It’s not just the timing—one week later than usual, from Monday June 4 to Thursday June 7—that makes this year’s BookExpo America at NYC's Javits Center different from BEAs past. Reed Exhibitions and the American Booksellers Association have made a number of tweaks, including adding a dedicated day for children’s books (Wednesday, June 6) for the first time.
“ABC had always wanted to create a full day of children’s related programming at BEA, and this is aimed at fulfilling that wish,” says ABA membership and marketing officer Meg Smith. “We are in the process of creating the program, and full details will be announced as soon as they are ready.” Although the autographings on Wednesday won’t be restricted to children’s authors, the children’s breakfast will take place on Wednesday, rather than the traditional first day, and Reed plans to create what BEA director Steve Rosato describes as a mini-Winter Institute.
In addition, Reed has eliminated the ABA hotel. “People were just grabbing the best rate,” says Rosato. And now they’ll be able to sleep in a bit longer on the first day. Monday’s programming won’t begin until late morning, which will enable some booksellers to come in to the city later. They’ll also be able to visit remainder and gift exhibitors on Monday; the rest of the exhibit floor will open on Tuesday as usual.
And thanks to another change, booksellers will have fewer scheduling conflicts and more booth time. “ABA scaled back part of the programming,” according to Rosato, so that no one will have to sneak out of educational sessions, as ABA president Becky Anderson, co-owner of Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, Il., did last year, in order to visit the show floor.
But even before the final arrangements are made for this year's show, Reed is already looking to bigger changes in 2013. In a blog post yesterday Rosato discussed a move to B2C, enabling publishers to connect directly with consumers. The show would move to Thursday to Saturday with the general public invited to attend author events and go on the show floor on the final day. "Nothing is baked," he wrote, "and we have a ton of due diligence to conduct to insure that a BEA that includes consumers, is an event that serves the industry."