing, as well. Please include a contact email for sending the finished review. Feel free to follow up with me at my email address ( but please understand I cannot answer every email regarding titles I am sent for review. BUT... I do read each one and sometimes an email is a great reminder about a title. VOYA appreciates independently published authors and we do our very best to review as many as possible. All pertinent info can be found at or by emailing me.”

Johanna Rotondo-McCord is the brand manager for, a new app which connects online buyers with products locally. They are expanding their offerings into the book market. You can check them out at

Valeria Fike stopped by the IBPA cooperative booth to tell us about the newly re-named LITA Excellence in Children’s and Young Adult Science Fiction Notable Lists. 2018 titles are now being considered for the 2019 lists in three categories: Golden Duck Science Fiction Notables List for Picture Books, ages 0-6; Eleanor Cameron Science Fiction Notable List for Middle grades, ages 7-12; and the Hal Clement Science Fiction Notable List for Young Adult, ages 13-18. Submissions can be made via the SF Notables Submission Form at their website, The submission deadline is December 1, 2018.

Lee had a great meeting with LibraryWorks representatives Sharon Deutch and Jenny Newman that yielded a no-cost-to-IBPA-members expansion of IBPA's Library eBlast Program. In addition to the 5,000 librarians in each category (elementary school librarians; middle and high school librarians; college and academic librarians; public library children’s & YA librarians; public library adult librarians) LibraryWorks will start to include the librarians whose information IBPA has collected at the ALA Annual Conference. This lets IBPA build relationships with librarians we know are interested in indie titles—giving our participating members’ books an even better chance to get noticed and acquired for these library collections!

Having their badge scanned entered the librarians in a random drawing for $300. Close to 600 librarians entered and that list was shared with all participating IBPA members for post-show follow-up.

Our lucky winner? Montie' Dobbins, Head, Access Services, Health Sciences Library, LSU Health Shreveport (photo right).

Special Thanks

Special thanks to the IBPA members who so generously volunteered their time in the booth to represent all of our publisher members’ books: Mark Diehl, Melissa Guzzetta, Margot Lester, Tyra Manning, and Mark Ristau.

You can read about Mark Diehl’s remarkable book marketing synergy moment at the conference here.

Final Thoughts

And here are some links to what other parts of the industry are saying about ALA:

ALA 2019 is already on our calendars: June 20 to 24, 2019 in Washington, D.C. We hope we’ll be able to represent you and your books there—and maybe, you can join us!

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