In a letter emailed to exhibitors at this year’s BookExpo and BookCon shows, event director Brien McDonald said that, like book industry itself, the events are in a period of transition. The goals of the two shows, however, McDonald explained, remains the same: to energize and empower the book industry.
In the letter, McDonald spoke, at length, about the changes ReedPop made to BookExpo, in particular the decision to open the exhibit floor for only two days. That move, McDonald acknowledged, “created challenges for domestic and international exhibitors that seek only B2B interaction." He then added that Reed is looking to "actively address those challenges.” McDonald promised that Reed will soon have a strategy which is "more productive for these communities and in line with our commitment to a robust trade environment." He also said Reed is eager to "strengthen distribution, rights and international business at the show.”
The other major switch at BookExpo—to institute a more rigorous application process for non-buying categories such as self-published authors, bloggers, digital services providers and consultants—proved a success, McDonald said. That process resulted in There were 7,425 non-publishers attendees comprised mainly of booksellers, librarians, retailers, and media members. A full review of overall attendance will be released at a later date, Reed said.
The two-day BookCon event drew about 20,000 attendees, an increase of 2,000 over the last New York BookCon, in 2015. (Last year, Reed held a one-day BookCon in Chicago.)
McDonald said that ReedPop remains committed to both BookCon and BookExpo. “BookCon was created to support and celebrate the powerful position readers hold while continuing to drive value to BookExpo,” McDonald wrote. “These two worlds must coexist at our events just as they do in the market. One will not grow at the expense of the other; it’s the combination of the two that make our events so invaluable.”
McDonald ended the letter by reassuring exhibitors that Reed is working hard to make sure that BookExpo can provide connections between authors, brands, retailers and readers, while serving as an effective trade show. “We remain committed to refining the amazing core that is BookExpo," he wrote, adding that the goal is to make the show "the place to launch books in the largest publishing market in the world.”