We want everyone to get the most out of Heartland as possible. Read our blog post for tips on navigating the show floor, forging connections, and staying comfortable while you spend a few days on your feet.
Download the Eventleaf Guide app
New this year! We have an app that serves as a complete trade show navigating experience: View event info, get push notifications from Heartland, message other attendees, arrange meetings, and take notes. Download the app and watch a quick video at the bottom of the page. This website will remain operational, but using the app is the best way to navigate the show.
Join the Heartland Discord server
New this year! White the Guide app leads you through the show and offers attendee-to-attendee messaging, join the Discord server to communicate with all Heartland attendees. Share rides, plan dinners, shout out questions about the show. Bookseller and publisher attendees have all been invited, so join this effective and fun tool for networking and communication. The link to join the server has been emailed directly to your inbox.
Pack for comfort and self-care. Pack a water bottle, comfortable shoes, and a warm layer in case the venue is cold. Whether you dress up a bit or wear your favorite bookstore T-shirt and sneakers, Heartland welcomes you as you are. Grab an external phone charger if you have it so you can use Heartland’s digital tools and your smartphone all day long.
Laptop. We are offering two working sessions in our education block. Bring your laptop if you are planning to attend the following sessions
FedEx account number. The Renaissance Center will organize pre-labeled shipments for FedEx pick up. All you need to do is bring your account number and use the provided supplies to pack up your boxes. This shipping option cannot be scheduled and will be sent via the slowest delivery option. If you need advanced delivery options, visit Allegra Printing in the venue where they offer FedEx shipping.
Business cards and/or press kit. Be sure to bring something to share with attendees an exhibitors, such a business card, book mark, or better yet, a press kit for your store. Sharing a press kit is an excellent way to break the ice with exhibitors on the show floor, and a great way to spark a conversation with a bookseller. (Our friends at NAIBA have a lot of great press kit samples on their website.)
Birdie's book drive. Heartland is hosting a book drive for Birdie’s Bookmobile, a local nonprofit dedicated to delivering reading materials to book deserts throughout Detroit. If you have room, pack books to donate to Birdie’s. Read more here.
Prepare your icebreakers: Think about a few specific tasks you might accomplish at the show. Would you like to build a wider backlist section, bulk up on a specific category, or draw more authors to your store? Think about this goal in detail and jot down a few talking points to easily start conversations with exhibitors.
When it comes to booksellers, what would you most like to chat about with a few hundred other likeminded people running the same type of business? Take a few moments to think about the answer to this question and ask the booksellers you meet. Ask your staff to prepare talking points about their favorite subjects and genres. Publishers especially love to know what booksellers are the best readers for their galleys.
Working with publishers and exhibitors
Remember that publishers and industry exhibitors make this show possible. Their support and participation drive the entire gathering, so it’s the least we can do to make their experience as valuable as possible.
Spend as much time as you can on the show floor, meeting with new exhibitors, speaking with reps, and discussing titles that you’re excited about--even if you’re not placing orders or if you’ve already done your ordering. We've talked with publishers about their goals for the show, and while placing orders is important, they really want to get to know booksellers, so broaden your focus to include far more than just seeing frontlist titles. As the people who bring their job to life by selling books to readers, you are a special commodity, so say hello.
Overall, think about the show in the broadest way possible. It's not only an opportunity to place orders or touch the books. It's also a tremendous tool to serve your needs, whatever they are, and also a big networking event and party that allows you to promote your store and simply chat with people who support you.
Attend the rep events and let the participating reps know that you valued their presentations. For many publishers, this platform for reps is one of the primary benefits of supporting the conference. Attending these events goes a long way toward ensuring that we can continue to host them and have an awesome show.
Show specials. There are two ways to access the show specials, which are special discounts to economize placing orders at the show.
Never take without asking
Exhibitors are generally happy to give you display copies of their books if you ask them, but remember to ask before you take anything from an exhibit. Sometimes publishers need to retain a copy for the duration of the show floor, but would be fine if you came back by at the close of the event.
Throughout the trade show floor, you’ll notice items in booths flagged with a “Silent Auction” marker. These items have been donated to benefit BINC, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, and you can bid on these items throughout the show floor’s open periods. At 11:00 am on Friday, one hour before the close of the show floor, the winning bids will be announced. This can be an excellent way to purchase inventory below cost and come away from the trade show as a literal “winner.”
Let's all come together to support children in Detroit. Birdie's Bookmobile is accepting across all categories and genres at the Heartland Fall Forum.
Donation bins will be located in the Ontario foyer from the beginning through the end of the show.
