The Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association is the second youngest of the 9 regional booksellers associations. It was formed in late 1989 as the Michigan Booksellers Association in response to censorship legislation in that state. It had its first trade show in 1990 and published its first holiday catalog in 1991. The association grew quickly. In 1991 GLIBA expanded to include the states of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio as well as Michigan and changed its name to Great Lakes Booksellers Association. In 2008 the name was changed to add "Independent " to better describe our purpose and membership.
The mission of the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association is to improve the effectiveness of booksellers, forge partnerships among members in all aspects of the bookselling industry and promote the Great Lakes region as a vital marketplace, as well as to promote literacy and free speech across our region.
Currently, the GLIBA staff consists of the Executive Director Deborah Leonard.
This area of the country is also known as the Third Coast.This is true not just due to the waves of water on our Great Lakes or the waves of grain in our fields, but the excellent booksellers and the concentration of strong markets that are found in the region. Of the top 100 population centers in the US, the GLBA contains eleven, including Chicago (#3), Indianapolis (#12), Columbus (#15), Detroit (#18),Louisville 28),Cleveland (#48), Cincinnati (#65). Association membership numbers declined in the mid-90s, as elsewhere in the country, but the booksellers who remain are a savvier group, committed to making their way in this business they love. For example, GLIBA members are participating in both IndieBound marketing and IndieBound.com at a higher rate than our proportional share of ABA memberships.According to the U.S. Census Bureau in July 2013, over half the country’s population, 54 percent to be exact, is concentrated in nine states. Of these nine, three of them lie in the GLIBA region: Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan. Together, with Indiana, these four states hold approximately 13% of the U.S. population. Economically speaking, these four states represented also approximately 12% of the U.S. Gross State Product. To us, these numbers speak volumes about the impact and importance the Great Lakes region has on the course of our country’s future, and only strengthens the idea of the Third Coast.
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