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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Book Expo of America

Book Expo of America is the “greatest show on earth” if you are involved in the book business. As book printers, it is the most important trade show in the United States. Booksellers, retailers, librarians, educators, rights professionals, international publishing executives, publishers and people interested in books will descend on New York City June 2-5, 2005. Jacob Javitts Center will host over 2000 exhibitors covering over 300,000 square feet of floor space. If you have never been to a Book Expo of America, you owe it to yourself to attend one.

Book Expo of America was established for publishers to offer their products for the fall season to the bookstore buyers. In recent years, the buying and selling of International Rights to books has become equally important to the publishers.

Book Expo offers five key attractions. First are the exhibit halls and pavilions. All major U.S. publishers have a presence along with publishers of all sizes from the U.S. and around the world. The publishers will exhibit a wide variety of book, non-book and gift items such as bookmarks, reading lights, etc. as well as technology products.

Second, there are conferences and educational programs offered to address topics of interest to all segments of the book industry. Many of the sessions are free to anyone registered for the event.

Third, there is the International Rights Center. Rights business takes center stage in the Rights Center. Agents, scouts, publishers, packagers and acquisition editors will be looking to buy or sell rights.

Fourth, there is an autographing program that features over 400 authors. The autographing program is a highlight of Book Expo of America. These authors sign books in special autographing areas as well as in exhibitor booths. The halls are filled with celebrity authors and dignitaries for the autographing sessions.

Fifth, there are special events and networking opportunities including author breakfasts, luncheons, receptions, special lounges and more.

To make the most of Book Expo of America requires a plan. The size and scope of the event can be overwhelming. I recommend focusing on the areas that will generate the most value for a book printer. Be respectful of why the publishers are at the BEA, however. They are there to sell books to booksellers. Any intrusion by a printer is a distraction for them.

I always spend time in the Small Publishers’ section. These publishers offered the most potential for obtaining new book printing. This section of Book Expo of America is typically separated from the main exhibits. I meet and greet publishers that fit my criteria for a good customer. See my earlier blog for what makes a good book printing customer.

Next, I tour the aisles for other book printers. Many international book printers exhibit at BEA. I scope out the competition and take brochures and information about their businesses to study back at my office.

I always visit the International publishers area. The publishers in this area are divided into sections by the countries of origin. I search for titles that may be a good fit for my domestic publishers and suggest a rights sale.

Finally, no BEA is complete without visiting the large publishers. I tour them to see what new books will be available in the fall. I also pick up the BLADs and Review Copies of books for my personal reading. Finally, I look to see where the large publishers are focusing their marketing efforts. Occasionally, seeing the trends of the large publishers gives me ideas of ways my smaller publishers can piggyback on their marketing efforts.

Overall, no book printer can fully understand the book publishing market without attending at least one Book Expo of America.


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