Reading is essential to a child's development. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to books. The Heartland Fall Forum Book Drive for Birdie's Bookmobile is a great way to partner with Birdie's to help them accomplish their mission.
Birdie's Bookmobile is dedicated to eliminating book deserts and making diverse books accessible to children in Detroit. Birdie's mission is to build home libraries, improve literacy outcomes, grow lifelong readers, and raise the next generation of storytellers.
Since launching in June 2022, Birdie’s Bookmobile has given away more than 10,000 books to children in Detroit. We partner with schools and literacy organizations to distribute free books.
Book Needs for Children from birth to 18
TUESDAY, October 17, 2023
Westgate Shopping Center
2513 Jackson Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
6:30pm: Local Michigan Romance author Erin Hahn
7260 Orchard Lake Road,
West Bloomfield Twp, MI 48322
6:30pm: Linda Kass, author and owner of Gramercy Books in Columbus https://www.schulerbooks.com/event/bessie-linda-kass
4240 Cass Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201
7pm: The Future of Bookselling – A Book Launch and Conversation with Danny Caine and Josh Cook, with refreshments from Biblioasis (beer + pizza)
WEDNESDAY, October 18, 2023
27th Letter Books
3546 Michigan Ave.
Detroit, MI 48216-1007
6:00pm: A constellation of poets hits the 27th Letter Books stage: visiting poet Kevin Cantwell, John (Cal) Freeman, and Christina Kallery
THURSDAY, October 19, 2023
Third Man Records
441 W Canfield Ave
Detroit, MI 48201
7pm: WDET’s Ann Delisi’s Essential Conversations: Nabil Ayers @ Third Man Records
Friday, October 20, 2023
DSO Orchestra Hall
Presented by Source Booksellers
6:00pm: Jada Pinkett Smith – Worthy Book Tour
Source Booksellers presents: Jada Pinkett Smith at DSO Orchestra Hall
Every ticket to this event includes a copy of Worthy (on sale: October 17, published by Dey Street!! Tickets Available in Eventbrite or in store at Source Booksellers
Renowned Detroit Bookseller and Educator, Janet Webster Jones, Awarded the 2023 Voice of the Heartland
The boards of the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association and the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association are honored to present Janet Jones, owner of Source Booksellers in Detroit, MI, with the 2023 Voice of the Heartland Award. This award is given in recognition of individuals and organizations who uphold the value of independent bookselling and have made a significant contribution to bookselling in the Midwest.
Detroit, MI — Janet Webster Jones, a trailblazer in both education and bookselling, has been honored with the prestigious 2023 Voice of the Heartland Award. Her lifelong commitment to fostering a love of learning and promoting literacy within her community has earned her this well-deserved recognition.
Janet's journey is closely intertwined with Detroit's history, mirroring the city's triumphs and struggles. She witnessed the rise of the automobile industry and the subsequent Great Migration, which transformed Detroit. Her story echoes the city's vibrant cultural history, from the Motown era to the challenges posed by suburbanization.
Janet opened her first brick and mortar store, Source Booksellers, inside the Spiral Collective – a shared space with three other women-owned, African American businesses on Cass Avenue and Willis Street in Detroit's Midtown area in 2002.
In 2013, as Detroit faced bankruptcy, Janet seized an opportunity to open Source Booksellers in the Midtown district, contributing to the neighborhood's revitalization. Her bookstore has always focused on history, culture, health, metaphysics, spirituality, and literature by and about women. Janet's commitment extended beyond selling books; she actively promoted titles on vital topics, such as water resources and racial history, making Source an essential hub for social discourse.
