• Combating industry challenges: IBPA addresses book bans and conservative pushback, supporting publishers facing economic pressures and promoting inclusive literature.
  • Annual conference: The event brings together 300-350 publishers and 25-30 sponsors annually, fostering community, learning, and resource sharing across the publishing industry.
  • Tailored sessions: Breakout sessions cater to various experience levels, from newcomers to veterans, covering topics like pitching books to Hollywood, AI’s impact, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in publishing.
  • Enhanced event management: The switch to Sched improved event planning, offering a polished, professional platform for personalized profiles, networking, scheduling, and content sharing.
  • Professional image: Sched helps IBPA project a professional image, akin to a well-published book, with custom graphics and an aesthetically pleasing design.
  • Sponsor satisfaction: Sched provides extensive branding space and customization options for sponsors, ensuring their satisfaction and aiding in cost coverage for the nonprofit association.

The Independent Book Publishers Association is amplifying marginalized voices with its event management. 

Their Chief Content Officer – Lee Wind – told us about the organization’s crucial role in championing small and independent publishers against the backdrop of an industry dominated by major corporations. 

He sheds light on IBPA’s efforts to foster diversity, support mission-driven publishing, and tackle challenges such as book bans, while also giving us a glimpse into the annual conference that brings the community together.

Join us as we discover what makes their events so special, and get inspired! 

The Independent Book Publishers Association

Attendees Talking At Ibpa Event Management Conference
IBPA Event Management Conference


The Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) supports small and independent publishers. 

With over 3,000 members, IBPA consists of authors publishing their works (35%) and companies publishing works of others, such as university presses, small presses, and hybrid publishers – a new category blending traditional and author-funded models in the publishing industry.

IBPA empowers these publishers through advocacy, education, and community building. Lee highlights the organization’s commitment to fostering diversity and amplifying marginalized voices, which is central to its mission.

What also ties this wide variety of publishers together is, of course, their independence. Independence from the five major corporations in the US publishing industry, who control around 80% of the books you see in any bookstore.

This concentration of power is seen as problematic. Their goal is publishing for profit. The IBPA community, however, is leading a push towards supporting smaller, independent publishers who often focus on mission-driven projects and sustainability, exemplified by members like Patagonia.

The IBPA prides itself on amplifying voices traditionally marginalized in mainstream publishing, such as those from Black, indigenous, women, LGBTQ+, and disabled communities. 

The association aims to counter the celebrity-centric and often exclusionary practices of the larger publishing industry by uplifting diverse and underrepresented voices.

  • If these issues are important to you too, learn how Jesuit High School uses its events to advance social justice in their area! 

The issues the IBPA is facing 

Ibpa Against Book Bans Branded Poster
IBPA Against Book Bans


The publishing sector faces significant challenges, including a conservative pushback against diverse literature. This has led to book bans with its chilling effect on publishers and educational institutions.

IBPA members are now experiencing a climate of apprehension. Reports indicate a substantial decline of up to 50% in sales for some publishers who cater to educational institutions and libraries. 

The IBPA supports efforts to counteract these trends and highlights the importance of inclusive literature. But despite economic pressures and the potential for book bans, a vibrant indie publishing scene is willing to take risks and publish meaningful works. 

Lee highlighted the commitment of members to produce literature that resonates on a deeper level, even as it challenges the dominant financial model of the Big 5 corporate publishers.

The Independent Book Publishers Association’s conference 

Ibpa Event Management Conference
IBPA Event Management Conference


The IBPA hosts an annual conference that moves around the country and attracts around 10% of the membership each year (approximately 300 to 350 publishers attend). There are also around 25 to 30 sponsors annually.

The fundamental aspect is bringing together industry thought leaders and fostering a sense of community for everyone. It’s a platform for publishers to connect, learn, and share resources. These events are tailored to various levels of experience and interest within the publishing industry, from newcomers to veterans, and focus on current trends and challenges.

There is a welcome reception, along with small group breakfasts organized based on participants’ identities or publishing interests. These include a Women in Publishing group and a children’s publishing group. Attendees can engage with others in their field, such as those focused on picture books or BIPOC/marginalized communities of color publishers. 

Breakout sessions are tailored to individuals’ career progression, with a dedicated track catering to those in the early stages of their profession with limited published works. “Start Strong,” is designed to support those who are still learning the basics and have published a few books.

