Beth Wagner is the lead buyer and tech guru at Phoenix Books in Essex, VT. Like most career booksellers, she’s worn a lot of hats over the years since starting part-time at The Book Rack & Children’s Pages in 2000, including newsletter and website editor, manager, sidelines buyer, children’s buyer, and chief cardboard engineer. She studied English and Philosophy at Mount Holyoke College and the University of Vermont, proudly representing that A in STEAM. As an omnivorous reader, no genre is off limits, though she harbors a not-so-secret love for young adult fiction. When not reading, Beth can often be found baking something chocolatey, knitting lace, or steadfastly ignoring the weeds in her vegetable garden. She lives in a town with no stop lights with her spouse and their very opinionated rabbits. She served as NECBA co-chair from 2016-18.
Emily Russo is the co-owner of Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME. Emily began her bookselling career in 2007 as the events coordinator for the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA. In 2011, she moved to Brooklyn, NY with her family and took a job at Greenlight Bookstore to help launch their First Editions Club program and assist in running their extensive events series. In 2015, she moved back home to Maine to pursue her dream of opening her own bookstore. In November 2016, together with Josh Christie (formerly of Sherman's Books and Stationery), she opened Print. She enjoys roasting her father, Pultizer Prize-winning author Richard Russo, in event introductions.
Emily Crowe has been working for independent bookstores for much of her adult life. She started off at Lemuria Bookstore in Jackson, MS, in 1997 before moving on to work at Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA, in 2007 where she served as buyer and manager for over a decade. In between those stints she filled her time working for a used & rare bookstore and as a sales rep for David R. Godine. Now she is delighted to find a new home at An Unlikely Story in Plainville, MA, where she serves as a buyer, manager, and bookseller. Having worked closely with two stores’ collectors clubs for signed first editions, she primarily reads literary fiction and narrative nonfiction with occasional dips into most other genres. She studied English and Religious Studies at Millsaps College, followed by English Lit at Wake Forest University, originally planning to become a professor before stumbling into the joys of bookselling.
Laura Cummings has worked at White Birch Books in North Conway, N.H., for more than 15 years, buying the store in 2005, which in retrospect, may not have been the best time. But the store has persevered through hideous construction projects, bad snow years, ice years and the general economic downturn to become a nice little literary outpost in the North Country. Laura participates in all aspects of running the store from the big stuff like buying, receiving and accounting, to working the floor, running the book groups and changing the light bulbs. She has served on the NEIBA Advisory Council and is also involved in her community, recently starting her third term on the school board. She lives across state lines in Maine with her favorite (and only) son and her two cats.
Maureen Karb is the managing partner and New England rep for Como Sales, an independent sales rep company serving the entire East Coast. Her publishers include Workman, Sterling, teNeues, Chelsea Green, Peachtree and Litographs, among others. She’s worked with books off and on since 1999. Before joining Como she worked at Simon & Schuster, Workman and Barefoot Books and she’s had one bookselling gig (so far!) with Waldenbooks. She graduated from Vassar College and NYU and she has a soft spot for fantasy and literary fiction. When not reading, she’s home in the suburbs of Boston hanging out with her son or playing soccer.
Stef Schmidt has worked at Water Street Bookstore in Exeter, NH since 2008. She began there as a frontline bookseller after graduating from Grove City College with a degree in English. She became Events Coordinator in 2009 and Manager in 2011. She is a buyer of books and sidelines and does social media and marketing for the store. Stef reads literary fiction, memoir, and books about social justice issues, and listens to thrillers with “girl” in the title. She lives with her husband and son in Kensington, NH.
Peter Win is co-owner and manager of Brookline Booksmith, where he has worked for a total of twelve years, over two different periods of time. Between times at Brookline Booksmith, Peter worked at the fondly recalled A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books in San Francisco, and The Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA. He has always been a reader, since a very young age, and currently reads a lot of fantasy and science fiction, though his tastes vary. He strongly feels that David Mitchell is the finest writer alive today. When Peter was first hired at Brookline Booksmith by Dana Brigham, she warned him that once you get into bookselling, it can be very hard to get out. Fifteen plus years in bookselling later, that has happily proved to be true.