With large crowds and plenty of enthusiasm inside the Javits Center during the just-concluded BookExpo America convention, it was easy to forget about the soft first quarter and sales forecasts that call for, at best, modest growth over the next few years. Publishers' optimism seemed to stem from the belief that even in this digital age, the content they produce and distribute is still valuable, even if no new business models have yet been developed to help them monetize it. Signs that books can survive were evident throughout the convention hall. Three of the country's most influential technology companies—Amazon, Google and Microsoft—all had space at the show and conducted panels aimed at getting publishers and booksellers more comfortable with using their technology. All three also used the convention to make announcements. Amazon introduced its Content Acquisitions Program, while Microsoft announced it was adding copyrighted materials to its Live Search Books program. Google said it was now working with publishers to add search functionality to their Web sites. And Ingram announced that it had reached an agreement with Holtzbrinck Publishers through which Ingram Digital Group and Ingram Book Group will help the company manage and deliver digital content.

While the digital future unfolds, BEA still provided a mix of authors, booksellers and publishers working to create the next big bestseller.