Publishers and booksellers generally reacted favorably to the announcement that the organizers of BookExpo America have decided to move the show to Los Angeles in 1999 and that the event will be held in mid-May (Highlights, Aug. 18).
Hut Landon, executive director of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, commended AE&S for responding quickly to the concerns of booksellers that the fair needs to be held in more than one location, and he was even more pleased that the show will be moving to Los Angeles. The move "will give a lot more booksellers in our region the opportunity to go to the show," Landon said.
Clear across the country, New England Booksellers Association director Rusty Drugan also praised AE&S for listening to booksellers' desire for the show to go to different venues. He added, however, that there was a split among the membership between those who liked the lower costs of going to Chicago and those who want to turn the weekend into a vacation trip.
Jim Drugan, executive director of the Great Lakes Booksellers Association, said he was happy about the change, noting that having the national convention in "our backyard" had impacted his organization's regional show. Moving the show to different locales will give booksellers and publishers a chance to see what is going on in other parts of the country, he noted. Drugan said that although California is a tempting vacation spot, he was uncertain whether midwest booksellers would go to Los Angeles unless the large publishers return to the exhibition.
Although a number of smaller publishers will return to the show in 1998, none of the major publishers who sat out the 1997 convention have committed to return next year. Many of the larger publishers contacted by PW said they are still deciding whether to attend in 1998, and were not looking ahead to 1999. All publishers contacted said they viewed the change of venue and the move to an earlier date as positive factors.
Courtney Muller, industry vice-president for BEA, said she would like to keep the convention in mid-May, although the 2000 show in Chicago will be held June 2-4. Muller said that it is likely BEA will return to Los Angeles shortly after 2000, and that an East Coast site may be added to the rotation in future years.