In its sophomore year, BookCon, ReedPop's new consumer-focused addition to industry trade show BEA, saw a noted jump in attendance. ReedPop, a division of BEA show-runner Reed Exhibitions, said fan attendance for the two-day event hit 18,000, an 80% increase over last year's attendance.
BookCon, which took place on Saturday and Sunday and drew mostly positive reactions from publishers exhibiting at the event and fans attending it, grew in other ways, as well. Brien McDonald, director of strategic account for Reed Exhibitions, said the show floor at BookCon expanded by 35% this year.
While BookCon's strong attendance numbers speak to the way in which, relatively quickly, Reed has delivered something more and more publishers have been asking for--access to consumers--questions and concerns have already arisen about next year's show. With BEA moving to Chicago, Reed has said BookCon will move with it. Set for May 14, following BEA at Chicago's McCormick Place convention center, BookCon 2016 is already generating anxiety among publishers.
Not only are many New York City-based publishers concerned about staffing for next year's BookCon, they're also worried that the change in venue will mark a return to the show's first year, when attendance was lower and the event itself was more chaotic. McDonald acknowledged that publishers and fans have expressed interest in keeping BookCon in New York City next year, and said that " we are exploring options and ideas." He added: "We don't have anything firm to announce yet but are working on it."