This year, the industry trade show Book Expo America (BEA) opened its doors to non-industry types, giving readers one day to flood New York’s Javits Center and connect with literary superstars at BookCon, a fan-driven event that grew out of the previous years’ Power Readers Day. While BookCon was a hit with many, bringing thousands of readers out to fill the show floor and rub elbows with their favorite authors, the event was not without some hiccups. Changes are already in store for next year’s iteration.
As we approach this year’s BookExpo America (BEA), it’s useful, perhaps especially to publishers, to contemplate where libraries fit into the broad book market. It’s hard to ignore just how fundamentally important libraries have become to the potential success of a book—that is, if you pay attention to a few simple facts and are willing to question persistent myths.
With Book Expo America (BEA) just one month away, one of the publishing industry’s biggest events is in hot water with readers and writers alike as the company has been taken to task in recent days for assembling a list of guests at the consumer-centric May 31st BookCon event that consists of 30 white writers and one Internet-famous cat. The lack of diversity drew fire on social media, where readers, writers, and book critics have weighed in on the pallid lineup as a symptom of larger problems the publishing industry has in addressing diversity.
When I was a kid, I used to play with the girl who lived across the street. But I never got to choose the game. When we were at her house, she would say “It’s my house, so I get to pick.” When we were at my house, she’d say, “I’m the guest, so I get to pick.” I would’ve been fine with either of these rules, but I was not fine with her choosing whichever was to her advantage at that moment. Visiting BookExpo America (BEA) last week, it occurred to me that, on the question of whether an ebook is “sold” or “licensed,” many publishers are dead ringers for that little girl across the street.
To make the most of BEA, here are the offerings that are best for librarians—not all of them are particularly aimed at our profession, but eavesdropping on “the other side” can be illuminating. Though ebook questions feature heavily, we’re moving on from library availability concerns to debates surrounding secondhand ebooks, the effects on authors, and e-publishing of out-of-print titles.
Budgets be damned. the number of librarians at BookExpo America (some even paid their own way) attests to the insatiable demand for books in any format and the deep impact librarians, both as library book buyers and recommenders of titles for their patrons, have on the book world. As many panelists at BEA noted, referring to LJ’s Patron Profiles, their influence goes further, since library users, particularly Power Patrons and Power ePatrons, are also avid book buyers in all formats, contrary to what some publishers presume.
The American Library Association, which already planned to hold its annual conference in Chicago in 2013 and 2017, now plans to hold the event there in 2020, 2023, and 2026 as well. BookExpo America will take place one week earlier in 2013.
Thrillers and first novels. History, in fiction and nonfiction. Serious sociological study and the story of a contentious rooster. All were among the top titles for the forthcoming seasons presented by top editors appearing at Day of Dialog’s ever-popular Editors’ Picks panel. The presentations swung wide, and they swung deep. Here’s a rundown.