PubWest as a model of a successful regional trade group

PubWest as a model of a successful regional trade group

By Michele Cobb, Executive Director, PubWest

The Case for Regional Trade Groups

There are thousands of publishers in the U.S., many of them small- to mid-sized shops, with anywhere from 1-100 employees, based outside the traditional hub of big publishers in New York City. These publishers face challenges that are different than those of big publishers. That’s where the regional trade publishing group comes in, and that’s where PubWest shines.

PubWest was founded in 1977 as the Rocky Mountain Book Publishers Association and since its inception has focused on helping members succeed. Though initially intended to support publishers in the west it now encompasses members across the U.S. and Canada and even overseas. From the start, members have worked together to create informative professional development programming, enjoyable and supportive networking opportunities, and unparalleled exposure to leaders and changemakers in book publishing. 

PubWest members speak:

“PubWest provided opportunities for me to meet industry professionals, build valuable relationships, and learn from experienced publishers. I am grateful for connections with knowledgeable colleges who are welcoming and encouraging, and who willingly share insights to advance my company’s success.”—Stephanie Carter, Teleion Books

Community Support

What does it mean to be a member of PubWest? We recently asked our members what they value most about the organization, and saw the same words being used again and again: collegial, community, connections, education, helpful, knowledge-sharing, networking, roundtables, sharing… and worthwhile. 

PubWest members speak:

“PubWest has been an invaluable resource for me. When I started in publishing, the conference classes and informal conversations gave me a quick education in skills and tools I needed to be successful. Now, the frequent roundtables and collegial relationships help me respond quickly to a changing industry and consumer trends.”—Brad Farmer, Gibbs Smith Publisher

This focus on supporting each other meant that as the events of 2020 unfolded, PubWest was ready to assist members of all types in responding to changes in business, providing resources from CARES Act provision information, tools for working remotely, data protection guidance, and advice on applying for loans. 


The annual conference provides a mix of educational and community programming, mutually benefitting publishers, affiliate businesses, and individuals. And 2021 PubWest launched virtual conferences that provide affordable programming for publishing professionals. Upcoming September 22 -23 is the PubWest Digital Boot Camp, aimed at professionals who have been in the industry less than five years. And February 3-5 in Denver, Colorado, the PubWest Conference will be held at the Curtis Hotel for a robust return to in-person events.

PubWest members speak:

“PubWest has been crucial to my small business. I have been attending PubWest [conferences] for almost 10 years as a freelance book designer. At my first conference I was amazed by the kindness, acceptance, and the willingness to help you succeed. It felt like coming home. Everyone truly cares about each other and their success. Members give of themselves unselfishly, sharing what has worked for them and asking what is working for you. PubWest is a community of selfless people encouraging each other at all levels, no matter how small your business is.”—Vicky Shea, Ponderosa Pine Design

We invite you to join the community of publishers, vendors, individual professionals, and students who work together to ensure the long-term health of their businesses. Benefits include event and service discounts, free job listings in the weekly e-news, a mentorship program, and (coming soon) an internship program. 

Be a part of an organization built to provide encouragement and peer engagement.

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