IBPA has been attending BookExpo America (BEA) for 30 years. BEA 2013 was a great show for independent publishers and independent publishing!
by Lisa Krebs Magno, IBPA Assistant Director —
BookExpo America (BEA) is a three-day, mid-week show held each May in New York City. 2013 marked the second year the BEA program included the addition of “select consumer public” attendees on Day 3. According to Publishers Weekly (PW), “Although some reports from the consumer press may have overstated the health of the independent book business — the AP’s Hillel Italie used the term ‘growth industry’ — booksellers at this year’s BookExpo America do seem in better spirits. And with good reason: for starters, the numbers are there. The ABA reported an uptick in membership for the fourth straight year, and ABA CEO Oren Teicher said that the independent channel saw a gain of 8% from the previous year.”
Beyond those gains, though, the cheerier mood seems, as many industry members told PW from the show floor, due in large part to a sense that the digital business has leveled off. After years of concern — at times panic — that e-books would replace print books and, in turn, wipe out bricks-and-mortar bookstores altogether, there is a sense that print and digital can, and will, coexist. Or as Perseus Books Group’s CEO David Steinberger put it, for the first time in a few years “the future doesn’t feel like it’s changing that rapidly.”
IBPA would agree with that assessment. This year’s BEA show felt much more relaxed than recent years, almost as if there were a huge collective sigh of relief in the air. We saw a lot of relaxed, happy faces visiting the booth, which was anchored on a busy corner. The traffic in and around our booth was great!
IBPA has been attending BEA for close to 30 years and every year the show has a different feel and “theme”. The feeling surrounding this show was “united”. In years past, there seemed to be a marked separation between the smaller publishers and the big houses. These days – and especially this year – that gap is closing due to the ever-increasing quality of independent titles and frankly, because the learning curve of “what comes next” is everyone’s concern. And, IBPA is leading the way in publishing education. That was evident by the way the Independent magazines were flying off the tables along with the IBPA show catalogs with the IBPA members’ title information!
So many things happen at a book show. We meet and greet a variety of book buyers, from individual store buyers, to catalog reps, to museums, to specialty retail and wholesale buyers. The goal is to get the catalog into the hands of all potential buyers.
We had a beautiful color catalog on hand that we gave to everyone that visited the booth. In-booth, author book signings occurring every half hour drew some great attention to the booth as well.
IBPA’s BEA Show Catalog link: https://www.ibpa-online.org/ibpa/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/BEACatalog201332pplores.pdf
As has been the case in previous years, we also met with several librarians and foreign publishers. Lisa discussed some of our displaying member’s titles for possible rights acquisition and will email specific information directly to those involved.
While your IBPA staff was busy in the IBPA booth, incoming IBPA Executive Director Angela Bole (pictured left) was equally busy all three days meeting with potential benefits providers and IBPA partners. The goal of her meetings was to bring increasing value to your IBPA membership. Watch for the results of those meetings in the coming weeks and months.
The New York location tends to bring a lot of segment producers from TV and Cable networks as well and we had plenty of those folks gathering our catalogs for their purposes. Some of them are looking for ideas for a feature story and some may want to interview authors for a news segment on a specific subject.
Our favorite part of the show, by far, is meeting and talking with the IBPA members that come to visit the IBPA booth. It is so much fun to meet everyone, put the names to the faces and get to know the people we have had the pleasure to work for and with through the years.
Thank you to everyone who came to see us and show support!
Lots of photos from the IBPA booth can be found at the IBPA Facebook Page here: http://on.fb.me/142jy7d.
At the end of the show the books from the IBPA booth were donated to Housing Works – http://www.housingworks.org/about/.
Here are some links of interest from BEA 2013:
PW Daily – Stability Brings Hope At BEA: http://bit.ly/11j9hSf
PW Daily – BEA 2013: Literary Ethics For Reviewers – http://bit.ly/142b7ZM
PW Daily – BEA 2013: The Fight Over Digital Resale – http://bit.ly/161bapQ
PW Daily – BEA 2013: Promising Start To Consumer Day – http://bit.ly/11LcVaD
Shelf-Awareness – The Future of E-books and E-reading – http://bit.ly/18DXOVR
Thank you for your support of independent publishing!
About the Author
Hired by Jan Nathan and Publishers Marketing Association (now IBPA) in 1998, Lisa Krebs Magno has been a sounding board and advocate for independent publishers and authors for over 17 years.
Her previous experience in publishing includes arranging West Coast author tours and publicty for Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books and Disney Hyperion.