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News & Press: IBPA Association News

IBPA to Forgo Cooperative Book Display at BookExpo 2018

Monday, September 25, 2017   (15 Comments)
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An Open Letter to IBPA Members

Dear IBPA Community,

We’re writing to inform you about an important change in the way IBPA’s Board of Directors has decided to engage with BookExpo on behalf of IBPA members in 2018.

In a unanimous vote during its August 17, 2017 meeting, the IBPA Board of Directors decided to forgo cooperative book display at BookExpo 2018. This means IBPA will not purchase a large area on the trade show floor in which to passively showcase IBPA member titles. This decision comes after months of deliberation and several dedicated conversations between IBPA and BookExpo kicked off by a disappointing 2017 program.

Read “IBPA Report from BookExpo/BookCon 2017”

IBPA has managed a cooperative book display at BookExpo for over 30 years. During this time, the evolving nature of the event has made it increasingly difficult for small and midsized publishers to realize tangible signs of success. For example, although BookExpo once embraced a diversity of publishing models, over the past several years, it has focused almost exclusively on traditional publishing (the Big 5), rights sales, and pre-publication marketing. Independently published books, whether produced by a small press or a self-published author, are sidelined.

Despite discontinuing the cooperative book display program, IBPA will continue to explore ways to actively represent IBPA members at BookExpo 2018, including the continuation of our author signing opportunities, onsite video interviews, and cocktail hours. At the same time, IBPA will continue to fully participate in cooperative book display programs that offer exposure for and real benefit to our members. This includes cooperative display programs at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference and the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The decision to discontinue cooperative book display at BookExpo was not taken lightly by IBPA’s Board of Directors, but the consensus was overwhelming that by removing a service no longer benefiting its members, IBPA frees up significant resources to better focus on the services that do.

IBPA’s mission is to lead and serve the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success. The IBPA Board’s decision to forgo cooperative book display at BookExpo 2018 was made in accordance with this mission and we are optimistic it will make the association stronger and better equipped to serve the needs of its members in the future.

As always, feedback from IBPA members is welcome. Please email IBPA CEO, Angela Bole, at She will be sure all feedback is shared with the full IBPA Board of Directors.


