New Voices New Rooms (NVNR), the virtual event platform created by New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association (NAIBA) and the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) is going live in 2023 for a joint, in-person conference.
The event promises to break the mold. The two associations have moved the conference from the Fall schedule to early August to coincide with holiday-season buying for bookstores. “The shift to early August supports our bookstores by moving it away from peak hurricane, football, school, and community festival season,” said Linda-Marie Barrett, executive director of SIBA. It will be hosted in northern Virginia and take advantage of venues outside the hotel for meetings and events. Buying from publishers and vendors will be more focused and purposeful and will not be structured as a typical exhibit hall. Education will take place on days one and three, with day two devoted to book and merchandise preview and buying.
“We want to create an event that will be memorable as well as productive for all our booksellers,” said Eileen Dengler, executive director of NAIBA.
“We want to add whimsy to the work to be done at the conference.” Linda-Marie Barrett adds, “Making this event meaningful to our booksellers is our #1 priority. We’d love them to leave thinking, ‘Wow! That was an amazing experience.’ Our teams are working together to create a truly innovative gathering that will help stores improve their businesses in big and small ways.”
New Voices New Rooms was created by the two associations in response to Covid restrictions in 2020. It has hosted four conferences and over two dozen bookseller events and retreats since its inception. The online platform will be used to support the in-person event. Many of the familiar and now-beloved elements of the virtual conferences, including Bookstore Row, Readers of the Last ARC galley room, publisher studios, and communication between attendees, will complement the in-person event.
New Voices New Rooms will continue to provide virtual programming for booksellers. Upcoming events include; The VIndies: A Celebration of Indie Bookstore Videos (November 2022); Virtual Owners Retreat (January 2023); Virtual Publicity Speed Dating (April 2023). NAIBA will also host an in-person publicity speed in March in New York City.