Trade Show

2013 NCIBA Trade Show

How was the show? That’s the question we asked booksellers and exhibitors. Here’s some of what they had to say:

Booksellers

I really enjoyed the show and the venue. The author events were great, the food surprisingly good. I would love to see sidelines represented at show again but realize that those companies have their cost constraints.

I thought things went pretty smoothly and prefer Thursday-Friday, only because it’s easier to send booksellers to the show during the week than on a busy weekend.

I thought it was a great show. Attendance was good, lots of publishers, and the vibe was very upbeat. I’m really excited about California Bookstore Day. Also, it was great  to have a children’s track this year. I have a new children’s specialist who is really excited to learn. And for myself, in 20+ years of bookselling I’ve never really had to deal much with kid books, so I was interested to pick up some new skills.

Maybe it’s just that I’m getting the hang of it, but everything felt very smooth and manageable this year.

Exhibitors

I thought the show was great this year. I love having the children’s rep picks prior to the tea - getting to pull from the same audience. I didn’t make it to the tea last year but thought that ran smoothly. I am also am a fan of the evening showroom for a few hours. That was very busy for us and had a celebratory feel (probably the alcohol).

I think the show went very smoothly. I saw a lot of the people I most admire in this world. I saw a lot of exciting new titles. The exhibitors were happy, the booksellers were happy, the food was good, and I found a place to park near the hall that the seagulls have not yet discovered. What more could a guy ask for at a trade show?

I loved the energy and the foot traffic on Thursday night as people really didn’t want to leave. I think the pre-opening social event is just wonderful! Books no longer go missing - I think those folks no longer come to the show. Orders came in a good pace. Overall, I would rate the show a 98 out of 100.

We also received some terrific constructive feedback that will help us make the show better next year, and we appreciate everyone who took the time to offer thoughtful observations and comments.

And special thanks to Jock Hayward of Hand Associates, who, in a desperate attempt to find fault with something at the show, made our day with the following:

Since you are looking for complaints, so you can make improvements, I’ve racked my brain trying to think of something to criticize. After a considerable amount of time I finally came up with something. In the men’s room, at the wash basins, when I put my hand under the soap dispenser, the water when on, but the soap dispenser refused to dispense. When I put my hand under the water faucet, soap squirted out out of the soap dispenser, but I couldn’t get any water. Since I have been a bookseller, I know how to improvise when confronted by the unexpected. I was able to fashion a way to wash my hands even with this infuriating, no-doubt Republican-inspired, affliction. Still, we must not be complacent and let this happen again next year.

Among other highlights, our three Rep Picks sessions were all well-attended and well-received; our education sessions garnered kudos (especially the Common Core panel); the author meal events were all packed and had booksellers buzzing afterwards; and our Thursday evening cocktail party and show floor preview was a big hit.

One costly experiment was the shuttle service we provided from and to the San Bruno BART station. Thanks to underwriting support from Partners West and BookExpo America, the net cost to NCIBA was about $1000, but we only had 40 attendees use the service over the two days. We’ll be reviewing the efficacy of the program in coming months. We also will be looking at the timing of certain events and the show floor hours on the second day in an attempt to maximize attendance and productivity.

The host hotel received decent reviews, but several folks noted the convenience of the Holiday Inn next door to the Conference Center. We will be talking to both facilities about 2014.

But overall, both the show and the venue worked for exhibitors and attendees alike, so we’re going back next year. Mark your calendars for October 23-24, 2014, at the South San Francisco Conference Center. We’re sticking with a Thursday-Friday schedule as booksellers overwhelmingly prefer that to one that includes the weekend.

Keynote speaker Nancy Horan (left) with Book Passage’s Janel Feierabend, who introduced Horan. Photo by Bridget Kinsella.

Keynote speaker Nancy Horan (left) with Book Passage’s Janel Feierabend, who introduced Horan. Photo by Bridget Kinsella.

Tales of the City author Armistead Maupin with Mike Barnard of Rakestraw Books. Barnard introduced Maupin at the Buzz Lunch. Photo by Bridget Kinsella.

Tales of the City author Armistead Maupin with Mike Barnard of Rakestraw Books. Barnard introduced Maupin at the Buzz Lunch. Photo by Bridget Kinsella.

Author Cynthia Voigt with Valerie Lewis, emcee of the Children’s Author Tea. Photo by Bridget Kinsella.

Author Cynthia Voigt with Valerie Lewis, emcee of the Children’s Author Tea. Photo by Bridget Kinsella.

Laurel Bookstore’s Luan Stauss and Diesel, a Boosktore’s John Evans flank author Ishmael Beah at the Buzz Lunch. Photo by Wendy Werris.

Laurel Bookstore’s Luan Stauss and Diesel, a Boosktore’s John Evans flank author Ishmael Beah at the Buzz Lunch. Photo by Wendy Werris.

Show Business - a vibrant trade show floor.

Show Business - a vibrant trade show floor.

More than 50 booksellers heard about hot new books from eight sales reps in the Small Press Rep Picks session.

More than 50 booksellers heard about hot new books from eight sales reps in the Small Press Rep Picks session.

Watch Our Videos of New Trade Show Venue

With the NCIBA trade show just around the corner, we thought you might like to actually see where we’re going to be. These five short videos aren’t high art (I know, don’t give up my day job), but they do provide a brief overview of the conference center, both outside and in — a sense of place, if you will.