The journey to the New England Independent Booksellers fall conference
As I drove from my home in Massachusetts down to Providence, Rhode Island, to attend the New England Independent Booksellers fall conference – to be held in person for the first time since 2019, and just a week after publicly launching Nosy Crow Inc here in North America – I was flooded with memories of prior trips to NEIBA, as we in the industry call the show. In fact, I was struck by the realization that I attended the show for the first time 25 years prior in 1997. Despite being something of an old hand in the New England bookselling community, attending for the first time with Nosy Crow, I was also somewhat surprised to be brimming with nerves and anticipation. When I pulled into the parking lot of the exhibition hall, I had a moment of panic that I’d driven to the wrong location as I’d been on autopilot and just assumed the show was to be held where it always had been! A quick check of the program confirmed that my instincts, if not my preparation, were sound. Phew.
Setting up the Nosy Crow Inc display
I quickly got to work setting up our small table next to our distributor, Hachette Book Group’s larger display, and unfurled our newly printed bright red table cover with the Nosy Crow logo on the front. Once set up, there was time for one more coffee and a quick walk around the show floor before the doors opened and booksellers started their pilgrimage from table to table, eager to see the new books, grab a handful of sought-after galleys, and chat about business.
Many familiar faces came by to say hello and to see some of our 2023 books in printed form. It was thrilling to hear from so many people who’d read the articles about our launch in places like Publisher’s Weekly, Shelf Awareness, Publishing Perspectives and more, and wanted to learn a bit more about our plans. I was also fortunate to spend some time with our Hachette sales representative for New England, with whom I worked at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the early 2000’s, and to get to know Karen Torres who is overseeing Hachette’s business into the independent bookstore market nationwide. The Hachette team is fantastic and I can’t wait to get to know more of their reps in the coming weeks and months as we work together to bring our first books to market in May of 2023.
A sea of new books
One thing that always strikes me when attending book conferences, and this one was no different, is just how many books are published in a given year. While I know this to be the case from looking at Bookscan, reading industry reports, etc., there is nothing that quite brings it home as walking a large conference floor and seeing the sea of new books out there. While intimidating, this is an experience to keep present as, to me, it is an important reminder both of the relentless competition in the book market, and also, more importantly, just how critical it is to bring the care and attention to each and every book we publish at every step of the way from acquisition to editing, designing, producing, marketing, and selling.
Writing from the sky
Speaking of selling, I am writing this blog from 36,000 feet, having just crossed the Mississippi River, on my way to see a customer on the other side of the country and to show them some of the books we have in store for 2023 and beyond, and the nerves and excitement remain. I’ll be sure to let you know how it went next week.
If you’d like to keep up-to-date with Nosy Crow Inc news, be sure to follow us on social media at @NosyCrowUS. For any questions relating to our North American wing, please email [email protected].