The proposed combination of BookExpo America with the American Library Association’s annual meeting will not move forward. Following months of talks between the ALA board and Reed Exhibitions, parent company of BEA, the two parties issued a statement this afternoon saying that talks have been concluded and that the two events will remain separate.
The statement reads in part, “communication from exhibitors, attendees and association members indicated that each show is serving its constituency, and after extensive discussion, the ALA executive board determined that current arrangements work best at this time.” The statement called the discussions “a positive experience” and that “doors have been opened for other possible collaborative activities between ALA and the American Booksellers Association, the American Association of Publishers and Reed Exhibitions. “
A BEA spokesperson said that while negotiatings over co-locating the two events have been tabled for now, BEA would be open to re-opening talks at some future date if there was enough interest from all parties. For now, the different groups will see if there are other areas where they can work together.
When word first leaked in early September that Reed and ALA were talking about holding BEA and the ALA annual meeting together, there was a mixed response from the various stakeholders, ranging from New York publishers unhappy over the prospect of picking up stakes and travelling the country as part of a movable event, to librarians and booksellers who were concerned a combination would be too large and their needs ignored. Still, as recently as two weeks ago, it appeared the deal would go through, but the combination of some resistance from the major houses and unease from libraries killed an agreement.
Next year's BEA will be held May 24-26 in New York, while the ALA annual convention is set for June 23-28 in New Orleans. ALA midwinter will be held in San Diego January 7-10.