Every now and again we need to be “newsy” here at “The Chronicles” of Piercing Ken and as a regular attendee of the Book Expo and The Book Con, I just knew that I had to share the recently received broadcast that pertains to the Expo side of the fence. Read on.
The Press Release:
Dear Valued Customer,
It is no secret that our industry has experienced radical change over the last 20, 30, 40 years. This surely can also be said about BookExpo, as tradeshows reflect the evolution, fluctuations and business trends of the industry they serve.
As our world changes, so must our way of gathering to learn, share ideas and connect buyers and sellers. In that vein, the BookExpo team has been in a phase of exploration to determine the right ingredients to deliver the perfect sauce. Forgive the culinary analogy, my sports lingo is crude at best unless we’re talking about women’s soccer.
We want to sincerely thank our customers and partners for all of their support and feedback while we continue the journey to shape the event together. As organizers, we deeply value these close relationships and partnerships; they are critical as we test formats, concepts and strategies. We know that not everything will work the way we hope. We know that each segment of the industry has unique needs that sometimes clash. Ultimately, with your commitment and open, engaged feedback we believe we will land on the right environment and format for you to accomplish your business goals.
Over the last bunch of years, we’ve tested various show days/hours/formats and content scheduling. Timing is one of the trickiest things to figure out. In 2019, we moved back to a 3-day event. The goal was to give everyone additional time on the floor to discover and connect. Though some saw value in it, most found it challenging and costly. After 2 months of in-depth conversations with customers, we have decided to return to a 2-day tradeshow schedule, with Wednesday dedicated solely to programming and education. BookExpo will take place on Thursday and Friday; BookCon on Saturday and Sunday.
Some of the other 2019 initiatives were quite successful! Our attendance far exceeded 2018, with a 38% increase in booksellers and retailers. The “Bestsellers Grant Program” made it possible for 145 ABA Members to attend the show. We were thrilled to embrace such a variety of new industry folks – store owners and/or buyers of all ages and stages of business from across the US. Most had never been to BookExpo or were returning after at least 5 years. We want to thank the ABA for its partnership in developing the program and for building events that made their experience valuable. We also want to thank our exhibiting publishers who welcomed these booksellers with open arms, inviting them to their offices and to after-hours events around the city.
We also worked with the ABA to deliver Editors Speed Dating this year. After an attempt in 2018 to connect booksellers with editors (in a way that landed about as well as my sportsing analogies), we went back to the drawing board and folks were quite pleased with the format. It is platforms like this that we plan to increase, that connect the right groups of people in a focused way to foster real discussions with measurable and actionable outcomes.
The launch of UnBound was a terrific success and well received across the board. Most of the UnBound exhibitors were new to the show. They embraced the opportunity to be in front such an important channel of trade – booksellers and specialty retailers – and their business was robust! We heard from attendees that they absolutely loved the opportunity to source and discover new vendors for this growing part of their businesses during BookExpo!
The new Independent Publisher Stage was buzzing all week with great content from our dynamic group of indie publishers. We will continue this track and build upon it in 2020, as well as offer those publishers more affordable ways to participate in BookExpo to showcase their unique and important titles.
In an effort to better serve the international and rights community, we brought New York Rights Fair under the same roof as BookExpo. Or partners at PW delivered a vibrant and informative conference track and we hosted exhibitors and attendees from over 73 countries.
Though our research showed a significant rise in exhibitor satisfaction with the 2019 event over last year, we still have a lot of work to do and as we plan improvements for the 2020 event, we are also looking ahead to big changes in 2021. You will be hearing from us a LOT this year as we plan for those changes.
During times like these – elections looming, trade wars persisting, retail giants changing hands, consumers consuming content differently than ever before – we are with you in feeling like now, more than ever, it is critical that we have a place to gather and discuss in New York. It’s the bottom of the 9th, we have to carry the ball, we have to put Megan Rapinoe in for the PK. You know what I mean. Let’s do this. Together.
Jennifer Martin, Event Manager
*** end of transmission ***
Piercing Ken Thoughts: I’ve been attending Book Expo since 2011 and can attest to all of the changes that I have seen happening with the convention over these last nine years. In the beginning there wasn’t a “Book Con” for the consumer market and instead just the final day of the at the time titled “Book Expo America” where the regular people were permitted access. These days were loaded with customers who hoped to secure stacks of free books and deals on things that the publishers felt like selling off instead of sending back to the offices. Initially I would cover this event for PiercingMetal.com but there was less and less of the things I needed for that site outside of the occasional music biography or superhero book and now I just share those highlights on PM.com while the larger event goes to “The Chronicles”. It’s also gotten a lot smaller than those earlier years and with this last go round I found publishers who had a few tables only doing a small kiosk type thing or not even coming at all. My dad always says that the only constant is change so why should this industry’s trade show be any different. I will still plan on signing up for it next year since I do enjoy seeing several vendors and bringing home any provisions for my friends and website visitors and with that said I will close this notion out. What do you think about this news and does affect your interest or your business model at all? Chime in down in the comments section and I will see you next time.