The 2015 edition of BookExpo America, once again set for New York City’s Javits Center, will deliver many perennially popular events, such as the various buzz panels, the hundreds of autographing sessions, and the marquee-author breakfasts, along with new elements and changes designed to better serve the industry’s demands. The first big change is a new starting time: BEA’s conference program will begin at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 27, with the show floor opening at 1 p.m. and closing at 5:30 p.m.
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BEA event director Steve Rosato says the decision to shift the floor hours was a response to what exhibitors and attendees need in order to make the show more compact without diminishing their opportunities. In prior years, the conference programming started the day before the exhibit hall opened, adding a fourth day of travel for many attendees. In addition to Wednesday afternoon, the exhibit floor will be open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 28, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, May 29.
The other noteworthy change is the separation of BookCon, with its consumer focus, from BEA’s business-to-business approach. The newly expanded BookCon will be held on Saturday and Sunday, May 30 and 31, taking up most of the BEA exhibit floor, for publishers and exhibitors who want direct access to consumers; the event will not interfere with the B2B element of BEA. Rosato explains that separating BEA and BookCon assures the most efficient use of resources for all constituents, especially for those exhibitors that opt in to both events.
As part of the new schedule, conference programming will run May 27–29, which is concurrent with the exhibit days for BEA. The IDPF Digital Book Conference, for instance, begins Wednesday morning and ends Thursday afternoon. The ABA will hold panels and other activities throughout the three-day event, and BEA’s own Content and Digital Conference will have sessions Wednesday through Friday.
Just before the exhibit floor opens on Wednesday, BEA will hold a new high-profile event: a conversation with Jonathan Franzen. The critically acclaimed novelist will be interviewed by Salon’s Laura Miller at 12:30 p.m. to discuss his new book, Purity (due from FSG in September).
With China as the guest of honor at BEA’s Global Market Forum, Rosato expects international activity “to reach new heights.” In addition to sending a large delegation of publishers and authors to BEA, the Chinese contingent will hold a series of panels at which participants will discuss the Chinese publishing market and explore ways publishers can work with Chinese companies.