Individuals with extensive experience, having engaged in publishing for four years or longer, possessing fundamental knowledge, and having published over ten books, sometimes even hundreds, find the content and community they need in the “level up” track. 

Additionally, a track focused on trending publishing topics will be available, such as mastering the art of pitching a book to Hollywood, AI’s impact, and the business rationale for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and how publishers can leverage it.

  • BONUS ADVICE: If you’re feeling inspired – take these hacks for mastering in-person events and make your own mark, just like the IBPA!

Event management teething problems

Messy Desk To Represent Ibpa'S Event Manegemnt Issues Before Sched
Event management issues before Sched


Before adopting Sched, the organization relied on spreadsheets, Google Docs, and PDFs for event planning. Which, although functional, lacked the interactivity and elegance desired for a high-profile event. 

The decision to switch to Sched was influenced by the broader goal of projecting a professional image. Lee related this in terms close to his heart: to that of a well-published book!

Just as a professionally published book has certain indicators of quality and authenticity (such as a colophon: the publisher logo at the bottom of a book’s spine), a well-organized event platform demonstrates the professionalism of the hosting organization. 

This comparison underscores the importance of having a polished and professional platform that reflects the organization’s identity and supports its mission to educate and serve its members professionally.

How Sched helps IBPA’s event management

Ibpa Event Management Conference
IBPA Event Management Conference


“We’re delighted with Sched as our conference platform,” Lee said, “and are already planning our 2025 conference–which we’re sure to have on Sched once again!”

IBPA chose Sched for its event planning software primarily because of its ability to deliver a professional, polished, and mobile-friendly interface that effectively meets the needs of attendees and organizers.

Sched has helped to foster engagement, provide valuable insights, and offer networking opportunities. Here are some of the benefits their event management has enjoyed: 

Personalization: As the event is about people coming together, they appreciate the option for every participant to have a customizable profile. This also goes for sponsors and speakers. The feature of recognizing speakers with photos enhances the platform, especially for one-on-one consultations. 

Networking: With their unique profiles, attendees can engage with each other by sending messages to sponsors or speakers. The ability of individuals to connect within the platform is highly valued.

Scheduling: Sched has been found particularly useful for organizing the event schedule and informing attendees. By embedding it in the conference website, any updates made are automatically reflected on the schedule page. 

  • BONUS ADVICE – How to keep attendees on top of your event schedule

Content: Learning and career progression requires a lot of resources. So the option to upload slides, docs, and audio recordings to breakout sessions was also handy. This eliminated the need for auxiliary services like Dropbox for content hosting and distribution, streamlining the event management process.

Aesthetically pleasing design: Coming back to Lee’s analogy to the well-made book, IBPA loved the customized graphics. They give the impression that it belongs to the organization. The ability to customize the color scheme is appreciated, especially in the schedule, with an attempt to match colors and ensure clarity across different session types. In short, customization is valued for its clarity and coherence. 

Pleasing sponsors: With 20-30 sponsors playing a key part in proceedings each year, ensuring sponsors are happy is paramount. Sched offers expansive branding space and customization options for sponsors and partners. Operating as a nonprofit, sponsors certainly aid in cost coverage. Affording hotels, conference venues, and the food and drink provision proves costly. Despite the expenses, personal interactions are cherished.

  • BONUS ADVICE – Make your sponsors happy too, with our top strategies to maximize ROI for event sponsors!
Branded Banner For Ibpa Event Management Conference 2025
IBPA Event Management Conference 2025


The takeaways 

  • The IBPA champions small publishers and diversity, tackling industry challenges like book bans. Their annual conference fosters community, learning, and resource sharing. 
  • With Sched, their event management is now more professional and engaging, enhancing attendee experiences and networking. 
  • By amplifying marginalized voices and maintaining a polished image, IBPA makes a significant impact in the publishing world. 

Now you’ve seen the success the IBPA is enjoying, you’re ready to make some success of your own. Get on track by starting Sched for free, now! 


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Author: Harry Prince

Harry is responsible for content creation at Sched. From non-profit project development to cheffing, his experience is varied. Originaly from Scotland, he's currently writing from Amsterdam. Outside of telling stories about events, he likes cooking, old trains and running.