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BookExpo America in New York, 2009
The Purple Crayon Blog April 2010
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With BookExpo America for 2010 approaching, this seems like a good time to pull out my notes on the show in 2009. I hope you'll find these comments useful if you are considering attending this year. I didn't post them last year, as I had written extensively about BookExpo America when it was in New York two years ago. The show has not changed radically since then, so I mainly want to comment about what was different this time, and let my notes from two years ago provide additional information.
As always, BEA 2009 was more focused on adult books than on children's books. Browsing the booths for children's books could be frustrating, as many publishers brought only selected titles.
Not surprisingly, due to the economy, BEA 2009 was quieter than it usually is. There wasn't as much spectacle or hype. It was also smaller than usual--21% smaller (publishers took less space for their booths), according to an announcement before the show. Two large publishers did not exhibit at all, confirming that it is increasingly becoming a show for meetings and rights sales, and less a show for booksellers.
I did notice one new thing. Self-publishing companies were present, and one of them actually had a booth. I especially noticed them in the Combined Books Exhibit, an open booth with shelves of books, face out, which used to be a place where small publishers who could not attend the show could showcase titles. But this time, it had been taken over by companies such as AuthorHouse, who had apparently encouraged their authors to pay to put their books there. Sadly, hardly anyone was browsing the shelves, and after I read a few of the books there, I understood why.
- PW's coverage of the first day of the show, with links to other articles.
- After the show, PW's Children's Bookshelf covered BEA and children's books.
BEA vs. ALA
This year, the ALA convention is in Washington, DC, at the end of June. If it's as easy for you to get to Washington as it is for you to get to New York, ALA could be a better choice. There is more of a focus on children's books (and of course the Newbery-Caldecott banquet), with publishers showing more of their lists, and the exhibits will be open on the weekend. This year, BEA is having the exhibits during the week, which I assume is meant to make attending the show more convenient for publishers.
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