Washington, D.C.’s iconic Politics & Prose has been chosen as the official bookseller for the Library of Congress National Book Festival for the second consecutive year. The 15th annual event, which takes place on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, will feature a record 150 authors.
Last year was the first time an independent bookstore served as the festival’s official bookseller. Previously, the organization had worked with Borders and then Barnes & Noble to sell new and backlist titles by the festival’s authors, but Politics & Prose “made a strong case” to prove an indie was up to the task, said Bradley Graham, who co-owns the store with his wife, Lissa Muscatine.
“Based on our excellent experience with Politics & Prose last year, we are confident this is a good choice for the 2015 festival,” said Library of Congress Director of Communications Gayle Osterberg.
Politics & Prose will be partnering with Ingram Content Group to handle the logistics at the convention center. This includes setting up the book sales floor, where people will be able to buy titles from all 150 authors and then have them signed in a nearby area.
“Last year we carried over 250 titles and this year we expect to be offering even more titles because there are more authors who are coming,” Graham said. “There are a lot of great names and great books that are being featured this year.”
The list of participating authors includes big names such as David Baldacci, Marilynne Robinson, and Gail Godwin, as well as public figures like Al Roker and Henry Winkler. All will present in pavilions with themes including Children, Teens, Picture Books, Biography & Memoir, Contemporary Life, Food, Fiction, Graphic Novels, History, Mysteries & Science Fiction, Poetry & Prose, Science, and Special Programs.
The 2015 festival celebrating all things book-related takes place Saturday, September 5, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the convention center. As well as being the 15th anniversary of the festival, this year’s event marks the 200th anniversary of the acquisition of Thomas Jefferson’s personal library by the Library of Congress. To mark the occasion, this year’s festival theme is based on Jefferson’s quote, “I cannot live without books.”
To help promote the festival, the American Booksellers Association will be providing the official National Book Festival poster , which was designed by New Yorker illustrator Peter de Sève, in IndieBound’s July Red Box mailing to booksellers. This year, ABA is again designing a special wallpaper to decorate the 80’ x 200’ book sales area. The panels will list all ABA member bookstores and their respective cities and states.
Graham, Muscatine, and store staff are now in the early stages of preparing to order hundreds of books for festival attendees. “We just received the book list so we’re in the process now of figuring out how many we need to order,” Graham said. “Part of the challenge is anticipating just how many books will be needed, so we’re going through the list carefully, figuring out order numbers, selecting which backlist titles to order in addition to the most recent titles of these authors, and working on the exact layout of the book sales area.”