Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Aging Of Book Expo

Book Expo comes to New York City - along with Book Con, May 31-June 4.  The 2017 edition will be one that will be like scores of other ones – a chance for authors and publishers to promote their new books, a place for bookstores to find great deals, and a site for literary agents to sell foreign rights to books.  But it will also be a time for those in the book industry to unite and reflect upon where their beloved book world is headed.

This BEA will be the smallest one in decades. The number of exhibitors has steadily shrunk in the digital book era while conference officials artificially limited the number of conference attendees.  But it will still represent what the book industry is all about – creativity, great writing, and a networked industry that wants to see continual growth.

For me, I’ll use BEA to network with existing connections while meeting with new people – some scheduled and some that I’ll just happen to come by.  The public relations firm that I head up marketing for is sponsoring the convention, as thousands of their fliers will be given out to all attendees.  I’ll be looking to secure new clients, firm up existing relationships, and take a peek into what big books are coming out soon. It’s a great time and place to spot trends and take the temperature of an industry that’s seen a lot of change and upheaval.

I remember several Book Expos well.  My first one, which was called ABA back then was in Las Vegas, 1990.  I went with the publisher of a small indie press where I was the senior publicity director.  This company had promotable books and afforded me a great opportunity but they were cheaper than cheap and the publisher, who worked with his fiancée (they eventually would break up) was nuts.  I used to field calls from authors complaining and demanding royalties, and telling me how unhappy they were.  His solution was to ignore them and screw them some more.  He was the book publishing equivalent of a slumlord.

In 2000, a decade later, I had my best BEA ever.  I met my wife there.  Held in Chicago, I attended a party where I met Laura, then the audio book marketing manager at Random House Audiobooks.  I was early into my career at the company I presently work for. We hit it off and will be married 15 years this August, raising two children, and an English bulldog.

Recent BEAs have been a blur for me.  They are not as big or fun as they used to be.  There are fewer parties and not as many sightings of celebrities are to be had.  But it’s still the place where we take time out to come together and celebrate one of the most precious resources – books.  May BEA 2017 and beyond continue to hold promise for an industry in flux -- but growing again.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby 

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