IPG's fourth annual Publisher Summit last week at the Hyatt Regency at McCormick Place in Chicago included helpful info sessions from Kobo, IPG and the Midwest Booksellers Association, as well as many educational panels that covered topics such as tactics for building awareness with independent booksellers and the importance of indie publishers to the library community. Betsy Bird, author, reviewer and collection development manager at the Evanston Public Library, gave the keynote address. There was also plenty of time for networking, advice from the IPG sales team and, of course, a fun party at the Bottom Lounge.
At a session on author events, Alex Houston and Colin McDonald from Seminary Co-op Bookstores advised publishers about ways to make sure author events are successful. Later in the programming, Suzy Takacs of the Book Cellar, Chicago, and Javier Ramirez of the Book Table, Oak Park, Ill., shared advice with publishers about how best to build awareness for their titles with independent booksellers. Some of their tips included being passionate about a select number of books; keeping communications succinct; relying on the experience and knowledge of sales reps; and using tools such as Shelf Awareness, NetGalley and the ABA White Box.
A light note was added by Curt Matthews, who launched IPG in 1981, when he described taking phone calls from "some guy" named Jeff Bezos who wanted to order books using his personal credit card.
In her closing keynote, Betsy Bird encouraged the indie publishers in the room, praising them for their brave, and diverse approach to publishing. She also discussed why children's books are indispensable to our culture. --Matt Baldacci