In March and April, the NetGalley team attended the Audio Publishers Association Conference (APAC), London Book Fair, Festival des Livres Paris (Paris Book Festival), Leipziger Buchmesse (Leipzig Book Fair), and the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) annual meeting. This month (May), we have attended the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Publishing University and the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) Leadership Summit. We look forward to Publishers Weekly’s U.S. Book Show next!
Read all of our 2023 spring conference wrap ups:
- Part 1: APAC
- Part 2: London Book Fair
- Part 3: BISG Annual Meeting
- Part 4: Leipziger Buchmesse
- Part 5: Festival des Livres Paris
Independent Book Publishers Association Publishing University
Independent Book Publishers Association’s (IBPA) Publishing University is a vibrant gathering aimed at traditional and hybrid independent publishers, as well as author publishers, who gather to exchange knowledge, resources, strategies, solutions, and more. This year, the IBPA celebrated its 40th anniversary on Coronado Island in San Diego, with their nautical theme—”Navigate, Innovate, Elevate: Charting the Next 40 Years”.
In addition to the many conversations we had with the IBPA members at our table, and at our “Ask the Experts” sessions (where members sign up to speak to specific industry experts one-on one), the keynote programming was especially powerful this year. Friday’s keynote, “The Future is Independent – How Indie Publishers are Transforming the Industry” featured Rebekah “Bex” Borucki, founder of Row House Publishing, and Arthur Levine, founder of Levine Querido. Each of them shared their journey to founding their publishing houses, including challenges and wins. There was a lot of discussion about finding your community, filling a niche that larger publishers may not be focused on, and uplifting innovated voices. Both of the panelists emphasized that independent publishers have the books with this kind of targeted focus, which distributors may be missing from other large publishers. In many cases, getting a meeting with a distributor may be as simple writing an email to them.
Saturday’s keynote, “Legends of Black Independent Publishing: Learning from the Best”, was a wealth of knowledge. The panelists, Dr. Haki Madhubuti (Third World Press), W. Paul Coates (Black Classic Press),
Kassahun Checole (Africa World Press/The Red Sea Press), and Wade and Cheryl Hudson
(Just Us Books), and hosted by Troy Johnson (African American Literature Book Club), mentioned that they had about a hundred years of experience combined. Much of the focus of this panel was on the power of community—uplifting one another, coming together in support when, for example, an entire basement full of books is flooded, and unapologetically serving the needs of readers in their communities. From acquiring, to editing, to printing and distributing, these powerhouses of indie publishing shared their experiences and strategies with a roomful of rapt IBPA members.
In addition to the amazing keynotes, panels, and conversations, the IBPA also celebrated NetGalley’s own VP of Business Growth, Kristina Radke, who has now completed two terms on the IBPA Board of Directors. Congratulations, Kristina!