In an unusual change, in 2018 the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance will move its Discovery Show to March and hold it in collaboration with the Great American Bargain Book Show (GABBS) and AmericasMart Atlanta, the permanent wholesale trade center that next March is staging the Spring Gift, Home Furnishings & Holiday Market during GABBS.
"We'll be bringing three vital parts of the book business together at one show, under one roof," said SIBA executive director Wanda Jewell. "It will be an amazing opportunity for our members to get down to business in a way that aligns with current times."
For decades, regional booksellers associations have held their conferences and annual meetings in the fall, usually in September or October. SIBA has held spring meetings in conjunction with GABBS.
In an announcement, SIBA acknowledged "there will be an adjustment for members, exhibitors, and attendees during the transition from a September show in New Orleans in 2017 to a March show in Atlanta in 2018. Both SIBA and partner GABBS are committed to assisting booksellers and exhibitors in making that transition." A date has not yet been set for the March 2018 show.
In presenting the advantages of a spring Discovery Show, SIBA wrote that it will focus on "bringing top bestselling authors to the South, providing easy access to gifts and bargain books, and creating opportunities for stores to increase profit margins. SIBA's core members will enjoy a vibrant literary city that is centrally located and an easy flight or drive from all corners of SIBA's territory. Exhibitors will enjoy access to GABBS & MART attendees in addition to all of SIBA's regulars. SIBA will have access to booksellers across the nation who attend GABBS and will increase the vitality of SIBA's education. Being off-season from the other shows will allow for publishers and exhibitors to focus on the SIBA show and SIBA booksellers. SIBA booksellers will have the opportunity to plan for the year, seeing both what is currently available and what is forthcoming, not to mention the opportunity for gift buying for summer, fall & winter that will be possible. Perhaps most importantly for the region, Southern football will no longer prevent many bookseller members from attending the SIBA Discovery Show."
SIBA said, too, that cost-sharing with GABBS frees up money for more immersive education and professional speakers in addition to industry contributors.