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IBPA Report from BookExpo 2014

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By Angela Bole, IBPA Executive Director —

Nearly 20,000 industry professionals and 10,000 book consumers descended on New York City late last month for BookExpo America (BEA), held May 29-31, 2014 at the Javits Center.

Frankie AshAs in years past, IBPA was honored to host a cooperative booth during the convention showcasing 339 unique member titles and hosting 36 book signings. IBPA member and author/publisher of ERAMANE, Frankie Ash (photo right), wrote a blog post recounting her adventures in book signing at the IBPA booth. You can read the post here. Frankie signed 30 books in under 15 minutes and had to hand out rain check forms to those who couldn’t get a copy onsite.

Member Titles on Display

The IBPA cooperative booth received a face lift this year. The 339 member titles were displayed within an open concept booth that embraced the teal and pink IBPA brand colors.

In addition, several of IBPA’s Benjamin Franklin Award winning Independent Book Publishers Associationbooks were featured in a special “hero case” (photo right) built specifically for calling attention to award winning titles from IBPA members.

The full catalog of member titles displayed during BookExpo America 2014 is available here. The full photo album is here.

Special appreciation goes to Terry Nathan, IBPA’s Chief Operations Officer, for seeing to every detail related to designing and setting up the booth and making sure all books, postcards, and giveaways made it to the show on time.

A Fresh Addition: Live Author/Publisher Interviews from the Show Floor

In addition to the activity occurring within IBPA’s booth, and thanks to a new partnership with the Mom’s Choice Awards, IBPA was able to offer nine members the ability to record branded interviews for use on their website and within multi-media PR packets.

This was the first year IBPA hosted the special author/publisher interviews, but it won’t be the last! You can check out IBPA’s booth in action and listen to one of the interviews, a talk with author/publisher Lynn Gaertner-Johnston about Business Writing with Heart, below.

The Buzz at BEA

The Benjamin Franklin Awards

To kick off BEA on the evening of May 28, 2014, IBPA hosted the annual Benjamin Franklin Awards ceremony. The packed room of 230 industry professionals was treated to an unrivaled view of downtown New York City featuring both the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. Photos below.

Benjamin Franklin Awards

Benjamin Franklin Awards

Among the books taking home Gold were The Old Man’s Love Story by Rudolfo Anaya in the category of Popular Fiction (publisher: University of Oklahoma Press), Brave the Unknown by Ushi Patel in the category of Poetry/Literary Criticism (publisher: Skywriter Books), and Tuesdays with Todd & Brad Reed: A Michigan Tribute by Todd Reed and Brad Reed in the categories of Cover Design and Interior Design (publisher: Todd & Brad Reed Photography).

Surviving Sandy: Long Beach Island and the Greatest Storm of the Jersey Shore (publisher: Down the Shore Publishing) received a great write-up in their local paper for winning more honors than any other book in the 2014 Benjamin Franklin Awards competition. Check it out here.

A complete list of Benjamin Franklin Award winners is available online here. Additional photos from the ceremony are available here.

New Products & Services

An important job for anyone attending a professional trade show is to learn as much as possible about new products and services coming to market. The IBPA staff met with several companies during the three days onsite and will be exploring opportunities for members to partner with these new services.

The new businesses that IBPA staff reviewed on behalf of members included:

FlightDeck — READ MORE
From the company: “FlightDeck delivers clear, actionable information to get your EPUB 2 and EPUB 3 files ready for sale. From validation and best practices, to retailer-specific information and metadata editing, FlightDeck reduces your Quality Assurance workload and helps you fix file issues quickly.”

SELF-e (powered by Library Journal) — READ MORE
From the company: “SELF-e is a collaboration between Library Journal and BiblioBoard that enables authors and libraries to work together and expose notable self-published ebooks to voracious readers looking to discover something new.”

From the company: “Epic is the first subscription eBook service focused squarely on kids 6-12. The platform has many books for younger children, but the app is optimized for children who are readers.”

TapBookAuthor.com — READ MORE
From the company: “With the TapBookAuthor.com tool, you can create rich interactive apps without any assistance from technicians.”

