“Hundreds of Booksellers, Thousands of Books, One Great Community” — a new tagline describing an innovative partnership in the regional literary community: the Heartland Fall Forum. The Midwest Independent Booksellers Association (MIBA) and the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association (GLIBA) are joining forces to bring booksellers, publishers, vendors, and other professionals in the book industry a combined trade show in the fall of 2012 and 2013. The Heartland Fall Forum will be the largest regional trade show in the country to serve the independent bookselling market.
The idea of holding a shared Midwestern show has been discussed by book industry professionals for years and gained momentum after MIBA and GLIBA co-hosted a successful spring meeting in March 2011. Robin Allen, GLIBA’s vice president and owner of Forever Books in St. Joseph, Michigan, calls the joined trade show “an exciting opportunity to expand bookseller networking and for the boards to collaborate on issues that face independent booksellers in a changing market.” Adds GLIBA executive director, Deb Leonard, “this event will give booksellers who don’t travel to New York the opportunity to be a part of a major trade event with marquee authors, top-notch education, and a diversity of exhibitors from across the country.”
“We’ll ensure our entire membership experiences a wealth of resources and opportunities at this show,” says Carrie Obry, executive director of MIBA. The forum will allow publishers to consolidate their marketing efforts throughout the greater Midwest, while increased attendance fosters the type of rich interaction that happens when booksellers, sales reps, and authors come together in educational and networking events. Ruth Liebmann, VP, director of account marketing at Random House, Inc., says “We’re very excited about this collaboration. It’s going to be great for booksellers, publishers, and authors. It’s about having an energetic show with vibrant programming that best serves the respective memberships.”
Regional publishers are also expressing enthusiasm for the shared show. Sam Scinta, president and publisher of Fulcrum Publishing, says the collaboration “will make an already excellent show more vibrant and exciting, and will give even more reason for publishers to attend, as they will have more customers with whom to interact.”
Sales reps, whose territory often lies in both regions, have often been the strongest advocates of this joined Midwestern show. Bruce Miller calls the joint show “irresistible,” while Eric Heidemann, sales rep at Fujii Associates says, “By combining the shows, we can create a better economy for everyone.”
In 2012, the Heartland Fall Forum will be held at The Depot in downtown Minneapolis on October 3–5. In 2013, it will take place in GLIBA’s region at a location and date still to be determined. The show will be open to members of the two associations’ member states (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Nebraska, Kansas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota). All other aspects of MIBA and GLIBA’s separate programming and association structure will remain unchanged.