NEBA to Launch Its First Annual 'Read Around New England/New York' in October

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On October 4, 2002, the New England Booksellers Association (NEBA) will launch the first-annual Read Around New England/New York (for New York stores) [RANE/NY], a unique, 10-day celebration designed to showcase New England’s rich literary talent and diverse array of independent bookstores. "[RANE/NY] is very ambitious," said Rusty Drugan, executive director of NEBA. "It’s a whole region, not any one town. We want to celebrate the richness and diversity of New England."

It was NEBA’s immediate past president, Donna Urey, of White Birch Books in North Conway, New Hampshire, and her board, who conceived of, and ultimately created the blueprint for, RANE/NY. The event is scheduled to run from October 4 through October 10, 2002, soon after NEBA’s trade show in late September.

"There’s been a lot of wonderful bookstores creating opportunities for authors, and doing wonderful events in their own town, but nobody knew this was going on," Urey said. "So we thought we would make an effort to create a region-wide celebration of this relationship -- independent bookstores, authors, and the bookstores’ communities."

What’s possibly most unique about the celebration is that the association is not planning any singular, or statewide events. Instead, the 75-plus independent bookstores that have agreed to participate in RANE/NY will be celebrating the event in their own fashion, whether it be holding author readings, a panel discussion, workshop, or simply putting up promotional posters.

"This is to happen in-store, though they may want to partner with someone," Drugan stressed. "This is grassroots."

NEBA will be providing participating bookstores with support, including posters, bookmarks, and media templates. And, for stores with limited event experience, the association will provide event support, including information on how to work with publishers to request authors and a checklist detailing necessary steps for hosting a successful event. NEBA will also facilitate putting booksellers in touch with event-savvy bookstores for "mentoring."

Drugan said that RANE/NY’s long-term objective is to get "more stores doing events successfully." Additionally, it is hoped that the event will make publishers more aware of the area and the kind of promotion possibilities that exist in bookstores located throughout New England and the Hudson Valley. "We have major stores that get authors all the time, and they’re doing just fine," he explained. "We’re worried about outlying stores, and getting publishers and authors to think about stores off-the-beaten-path."

For more info on RANE/NY, e-mail RANE/NY Coordinator Ginie Thorpe at gthorp@maine.rr.com.