After an extensive listening tour in which BookExpo executives met with a range of industry members, the organizers of book publishing’s largest trade show have added new elements to the event aimed at adding more value for booksellers.
“While we will take care to support the entire distribution chain, we will have a special focus on booksellers,” Ed Several, senior v-p, Reed Exhibitions-Americas, BookExpo & BookCon, said. The reimagined show will include programs to increase booksellers’ facetime with editors and publicists, as well as initiatives to make attending the New York City show more affordable.
One of the centerpieces of the new-look show is what BookExpo executives are calling “editor’s hours.” Under the program, BookExpo will facilitate “chats” between booksellers and editors in publishers’ booths. BookExpo will work with publishers to develop a lineup of when different editors will appear in a publisher’s booth, and then will share a master schedule with booksellers. Brien McDonald, event director for BookExpo and BookCon, emphasized that the “editor’s hours” are in addition to the ABA’s Meet the Editors program. That event will run on the morning of May 30, and allow booksellers to meet with publishes in their New York offices.
BookExpo will also borrow another ABA program—publicist speed dating which usually takes place on the main stage in the convention hall. While ABA will continue its own program on Thursday May 31, BookExpo will conduct a "Publicists in-Booth Meet-up" program on Friday. “Booksellers have told us they want to spend more time with publicists,” McDonald said. To support the program, BookExpo will launch the BookExpo Connect app which will enable publishers to list their publicists’ availability for meetings.
To entice more booksellers from outside the northeast to attend the show, BookExpo is offering $200 per night hotel rooms, and arranging other discounts. BookExpo is also working on ways for new booksellers (as well as those who've not attended the show recently) to make the 2018 event.
Several booksellers in this category that Several met at Winter Institute, he said "signed up on the spot.” On the whole, BookExpo said bookseller signups are running about 3-4% ahead of last year.Several added that the goal is get booksellers from all 50 states to the show.
BookExpo is also working on a scholarship program with the regional trade shows to get more of their members to New York.
The 2018 show floor has also been tweaked, and will feature two more author stages where booksellers can see authors. BookExpo has also beefed up its sideline offerings, including adding café products. “We want BookExpo to be a one-stop shop for booksellers,” Several said.
The length of the show has also been changed. Publishers can choose a three-day 'BookExpo Only' option (May 30-June 1); a four-day 'BookExpo-BookCon' option (May 31-June 3); or a 'BookCon Only' option (June 2-3).
“We’ve taken the feedback we heard from our listening tour and incorporated new elements that we think will take BookExpo and BookCon into the future,” Several said.