President’s Letter

If you’re reading this letter, I know you have a positive memory about your first experience in the book publishing industry. For some it was a job at a bookstore. For others, getting paid to write or edit or draw was really special. Or cleaning up the area around a big Heidelberg printing press set you on your way to a career. Mine involved packing books and making deliveries to bookstores when I was in high school.

Speaking of “first times,” I have a vivid memory of the first time I attended BookExpo America. It was in Los Angeles, in 2003. Lots of things blew my mind that week, but I will always remember the moment I first walked through those convention hall doors and—as far as one could see—there was nothing but books, books, and more books! How, exactly, would my small collection of titles ever get discovered in this ocean? I knew I could not do this alone.

A few years later, in 2005, I found myself in Portland, attending my first PubWest Conference. Again, my experience was awesome. Kalen Landow and Dave Jenney and Jackie Thompson and Mark Ouimet all took me under their wings and taught me a new thing or two about book publishing. I remember sitting in the bar with my new friends, sharing stories about our industry, and what worked and what didn’t.

This is PubWest. Making friends and learning new things. Be it in Seattle, Tucson, New Orleans, Chicago, or anywhere in the middle, we all have a similar desire to gather together, share our successes, and learn from each other. We have been doing this for forty-plus years, and the connections keep growing and growing!

If you are new to PubWest (or just investigating us)—welcome! You have found the best association of book publishers in North America. We offer many opportunities to get involved, including:

  • Annual Conference. We bring in quality speakers, hold educational workshops, and make sure there’s ample time to chat with one another. See you there in February!
  • Book Design Awards. This competition (held each spring) showcases the best books made by our members. Designers take pride in being recognized by PubWest. And boy, you should see the beautiful products!
  • Meet our Vendors. Award winning designers, distributors, printers, editors, digital experts, and more are members of PubWest, ready to help you deliver top quality products. Find them in our directory, at the conference, and at PubWest-sponsored happy hours.
  • Roundtables and BookLores. These are frequent opportunities to get together via phone calls, video conferences, and even at local events throughout the year.
  • We also host many happy hours (organize one near you!), hold board meetings four times a year, are launching Pub501 (online education courses)—and we try to come up with excuses for getting together every month and in every town. If you can think of a way to bring the community together, we want to be a part of it!

We bring first-timers and veteran professionals together. We share our knowledge with each other and host experts so everyone can learn new things. You will want to join the conversations and get involved. That involvement is where the real learning experience happens. PubWest is the best because of people like Sarah Gorecki and Caleb Seeling and Laura Stanfill and Colleen Dunn Bates, who love to share their experiences and bring new people into the business of helping publishers succeed.




Bill Fessler

President of the Board of Directors