Robert Price
Board Chair
Independent Book Publishers Association

Angela Bole
Chief Executive Officer
Independent Book Publishers Association


James E. Tugend, Tugend Media says...
Posted Saturday, November 4, 2017
Thanks to ibpa for it's honesty. Of course it is discouraging to independent, self publishers such as myself, but the truth saves us alot of wasted time and money. James Tugend
Gail [finance director], Great Potential Press, Inc. says...
Posted Thursday, September 28, 2017
I understand why IBPA is doing what it’s doing. The one and only time I’ve been to Book Expo—in 2014--it was quite apparent it is very much geared to big publishing houses, big money, big author names, etc. I got a ton out of the panels and met a load of new colleagues in NYC-based publishing and production/ distribution around the country. I liked it. But it’s not much of a place for an independent publisher or independent author to sell books or get a booth.
Alan Canton, NewMedia Create says...
Posted Wednesday, September 27, 2017
I've attended 21 consecutive BEAs. Some of you have read all 21 of my BEA Diary rants (latest one is at Being an IBPA member since 1993 (when it was PMA... sometimes more like PMS!) I'm sure this was a difficult and painful decision for the board and staff... but it was the right one. My only surprise is that it was not made two years ago after the disaster in Chicago. BEA was doing nothing for IBPA and its membership. It was the right decision to pull out and move on. I applaud Angela, Terry, Robert and his board.
Catherine Kitcho, Pele Publications says...
Posted Tuesday, September 26, 2017
From Catherine Kitcho, Pele Publications: Extremely disappointed in this decision!! I have been a PMA/IBPA member since 1998, and the Book Expo ACCESS and PRESENCE was one of the major reasons I retained my membership. I exhibited my titles in the cooperative booth on at least six occasions. Now it sounds like the Big 5 have won, and small/independent publishers have faded into the shadows again. With no presence at the biggest event in the publishing industry, we are on our own once again. I will have to rethink my membership based on this decision; unfortunately, I had just renewed last month. Wish I had known.
Elizabeth Cauthorn, Material Media LLC says...
Posted Tuesday, September 26, 2017
I agree with your decision. It was such a waste of energy and time to get no results. Thank you for your wise decision. Robert F. Powers' suggestion of a smaller show sounds promising. Even booksellers are relying on regional shows.
Elizabeth Cauthorn, Material Media LLC says...
Posted Tuesday, September 26, 2017
I agree with your decision. It was such a waste of energy and time to get no results. Thank you for your wise decision. Robert F. Powers' suggestion of a smaller show sounds promising. Even booksellers are relying on regional shows.
Robert F. Powers, Treasure Chest of Languages says...
Posted Tuesday, September 26, 2017
I second the bravo. I gave up on BEA a number of years ago. The futile expense was like putting steak into a meat grinder and getting bird doo-doo out the bottom. For me, small-time publisher of phrasebooks and dictionaries, it was a total waste. Hey, why not do like the French impressionists did in the late 19th century when the big Paris art show excluded them? Make our own show - an "Independent Book Expo" (if that's not infringing on BEA's title).
Wendy Jones, Ida Bell Publishing, L L C says...
Posted Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Bravo! Thank you for examining a long-time practice and thinking of ways to engage that are more effective. I have been a little dismayed at what appears to be a desire of IBPA to become part of the Big Boys' Tree House without envisioning a different way of doing the book business for small press and self-published authors. Peter Goodman's articles are a breath of fresh air. Let's not use the model that doesn't even work for traditional publishing, but use our imaginations to create a model that works for us. I will do all I can to come up with new ideas to assist our community. Here's a final thought from a recent dream: There is no wall that imagination and creativity can not dissolve. All the Best, Wendy Jones Writer-Publisher Ida Bell Publishing, LLC
Arlene Miller, bigwords101 The Grammar Diva says...
Posted Monday, September 25, 2017
This year is the first time I have sent a book in to Expo, and I have never attended, so I don't know much about t. I did not see any effect from having my book there, although I contacted the leads I received. However, I didn't see any effect from the ALA either, and have send a book to Frankfurt. I would be curious if anyone could explain why ALA and Frankfurt are better in coop programs than Expo. Thank you!
Lisa Pelto, Concierge Marketing Inc. says...
Posted Monday, September 25, 2017
I began my journey into publishing in 1993, back when BEA was a no-brainer. Of course you would go to BookExpo -- and you would meet catalogers, specialty retailers, booksellers, public and private librarians, and any number of others who were there to find the next best thing in books. I attended for years when it alternated from NY to Chicago to LA and other venues. It was exciting and valuable meeting new delegates that never came to NYC. When I opened my own firm in 2004, I put the BookExpo in my annual biz plan. I exhibited and used IBPA exhibit services for years too. About 5 yrs ago, I came to the conclusion that the NY show was a drain of our resources and had become focused on sustaining NY publishers and the traditional publishing model. We did attend Chicago 2016, but as delegates. I agree with IBPA's decision, and applaud IBPA for being mindful stewards of our membership dollars, our image, and the goals of the independent publishers trying to make a go of it. Well done.
Margaret Parkhurst, Banot Press says...
Posted Monday, September 25, 2017
I agree. Nobody ever contacted me and I never saw any increase in sales after participating in BEA, so I stopped going a few years. Living in the LA area, the trek was too expensive for minimal results.
Nancy Sayre, Golden Alley Press says...
Posted Monday, September 25, 2017
Thank you for this decision -- I'm in full agreement with it. My annual trek to BookExpo is getting to be more a lesson in how *not* to do things than how *to* do them.
Amy Rogers, ScienceThrillers Media says...
Posted Monday, September 25, 2017
Thank you for using your inside knowledge to help us make the best decisions!
Rob Broder, Ripple Grove Press says...
Posted Monday, September 25, 2017
Great decision. We're happy to see resources go to help small publishers get noticed elsewhere.
Melinda Clayton, Thomas-Jacob Publishing, LLC says...
Posted Monday, September 25, 2017
I think this is a great decision on the part of IBPA. I'd much rather time and resources go to endeavors that truly help small publishers and self-published authors. Thanks for looking out for us!

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