The 2017 editions of BookExpo and BookCon, set to run Wednesday through Sunday, May 31–June 4, at New York City’s Javits Center, reflect changes made by Reed to keep the shows relevant in a shifting market. The most significant changes have been made to BookExpo, which, for one thing, has dropped America from its name. On a more fundamental level, Reed has reduced the number of days the exhibit floor will be open from two and a half to two (although the floor will open to remainder buyers on the afternoon of May 31, the day before it opens to all exhibitors).

In lieu of a third day of BookExpo exhibits, Reed has loaded up Wednesday, May 31, with a full menu of panels and other events. ABA’s popular Celebration of Bookselling lunch, for example, will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Special Events Hall at Javits. The Global Market Forum will feature discussions on a range of topics concerning the international market. In addition, the Audio Publishers Association will hold its annual conference on Wednesday at Javits, and all 400 spots have already sold out.

Reed’s aim, says event director Brien McDonald, “is to create a more concentrated and focused B2B environment for everyone. The new format allows for more education sessions on Wednesday, which creates more time for attendees to be on the show floor on Thursday and Friday. The event is structured to allow you to do more business in less time.”

With an eye toward maximizing publishers’ interactions with their most important business partners, Reed instituted a more rigorous professional application process this year, something McDonald says has elevated the quality of BookExpo attendees. “We’re committed to having the right people, companies, and content represented at the event,” he explains. In addition to booksellers, retailers, and librarians, McDonald expects a healthy turnout from the media, rights agents, film and TV personnel, digital solution providers, and, of course, authors.

McDonald says Reed’s approach of building BookExpo around “the pillars of discover, engage, and learn has resonated with booksellers, librarians and retailers,” and he is confident attendance by these key participants will surpass the numbers in Chicago last year.

Reed is expecting a record turnout for BookCon, which will run June 3–4, with projections calling for more than 20,000 consumers attending. While millennial women are expected to be the largest group at BookCon, Reed has added features to draw a broader audience.

The reconfiguration of BookExpo and the expansion of BookCon is intended, McDonald says, to build “an end-to-end solution where publishers can launch their titles to the trade and consumers in one place. BookExpo is being recrafted as a focused professional environment that’s full of opportunities for trade professionals to connect and have meaningful interactions. BookCon connects fans, brands, and authors through authentic face-to-face interactions and unique experiences.”

McDonald says more and more publishers and other exhibitors are excited by the new vision, but acknowledges, “We have more work to do as this evolution continues. We are taking a very established event with a long history and trying to radically evolve it in real time. That takes patience to assure all of our customers are along for that ride.”

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BookExpo 2017: All Ears on APAC
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BookExpo 2017: Author Highlights
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BookExpo 2017: Welcome to the Library
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BookExpo 2017: More of the Same but Better at BookCon
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