In addition to the new business above, IBPA staff met with old friends from NetGalley, Ingram Content Group, Publishers Weekly, Papertrell, King Printing Company, Global PSD, Kobo, BookBaby, The Fisher Company, Smith Publicity, The Peter Beren Agency, Edwards Brothers Malloy, Freisens, and New Media Website Design.

Members interested in any of the companies listed above should contact IBPA Executive Director Angela Bole for more information.

The Dispute Between Amazon and Hachette

amazonAs one might expect, a major topic of conversation during BookExpo 2014 was the dispute between Amazon and Hachette.

During an American Booksellers Association (ABA) luncheon where James Patterson was presented ABA’s Indie Champion Award, the bestselling author spoke plainly about his support for publishers:

“I’d like you to think about this,” Patterson told the crowd. “And I’d like the press to think about this: publishers are not terribly profitable. If those profits are further diminished, publishers will produce less serious literature.”

Although Patterson’s point of view was supported by many during the convention, according to Publishers Weekly, Patrick Hughes, Fulcrum’s marketing and sales director, didn’t agree.

Hughes told Publishers Weekly he appreciated what Amazon means to independent presses. “Amazon is our largest customer,” he noted. “One international corporate behemoth complaining about another international corporate behemoth… I have absolutely no sympathy.”

The Debut of BookCon

BookCon_2014As important an issue as it is, an industry can’t talk about only one thing for three days. Business is more interesting than that!

In addition to picking sides in the Amazon/Hachette case, people were also buzzing about the first ever BookCon.

On Saturday, May 31, 2014, BookExpo America switched from a professional trade convention to a consumer book fair akin to what one expects from Comic Con.

For $30 a ticket, 10,000 book consumers gained access to panel presentations from authors and actors, face time with publishers and other industry professionals, and lots and lots of giveaways. According to the show’s website, “BookCon is the ultimate celebration of books, where your favorite stories come to life.”

steve rosatoDespite mixed reviews from industry professionals on the success of BookCon, BEA event director Steve Rosato (photo left) announced on June 13, 2014 that in 2015 the trade portion of BEA will be slightly truncated, while the consumer portion will expand. Rosato said this is a change he believes will “better serve the vast majority of those vested in either BEA and/or BookCon.”

Those with complaints about BookCon focused on overcrowding resulting in long lines and security issues. The separation of BookCon from the general trade show was also an issue for some. Publishers who wanted to showcase their books to BookCon attendees as well as the book professionals attending BEA needed to invest in a separate booth in the BookCon area. This led many to ask whether BookCon was simply a money grab disguised as a consumer fair.

Rosato addressed the grumblings on his blog, writing:

“To those that had complaints about BookCon – with lines, crowding, etc… Those complaints were valid and this split will allow us to mitigate all of those issues. It is a long list of items that need to be addressed, but every single issue will be fixed in order to make BookCon a safe and pleasant experience.

“I understand, as I would make the same leap, that people from the outside see BookCon as a big money grab. Based on the additional investment needed for a separate ticketing system, separate website and dedicated app and additional marketing plan, additional costs for security and cleaning, BookCon barely broke even. BookCon was launched to give books a platform in pop culture. The expectation is it will be a profitable event going forward, but only if we deliver a great experience for fans and a valuable investment for publishers.”

For those interested, Boris Kachka wrote an apt assessment of both sides of the BookCon issue for Vulture.com. His piece, entitled “BookCon’s Debut Was Chaotic, But Promising”, is available here.

We’ll see you next year!

There’s no rest for the weary! IBPA is already gearing up for BookExpo America 2015. We’re looking forward to seeing many of you there and to a successful twelve months for all in between.

Independent Book Publishers Association

Here’s Your BEA Team! Pictured above from left to right: Chris Kahn (Vendor Relations), Molly Farragher (Project Coordinator), Terry Nathan (COO), and Angela Bole (Executive Director). In addition, IBPA’s participation in BEA wouldn’t be possible without the unwavering support and enthusiasm from our Executive Assistant, Patti Grasso, and our graphic designers, Francesca Droll and John Webster from Abacus Graphics.

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