The industry’s biggest event, Book Expo America is held in New York and, on the first full day of events, you get a hopeful sense among the attendees.
It’s a contrast to the gloomy prognostications of declines in sales of paper books, and changes in traditional publishing. The floor of the Javits Center held booths by the big publishers â€“ Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Random House, HarperCollins and others â€“ as well as many, many smaller publishers and publishing-related businesses.
The event is targeted mainly to the independent bookseller, and they were out in force. Or perhaps it seemed that way given the slow-moving masses in the somewhat narrow aisles. Still, you really felt that people want something good to emerge out of this get-together.
Publishers, even in this age of digital galleys, were handing out bound galleys. Authors were making actual appearances â€“ even as the author tour after a book’s publication is something of a rarity nowadays â€“ and lines snaked around neighboring booths and onto central aisles as book retailers waited to get a signed copy of the latest work from a popular or rising author.
It was heartening to see so many people in line for a chance to chat even briefly with the Norwegian writer Jo Nesbo, whose compelling, dark thrillers have been finding a growing audience. He wasn’t the only author to draw crowds.
People are still excited about books.
For anyone who is building a platform to build an audience and spread a message, this is good news.
This year, the convention has a large digital component, as it should. But content is king.
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