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BEA, Pub Summit, and Sales Conference: IPG Staff’s Biggest Takeaways

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Two weeks ago the IPG staff, inspired by Book Expo America returning to our beautiful city of Chicago, came together in what can only be called a feat of publishing endurance. Dubbed by many as the “three-ring circus” of publishing, we set out to tackle our annual IPG Publisher Summit, bi-annual Sales Conference, and the largest trade show in America all in the same week!

As a result of months of hard work and planning by various remarkable members of our sales and marketing departments, it was a wild success. We had an absolutely wonderful time mingling with our publishers, sales representatives, and just about everyone else in the publishing industry. Here’s some of what our staff had to say about their biggest takeaways from the week.


Joe Matthews, CEO: “Our 2016 summit was a huge success! I’m so proud of the IPG team for pulling together such stellar programming for more than 80 of our publishers. I can’t thank our sponsors and nearly 20 exhibitors enough for helping us deliver so much value for our publisher partners.”



392Richard T. Williams, Director, Publisher Development: “The overall vibe of the week was one of reaffirmation, as IPG solidified its position within the industry but also had many new exciting developments to proclaim, including my own promotion into the role of publisher development. That being said, I was overjoyed by the opportunity to meet so many of our client publishers face to face and felt a very warm reception, not only from them to me, but also among each other. Publishers seemed to relish the opportunity to meet other clients and feel as if they were part of a community. The IPG community is very strong right now, and I’m very happy to be a central part of it.”


Niki Stuckmann, Marketing Associate: “A lot of my meetings were with the Regional Association heads, and a lot of great ideas to connect publishers and their titles with the indie booksellers were tossed around. I am excited to get working on them! We tossed around the ideas of campaigns, packages, and even a trio of art pieces displayed around the South based on a book. I think the most valuable thing that came out of our meetings was meeting the heads face-to-face. This helps establish you in their memory, as well as make them a person, and not an email, in their mind. That is so important if you want to work closely with an organization.”


668Mallori Bontrager, Digital Production Manager: “The fear of what ebook sales do to print sales has mostly subsided, which is wonderful. Publishers are more and more willing to try new things; whether that’s a new format or a new model, and it’s really exciting! From the perspective of our vendors, there is a big push into international markets. Library suppliers are connecting with public and school libraries around the world. Retail vendors have been making moves into international markets for a while, but now Library vendors are expanding.”



305Cynthia Murphy, Library Sales Manager: “I think the biggest losers were the New York publishing houses which elected to skip BEA and BookCon. We had several conversations with attendees who hadn’t been to BEA in years. On the whole they seemed more energetic, enthused, and interested in what IPG and our publishers have to offer. It was truly a pleasure chatting with them.”



Lauren Klouda, Marketing Manager, Print & Digital: “Audiobooks have arrived in a major way. It’s a really interesting shift because audiobooks and even the digital versions and streaming services have been around for a very long time yet we’re just in the past few years starting to see readers embracing the format on a much bigger scale and the sales are growing at a rate that makes it so much more reasonable and exciting to encourage publishers to create these versions of their content. IPG is excited to announce that we’re nore distributing digital audiobooks to Audible, ACX, iTunes, Findaway, OverDrive,, and many others (a more comprehensive article about that to follow). ”


Mary Kravenas, Marketing Manager, Chicago Review Press: “It’s always great to have the opportunity to have an event on home turf. The show felt a bit smaller this year – I haven’t read the official numbers to see if this was indeed the case – but the change in venue was also a great opportunity to make new connections, and for attendees who can’t make it to New York due to budgets or proximity to be able to attend the show. I met a number of librarians this year, and the conversations were more focused. It was quality versus quantity.”


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