Networking Opportunities at New Voices New Rooms

Can you really meet people at an online conference?

In the early days of planning New Voices New Rooms, organizers talked to booksellers and publishers about what they considered most important and valuable in a trade show. The answer was almost unanimous: The chance to talk to people you never see otherwise.

“That ability to run into people, over and over” said one bookseller, “sometimes, you’ll meet the same people by accident two or three times at different events. By the end of the show, you are friends.”

The New Voices New Rooms schedule was built to provide as many of those opportunities as possible. Here is a rundown of the “Networking” focused events in the program. Note that you can sign up for any of these events, but if you haven’t already registered for the show, you won’t be admitted until you do.

Office Hours

Every day from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm. (schedule)

This is a space to meet one-on-one with exhibitors. Every exhibitor receives 1 hour and 45 minutes each day in their own breakout room. To meet up with someone, just attend the event and tell the host which publisher you want to visit.

The list of publishers available during that day will be added to the event description as they are confirmed. Be sure to also visit the virtual exhibit hall: many exhibitors have a place for you to make an appointment with them.


Tue Sep 22nd 10:00 am to 12:00 pm (link)
Wed Sep 23nd 10:00 am to 10:50 am (link)

Sometimes, the best ideas you get from a trade show don’t come from the presenters, they come from the people you’re sitting next to. Roundtables are a place to virtually “sit down” next to your colleagues and hear what they have to say. They are designed to dive into a topic quickly and get answers. Scheduled for 20-minute rounds, topics will include things like used books, newsletters, returns, consignments, subscriptions. As topics are confirmed they will be added to the description for that day.


Every day from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

There are five “retreats” in the program designed for those of you who fill specific roles in your store. 2020 has presented dramatic and unprecedented challenges for bookstores, and altered how we do our jobs. Retreats are a place to have a deep discussion about the issues facing you, and to share your experiences about what is and isn’t working:

Monday: Owner’s Retreat
Tuesday: Event Manager’s Retreat
Wednesday: Book Buyers Retreat
Thursday: Children’s Booksellers Retreat
Friday: Store Managers Retreat

SIBA & NAIBA Annual Meetings

Thursday, Sep 24 from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm: SIBA / NAIBA

The least “exciting” event in the schedule just may be the most important, especially in 2020. This is where you can talk to your Board and make your concerns and priorities known. Don’t pass up on the opportunity to hear the direction your bookselling organization is going, and to let your Board know what you think about it.

Cocktail Parties!

Monday-Thursday, from 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm

It’s been a long day of intense meetings, so take time to unwind with your book-industry friends. Some of the cocktail parties are being hosted by publishers and will have authors in attendance, others will be a chance to just get together with the people you’ve been virtually bumping into all day. Purposely low-key and relaxed, this is the place to trade all those jokes you’ve been sitting on and talk to your colleagues about your favorite moments in the program.

Monday: Cocktail with Your Pals
an NVNR get together to trade stories about the first day of the show

Tuesday: Sláinte!: Cocktails with Tin House
with Tin House authors Ruth Gilligan and Paraic O’Donnell, and everyone’s favorite impromptu “bartender,” Craig Popelars

Wednesday: Cocktails with HarperCollins
come say hello to one of NVNR’s major sponsors and meet three star Harper authors.

Thursday: Cocktails & Crime
Join true and fictional crime authors for a drink and some storytelling of the suspenseful kind!

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