Janet's life's work epitomizes dedication to service, education, and community building. Her story is a testament to the legacy of women who have played pivotal roles in creating and sustaining Black-owned bookstores throughout American history. Through Source Booksellers, Janet continues to envelop her community in knowledge, care, and love, leaving an indelible mark on the literary landscape.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with Janet and her team for the past decade, but she was championing bookselling and reading throughout Southeast MI long before that. I first called on Janet on a cold winter day in February 2014. Detroit was just starting to emerge from its economic woes and the Cass Corridor in midtown was on the cusp, with Source anchoring a neighborhood on the rise. What I remember most that day is the warmth and acceptance radiating from Janet and the team for every patron walking through the door--including myself. Janet led Source through its most impressive feat by pivoting during the pandemic in previously unimaginable ways with an online store, virtual events with leading voices in the social justice movement and doubling their physical space. Another important reason Janet deserves this award is the groundwork she has laid for other Indies opening in the Detroit area. A mentor to these younger booksellers, Janet’s impeccable taste in great books and tireless grit make for a great role model for the bookselling community. Congratulations Janet--keep smiling.” --John Tewsley, Sales Rep (IPS)
“There is never not a time when I'm visiting Source Booksellers and Janet Jones isn't planning for something. Usually, it's planning for an event later that evening -- an author talk, a community discussion, a panel of thinkers -- that always, inevitably, enriches our home city's intellect. Or she might be planning to order more books from local authors, as they routinely sell out based on her recommendations to customers. Janet is always busy -- and in the best way possible, because Source is a crucial part of not just Detroit's literary scene, but one of the city's premier small businesses period. Her commitment to education and enlightenment is why people keep coming back over and over, always served with warmth and care.” --Aaron Foley, Journalist and Author
“Janet Jones is the absolute best sort of independent bookseller. She fell into it naturally after a career in teaching when she found herself continuing to teach informally by selling books on folding tables at events. When she opened her modest bricks and mortar store, she, in her words, 'was answering the needs of people.' Which is the best way to come to bookselling. She understood that 'the business has to be meaningful in the community where it is.' For these reasons and so many more--her clear sense of purpose, her erudition, passion for what she does, her kind encouragement of young BIPOC booksellers, her prioritizing of mission over profit--I can't think of a better person to receive this recognition.” --Kris Kleindienst, Owner (Left Bank Books, MO), 2022 Voice of the Heartland Winner
“Janet Jones, founder of Source Booksellers, is an exemplar of the entrepreneurial spirit, the wisdom of elders, and concern for community. She is a reflection of perseverance and academic striving within the Black experience in Detroit. Dedicated to the love of books - even in the midst of increased E-readership - she is a pillar of Midtown Detroit redevelopment, and engagement with ideas, connection and counsel. She has been a mentor in my life as a writer, and I am ever thankful for her presence when I cross the threshold of the bookstore that she runs with her daughter – their generational legacy. She is the very definition of a Voice of the Heartland, in her amplification of literary voices, in Detroit and beyond.” --Marsha Philpot, aka Marsha Music, Detroitist, Writer and Poet
“I always feel like I'm in the presence of royalty whenever I interact with Janet: Book Industry royalty, Detroit royalty, African American royalty, woman-owned business royalty--but without all the pomp and circumstance, because she also feels like family. I'm never at a loss for something to talk about with Janet... and really, books just end up being the catalyst for the good conversations. So, it never feels like a job. Source Booksellers is legendary. And I'm so lucky to have been able to peer behind the curtain and meet the queens running the place!" --Chris Conti, Creative Producer & Manager (MASS Moca Research and Development Store)
“Janet is someone that I really admire. She has brought books to her community for years, and still has the drive and energy of someone who is just starting out in the industry. Top that off with her spirit of generosity with everyone she comes in contact with, and you have someone who is an example to all of us of what it means to truly connect people through books.”
--Tim Smith, Operations Manager (Schuler Books, MI), GLIBA Board President
Janet has been someone I have admired from the moment I met her. Her work within the community is remarkable and has helped to change the face of the Detroit literary scene. This accomplishment or her work as a judge for the National Book Award alone would make Janet worthy of the Voice of the Heartland Award. But on top of her professional and community-driven accomplishments, Janet is one of the most generous, loving, welcoming, and motivating people you will ever meet. Every conversation with Janet leaves you happier, more peaceful, enlightened, and optimistic. Janet is a rare individual who is truly kind and effortlessly generous with her time. We are a better community because Janet is a part of it.
—Larry Law, Executive Director (Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association)
The Voice of the Heartland award is a collaboration between the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association and the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, who come together each year to produce the Heartland Fall Forum—a trade show for independent booksellers across the Great Lakes and Midwest. Voice of the Heartland is an annual highlight of the joint awards celebration hosted at the trade show.
Ms. Jones will be presented with the award during Heartland Fall Forum in Detroit at the Heartland Booksellers Award Ceremony, on Wednesday, October 18.
We had a record number of stores apply for Heartland scholarships this year and we are thrilled to grant travel scholarships to 20 booksellers!
Thank you to the generous scholarships funded by BINC and Macmillan as well as our scholarship sponsors for their direct support of the Heartland scholarship fund--Fujii, Bookshop, HarperCollins, and Scholastic. In addition, Heartland is able to fund even more scholarships due to the generosity of all our sponsors, so thank you to all.
"As independent booksellers, we occupy a very unique space in the marketplace. The opportunity that Heartland Fall Forum allows for us to come together, check-in, and discover what's working with fellow booksellers in our region is vital to the continued growth or our community." --Michelle Shaver, Carmichael’s Bookstore
Thank you sponsors!