The Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association (GLiBA) trade show was in Dearborn, Michigan again this year. This three-day event allows booksellers, publishers, authors, and media from around the region to gather together, share best practices, make connections, and talk about books. It is a love fest for all things written, both electronic and in print. The vibe is unbelievable, and I always return from this event reenergized and excited about reading again. This year was no different.
As like in years past, the first official day of the trade show was the day for various seminars. This year’s topics included how to outsource, small business management, social media, adult and kids books generating buzz, and so much more. This year’s social media panel included Becky Anderson, from Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville and Downer’s Grove, IL, Saundra Mitchell, author of The Vespertine, and Jen Forbus, blogger behind Jen’s Book Thoughts. Each woman presented their own usage of and success with social media from their own perspectives. Becky shared her use of QR codes and how they are capitalizing on Facebook and Twitter. Saundra had a similar message but from the vantage of having used social media to promote a book tour. Jen’s message was by far the most progressive and the one that generated the most discussion, as she showed how bloggers can help build buzz not only for books but also for book events. She highlighted Rebecca‘s work with SIBA and Get in Bed with a Book Blogger, as well as Bethanne Patrick‘s literacy campaign with #FridayReads on Twitter. She used her own experiences to show that bloggers provide much more outside-the-box promotional opportunities, and we do it for free, than anything else out there. Jen definitely caused a buzz among the audience, and hopefully, at least one or two booksellers came away with some ideas.
The trade show floor itself was open on Saturday, and this year’s theme was definitely the proliferation of Young Adult novels. More than half of HarperCollins‘ table was filled with goodies from HarperTeen, and the other publishers were similar. Those who love YA were in heaven by the galleys available as well as those high-buzz books that were there for display only. Fully half of the books I picked up were YA, and more than one publisher commented on how brilliant most of them are. The YA trend is here to stay for a while, it would seem.
The author events are truly where GLiBA shines. For a small fee/donation, one can eat dinner with three different authors during the Author Feast. the children’s author brunch on Sunday, and the key-note author banquet on Saturday night. There was also a separate author signing and happy hour on Saturday afternoon prior to the banquet. Authors at the Author Feast included Theresa Weir (The Orchard: A Memoir), Elizabeth Bunce (A Curse Dark as Gold), and Martha Southgate (The Taste of Salt), Jeffrey Zaslow (The Last Lecture), Lisa McMann (The Unwanteds) and others. One could see Jen Lancaster, Kristina Riggle, Mike Mullin, and others at the author signing, while the banquet hosted Max Allan Collins, Luis Alberto Urrea and Christopher Moore, all of whom were endearing and hilarious in their own right. Each author was charming and gracious and truly seemed surprised to see people line up for their signatures. The fact that seasoned booksellers were gushing as much as I was is proof positive that an author is a bibliophile’s rock star
After the headiness of attending my very first trade show last year, my goal this year was to make connections, talk with as many people as possible, and be selective about the books I chose to bring home. After over two years of bemoaning the fact that I cannot find an independent book store in my area, I was able to connect with two located in Cincinnati and one in Indiana. I cannot wait to go to their stores, check them out and see if we can create some sort of working relationship. I talked with several booksellers, publishers and authors. One in particular, David Finch, was absolutely adorable. His first novel, The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband, is being released in early January, and based on what I heard from him and his brief reading, it is going to be hilarious. In fact, it was one of my must-get books for the show. As for my stack o’ books, I do not have a final count yet. I do know that all of the YA offerings were a definite weakness and had they not been available, I would have met my goal of being more selective. I was very selective on adult novels, however, even though there were some amazing books available. If the trade show offerings were any indication, the fall and winter 2011 selections are going to continue to build on a fabulous year in books.
I truly love the GLiBA trade show. For a regional organization, they know how to organize an event. All in one location, within an easy driving distance for a large majority of the participants, there is all of the fun without the long walks and waits that occur in New York during Book Expo America (BEA). For the second year in a row, I was completely blown away by the sheer number of authors and publishers that were accessible and the volume of books being given away at the various events. While there are lines, no one ever has to wait in line for hours on end for one signature. Better yet, the chance that one is going to run into an author and start chatting on the trade show floor is great. With perks like these, who needs BEA when you have GLiBA?
Thank you to everyone on the GLiBA board for hosting such a tremendous event and making it available for bloggers!