Bookbuilders @ the Boston Book Festival: A First Time for Everything

Bookbuilders @ the Boston Book Festival: A First Time for Everything

Our organization’s president finds the Bookbuilders mission at Copley Square, despite Saturday’s chill

Exhibiting at the Boston Book Festival, an annual gathering of book lovers and authors in the gorgeous and historic Copley Square, was an idea that floated among our group for years. When the board approved our presence back in July or August, I was thrilled.

As president, I strongly believed we had to be there—not just for the exposure, evidenced by the foot traffic, queues for panels, and hashtagged tweets—but also because we needed to tap into the greater literary community.

The Bookbuilders of Boston booth, staffed by President Iris Febres, Edgar Allan Poe (Shelby Nathanson), Jill Saginario, and Louis Roe. Photo from Jackie Shepherd.

The Bookbuilders of Boston booth, staffed by President Iris Febres, Edgar Allan Poe (Shelby Nathanson), Jill Saginario, and Louis Roe. Photo from Robert Kendall.

Bookbuilders President Iris Febres poses with Edgar Allen Poe (volunteer Shelby Nathanson). Photo from Jackie Shepherd.

Bookbuilders President Iris Febres poses with Edgar Allan Poe (volunteer Shelby Nathanson). Photo from Jackie Shepherd.

We’ve been trying to do that. Just last week, we held an education event focusing on independent booksellers. As president, I wanted to gain insight about who people think we are and what they want to see out of us.

While we as an entity do not build books for authors (admittedly, we got a few perplexed faces at our booth), we are a strong collective of professionals who want to learn more about our book-building industry and engage it in new ways, namely through events and resources. With flyers and bookmarks (lovingly designed by Jackie), we were able to spread the word to many folks interested in and curious about what our efforts are.

Flyers and Bookmarks

During the lulls, I took some breaks to stroll the exhibitor areas and warm up from the cold. (Note to self for next year: acquire a space heater.) I saw some familiar faces, like Emerson College (go Lions!), GrubStreet, Simmons College, Ploughshares, Redivider (did I mention go Lions?), the Boston Globe, and many other exhibitors that do their best to reach book lovers, readers.

BBF reminded me of the common goals Bookbuilders has among fellow BBF exhibitors: we want to connect to readers, engage them, and figure out how to enrich their lives through books. And if you have ideas, suggestions, comments on how to do that, we welcome your thoughts. Please email us at the office at office@bbboston.org or me directly at president@bbboston.org. We look forward to hearing from you, and we hope to see you at BBF next year!

Many thanks to our volunteers: board members Jill Saginario, Jackie Shepherd, Joshua Garstka, Nichoas DiSabatino, and Miranda Martin, along with Shelby Nathanson (appearing as Edgar Allan Poe), Mary Baker, and Melissa Wuske.

Iris Amelia Febres

About Iris Amelia Febres

Iris Amelia Febres serves as president of Bookbuilders of Boston. While her professional background is in ebook development, she currently works for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Treasury). In her semi-spare time, she teaches ebook production at Emerson College, her alma mater. Alongside John Rodzvilla, she is co-author of a forthcoming book about digital publishing with University of Chicago Press. She is obsessed with corgis and can be found at @epubpupil.