The Midwest Independent Booksellers Association and the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association kicked off their second joint show, Heartland Fall Forum, with a bang Thursday evening by announcing to the throng of booksellers and authors packing a hotel ballroom at the O’Hare Crowne Plaza Hotel in suburban Chicago that the “two-year experiment” has been a success that has even "exceeded" all expectations; the joint show will go on. The boards of the two organizations first met separately, and then came together earlier in the day and formally agreed, in GLIBA executive director Deb Leonard’s words, to hold a joint show, “forever and in perpetuity.” It was, Leonard disclosed, a unanimous decision on the part of the members of both boards.
“We had already decided it in our minds,” MIBA executive director Carrie Obry told PW during the show’s opening reception, which featured 15 authors signing books for attendees. “We just have to work out some back office details, to make it more efficient – like setting up a common database.” Both Obry and Leonard emphasized that there are no plans to merge the two organizations.
Booksellers were receptive to the decision to continue holding a joint show, with Judith Kissner of Scout & Morgan Books in Cambridge, Minn., declaring, "It's a more robust show when more people are there." Publishers were even more enthusiastic. Doug Seibold, Agate publisher, who brought five authors to the show this year, told PW after the announcement was made, “The fact that they merged bookseller events makes it easier for independent presses like me to come. It’s a slam dunk for a company like ours.”
The two organizations decided at the MIBA show in 2011 to hold joint shows in 2012 and in 2013, because of, both organizations explained at the time, repeated requests to do so from publishers, as well as the two organizations’ desires to streamline operations and consolidate resources.
Heartland Fall Forum will be held at the Depot Renaissance Hotel in Minneapolis Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2014 and again in 2016, from Oct. 5-7, Obry said. GLIBA will host the 2015 show, but the venue and city have not been determined.