From October 9 – 11 independent booksellers from the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association (GLIBA) and the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association (MIBA) came together for a weekend of industry education, inspiring authors, and of course books, during the 4th annual Heartland Fall Forum. The underlying theme of the weekend was an appreciation of the work that indie booksellers do and the dedication they have for literature and the industry.
On Friday afternoon booksellers enjoyed a tour of Sourcebooks’ offices and then Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville. Later in the day, at the beginning of the Book Awards Dinner, Executive Directors Carrie Obry and Deb Leonard addressed the excited crowd of booksellers welcoming them and explaining that there were enough books for everyone and after the dinner was over to calmly go to the correct side of the room to get your signed books.
Penny and Pam were delighted to meet and talk with Binc Communication & Marketing Committee member Sue Roggee from Chapter 2 Books at dinner. During the awards dinner The Voice of the Heartland Award was given to Ted Heinecken for his work as a sales rep at various houses including Fujii, bringing wisdom and service to booksellers in the region starting in 1963 and working until early 2015! After receiving the Great Lakes Great Reads award, author Emily St. John Mandel expressed her appreciation to the audience saying, “I’m grateful to indie booksellers not just as an author, but as a reader and a citizen.”
On Saturday, a day of education started with membership meetings. Penny was happy to be able to talk about Binc and the programs offered to assist booksellers at the GLIBA membership meeting. Many thanks to Deb Leonard and the board of GLIBA for the opportunity speak at the meeting.
At the Ideas that Work (And Those That Don’t) plenary session dozens of booksellers contributed ideas for events and promotions that they have used at their stores so that other booksellers could benefit from their experiences. The education sessions continued through the day with a lunch break for the always-popular Moveable Feast Luncheon featuring a host of authors moving from table to table telling booksellers about their books.
During the day on Saturday, Pam and Penny visited two bookstores. First they went to The Bookstore in nearby Glen Ellyn. This small store on a charming street had just been awarded the 45 year award at the MIBA membership meeting that morning! It was easy to see why such a sweet shop would be in business such a long time. Congratulations! Next the Binc team visited Anderson’s Bookshop in Downer’s Grove. Another great bookstore with a huge kids section and friendly staff!
At the Author Dinner Saturday night the authors delighted attendees with stories of how they got their starts as writers and never lost hope despite the misadventures they’d had over the years. Author Ethan Canin related his experiences with fear of public speaking and how using a Beta Blocker to calm him down before a presentation resulted in a profound case of dry mouth. All the speakers were grateful to the booksellers in the room for the care they have shown in hand-selling their books and the welcome they get when they visit indie bookstores. During her speech, Jacquelyn Michard shared that; “nothing bad has ever happened to me in a place that has bookshelves.” Everyone in the room agreed.
At the Children’s Author Breakfast on Sunday morning, many booksellers were slow to get going after the night’s fierce Quiz Bowl Competition. The speakers woke them up quickly. Before relating the hilarious tale of how he was yelled at in a restaurant for NOT being John Grisham, author David Baldacci exclaimed, “It’s safe to say, Indies made my career!” Andrea Davis Pinkney started the speech for her book Rhythm Ride with a song keeping everyone’s attention focused and energized. Finally, the delightful last minute addition of Bruce Colville speaking in his characters’ voices from Diary of a Mad Brownie got the audience laughing. No one is going to sleep through that!
The high energy continued when booksellers visited the trade show floor. The Silent auction was again huge success raising $6,470 to benefit the programs of Binc to assist booksellers in need. Many thanks to Nathan Montoya from Village Lights Bookstore for being the “Voice of Binc” and reminding attendees to bid on the auction items. Thanks also to Jenny Keeley who organizes and runs the auction each year! We love you Jenny! Tom Lowry of Lowry’s Books and More and Gloria Tiller of Kazoo Books calculate all the donations at the end of the event and we are so thankful for their time and effort! And finally to the staff and board of GLIBA & MiBA for allowing Binc to be the recipient of the auction!
A big thanks again to Deb Leonard and Carrie Obry, their staff members, volunteers and the boards of GLIBA and MIBA for including us in Heartland and for again naming Binc as the beneficiary of the silent auction. We are so grateful for your continuing support! We’ll see you again next year in Minneapolis!