Looking for ways to grow the show, Reed Business Exhibitions is opening BookExpo America to consumers a year earlier than originally planned and will invite the public this year. “We are taking a measured approach and curating it,” said BEA show director Steve Rosato, who made the announcement Wednesday afternoon via Twitter and his blog. “BEA wades into the shallow end of the public pool,” Rosato proclaimed. The show will get its feet wet by offering a maximum of 1,000 tickets to publishers and 20 local bookstores, including Book Culture and the Strand, to offer to tastemakers and passionate readers who want to attend the final day of the show, Thursday June 7. Typically BEA has close to 23,000 attendees.
According to Rosato, consumers will be able to buy tickets to attend the morning breakfast, and he is in the midst of creating special programming. Among the events that consumers can expect to attend is a best of the best buzz panel. Like other attendees, consumers will be able to pick up free autographed books, bookmarks, posters, and other giveaways. “Publishers would love the opportunity to put certain galleys in the hands of consumers,” says Rosato.
In addition, BEA is reaching out to consumers by live streaming many of its author events on the Web.
Reed continues to rethink the show in other ways and will hold a one-day Global Market Forum, Read Russia, on Monday June 4, which will overlap with a Read Russia festival, sponsored by the Russian Federal Agency of Press and Mass Communication, from June 1-8 at venues throughout New York. Heads of major Russian publishers and distributors will be at the BEA forum. Twenty-five Russian writers, among them Dmitry Bykov and Sergei Luyanenko, will take part in the festival, which will showcase Russian literature and will include an exhibit of children's book illustrations.