A few weeks ago, we made our way to the BookExpo of America (BEA) at the Javits Center in NYC. The book fair took place over a three-day period and there no mistaking that 2017 brought a whole new feel to the expo.
This year, BookExpo America took on smaller events, doing away with some panels (i.e. Book Bloggers’ Convention and the IDPF annual conference) and advertising their collaboration with BookCon. What’s the reasoning behind this change, some might ask?
Two potential explanations:
- It’s becoming a more intimate setting for the behind-the-scenes publishing professionals to convene and conduct meetings about the past year and what the future holds for their company and each other.
- Downsizing to entice fans to attend BookCon.
In an interview, Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle described BEA as a host for events to bring the industry together. With the publishing market changing regularly, BEA has become one big meeting amongst publishing professionals of all sorts to uncover new tactics to market their new releases, find new distribution vendors, and query upcoming projects. Professionals are attempting to become more relevant to today’s market using BookCon to incorporate pop culture as a marketing tactic. BEA advertises itself as a way for professionals to fish for their next up and coming title, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to show others what you have been working on all year and to catch-up with other publishing professionals that you might only get to see once a year. BEA has become a great place to bounce ideas off other people who are experiencing the same challenges you are to make next year even more successful.
There are many reasons why publishing professionals attend the exposition and book selling traffic is not one of them anymore. No matter what your reason for attendance is, BEA is a place for relationship building. Whether you are looking to connect with your co-workers, your authors, readers, or meet new publishing professionals like yourself cultivating an intimate setting for these relationships to bud and prosper has become a goal of the organizers behind BEA.
A prime focus has been getting authors to meet with their fans in a more intimate setting. Therefore, downsizing BEA in preparation to partner nicely with BookCon seems to make logical sense. There has been discussion about BookCon being the gateway for readers and authors to coexist together in the same space, steering away from the professional aspect of publishing. A relatively new event, BookCon capitalizes on the author/reader relationship and building more of an intimate fan base for these authors. It takes away the digital screen we all too often hide behind and promotes a more human and organic connection between authors and readers. There is a large range of authors who exhibit at the convention, bringing in a mixture of both adults and children attendees. BookCon has become a better way to market pop culture mixed with storytelling. Increasing the intimacy of BEA will flow that same intimacy into BookCon.
All in all – BEA had another successful year and BookCon will be looking to a promising future going hand-in-hand with the expo.