BA Conference 2023

Blog · Posted October 8, 2023

The bookselling tribe at play…

Every year, our industry trade body, The Booksellers Association, gather us together for a very noisy conference (party). Booksellers are a collegiate bunch – sharing the highs and lows of our trade, and liberally pinching the best ideas from each other.

The BA Conference is an opportunity for publishers to show off their biggest books for Christmas and the coming Spring season, booksellers to catch up with each other, and, best of all, we hear from lots of wonderful authors, ‘speed-pitching’ their wares.

This year, we were lucky enough to hear from Katherine Rundell – a longtime favourite of the books team at Mainstreet, you can see below, how thrilled Rosamund was to meet her and have a book signed. We highly recommend her new book, Impossible Creatures, click here for Sarah’s review… Another highlight was a draw-along with brilliant children’s illustrator, Sarah McIntyre – it turns out anyone can draw a mouse in a coat if instructed to place the right pencil lines in the right order!

Finally, we had the privilege of hearing Clive Myrie talk about his new memoir – what a man, we could have listened to him all day.

This year was bookseller Vicky’s first visit to the Conference. She says:

Though no one quite knows where Hinckley Island is (I still couldn’t tell you), thence we journeyed at the end of September for the annual BA Conference – made ever so slightly more tricky with the ubiquitous train strikes. 

Within 5 minutes of arriving I had 4 books in my hand, queuing to get them signed. We were treated to dinner, drinks and afternoon teas, all the while hearing from authors about their new books for 2024. In workshops I learnt invaluable tips from fellow booksellers and bookshop owners, made wise by years of experience.

If I had to describe my first BA Conference in one word it would be welcoming. Surrounded by booklovers (booksellers), listening to booklovers (authors and publishers) talking about books. What a great way to spend a weekend! (Now to get through all those proofs I picked up…)