I know publishers and editors who dread attending Book Expo â€“ the long days standing on cement floors under harsh fluorescent lights. On the other hand, I know booksellers who love being there: the chance to find something new to excite their customers with and perhaps even snag an author autograph.
The show is really about the booksellers â€“ especially independent booksellers â€“ than the comfort of publishers or their representatives who stand in a booth all day.
Although Book Expo is a bit smaller than it was years ago, it seems to have stabilized. It is still the biggest industry event in the U.S., and it now offers more forums for discussion of a changing publishing industry. It’s even done a lot to embrace the growing field of self-publishing.
That’s not to say that big-name authors will be absent. Bestselling writers from Lee Child to James Patterson will be on hand.
But more interesting will be those talks about new technologies, such as the following:
- Empowering Indie Authors through Social Media: it explores how independent and self-published authors can build their profile and brand by harnessing the power of social sharing to generate more visibility for their titles various social media platforms, and how to build a marketing strategy.
- E-Book Distribution: Things That Challenge Publishers and What To Do About Them: A primer on e-book distribution primer to grow sales.
- Children’s Book Publishing Seminar: This seminar, at BEA’s concurrent Content and Digital Conference, examines the new trend of digital reading among children. Children’s and young-adult books are among the strongest sellers in the business.
I hope some seminars will address e-book pricing, the state of literary agents, the conflicts between self-published authors and traditional publishers and how independent booksellers might someday work with self-published authors. But there’s always something to see there, even if you’re stuck in a convention center â€“ at least you can be among book people and speak the language of books. That’s worth a little discomfort of standing on a cement floor.
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