Book Expo America 2010 – Part 1

Reported and Photographs by Linda Yau

Book Expo America had some notable changes this year. One it was moved to mid-week. Two, the exhibition show was cut by a day. Three the method for counting attendance was changed in mentioning a number of professionals vs. exhibitioners. There were 21,919 verified professionals, excluding exhibitioners that were at the show. Registered number in attendance though was 27,211, and comparing this to last year’s 29,923. The smaller number was attributed to the shorten show days Next year the format of the show will be going back to three days instead of two days.

This year the themes of BEA were Content and Buzz, establishing a publishing motto in being able to create suitable buzz for upcoming books in the fall market. My coverage of BEA 2010 begins on Tuesday, a day before the Exhibition Hall was open on Wednesday to Thursday. Tuesday was a day of panels and meetings.

Value of Books
This was the first panel I attended, and it was a round table discussion with industry leaders on their opinions of placing a “value” for books. The underlying tone of this discussion was where is the money for the publishing industry in spite of the savings for the consumer? These were points brought up during this discussion.

E-books are a hot trend and a constant preoccupation for the publishing leaders since it is a fast changing commodity. A big issue facing the e-book market nowadays is piracy, similar to the records industry. What methods can be found to protect the interests of authors or the business? There must be a more reliable model found. There is a continued call for authors and publishers to work together to face e-book publishing.

Consumers would want multiple formats, and trade paperback is considered a successful adaptation, but what is the life span of a title on the shelf? 90% of publishing revenue is still devoted to the paperback model, though there is still time to grown for the e-book market. With e-book market though what policy is there for the distribution of book? Should the e-book be available when the book is in hard cover format or the paper back market? Amazon.com is creating negative feedback for the publishing industry, when they release the book simultaneously as the first edition hard cover and charging second edition prices, what worth is there? More reasonable prices are needed to be found, yet demand for aesthetic books with paper quality or design is still needed for book keepers.

Consumers would also like recommendations. Because with the experience of reading, there is information overload and with the bar going up, it is an issue to make it worthwhile for potential consumers. Title explosion is an issue for authors, when it becomes noise for readers. At this time a majority of readers is looking toward best selling lists or facebook.

In spite of how libraries have consistently reinvented themselves through these times of technological change, this is not the best model for the publishing industry to follow. Libraries are the best though in word of mouth. The publishing market cannot be like the libraries though. At this point and time though, the publishing industry is following the business model, but with the boom in reading, there is always going to be readers, so the book industry must be on the lookout for what is a suitable market for responding to consumer needs.

There were more signs of technology be used, like this electronic touch screen monitor for convention uses to use to see what panels were being held, and where specific booths were.

After the first panel was over, there was a down period, I attended the press conference at the press office, next to the still closed but busily preparing show room. There were some interesting news shared, e-books is a bigger presence on the show floor this year. In BEA 2009, there were only six kiosks, but there is 60 kiosks devoted to e-books businesses this year.

There was a great deal of buzz over the existence of BEA 10×10, which was an iPod app created specifically for Book Expo, in generating and polling convention goers buzz for which was their opinion for what is the hot and upcoming books for the fall?

Outside the show room there was an area that showed a selection of what books were to be shown in the showroom.

In the afternoon I attended two more panels.

‘I’ll Never Pay Over $9.99 For E-Books! and Similar Lies’
This panel was presented by Michael Norris of Simba Information Analyst, and this was a presentation made to a packed room. He spoke about survey findings made by his company for 2008 and 2009. These were findings that I found interesting to point out.

  • The most common e-reader at this moment is the PC. There is an E-reader hype. Mostly because there are going to be more new and revolutionary e-book devices coming out that would make the less new one look old.
  • Adaptation for e-books is very slow when 57% purchase print books in 2009. Not a lot of people purchase e-books, and this was a consistent finding from 2008-09 data. Do they even have the device to read e-books anyway?
  • More people would purchase more paperback than hard covers (2009 data)
  • More people would purchase more fiction e-books than nonfiction e-books or children (2009 data).
  • People turn to books for escape and for cheap price, since 64% of pollsters agree that print books are overpriced.
  • The future of reading is getting someone else to love and value books.

Mobile Apps: A Publisher Roadmap for Creation and Use
This was a presentation from various app creating professionals. This is a link to the introduction presentation from that panel. An important point to know is that mobile use is definitely growing more than pc use.

Some of the presenters in this panel were using their iPads to display examples of their company’s projects or products and what a feast for the eyes it was. There was additional assistance from convention staff to project their iPad example.

Sourcebooks’s Dominique Raccah gave a quick explanation in steps on creating an app that included defining a target audience and story booking the app every step of the way for desired reactions or responses. Iceberg Children’s Books as demonstrated in this Youtube video was one of a finished products I saw. Another innovative example was Cathy’s Book from Perseus. Baker & Tyler introduced Blio as their response for the mobile environment.

There is a commonality between the presenters in wanting to make the user’s experience as multimedia rich as possible. So there is wealth potential creation from mobile or ebooks, that can be used by publishers or book interested individuals to discover a new market.

After this panel was over, I was pretty tired, and this was only the first day. I was able to go and take a BEA shuttle bus back to midtown.

For other coverage of last year’s BEA from Journal of Lincoln Heights check out these links:

Book Expo America 2009 – Part 1
Book Expo America 2009 Part 2
Book Expo America 2009 – Are Publishers getting smart or is money getting tighter?

For more pictures of the convention take a look at Flickr for more.

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