Book Expo America 2009 – Part 1

Reported and Photographs by Linda Yau

Acknowledged as the largest professional book fair in North America, Book Expo American was held the last week of May at the Jacob Javis Center in New York City. The Expo began on Wednesday and ended on Sunday.

Many events are held at the Jacob Javis Convention Center, ie New York Comic Con, New York Anime Festival among other conventions that JLHLS was able to cover. This convention though is the largest that I have attended, one that took over nearly all the facilities in the convention center, and had attendees from every part of the globe converge.

Book Expo is also a convention that is not open to the general public; it is an event for book interested professionals. There were the book distributors, editors, writers, etc. Also under the umbrella of book interested professionals, there are two groups that had specialized events or panels, the librarians and educators. The Book Expo had several agendas on its venue as a way to promote publications and allow professionals to know what the buzz is.

This is a picture of Book Expo’s Program book, for all four days, it may look like a mini book, but this is definitely a source reference, as it has a listing of all the locations, events, programs, exhibitors. Wedged within the pages of the book is a leaflet addendum of exhibitors.

On Wednesday, there was a Writer’s day of events, and on Thursday there were professional workshops oriented events. Now before I get into the points that stood out in the panels, I need to bring awareness to one thing.

What made the presentations or panels different from any panels that I have attended are two factors – the audience and the purpose of speakers presenting. Presentations were given to a room packed full of book industry people, as a way to introduce a product or present something that is important to the book industry in general.

The first panel, I attended was “A Strategic Approach for Harnessing the Power of Social Media,” and this was a presentation made by the CEO of Living Social Tim O’Shaughnessy.

These were points and concept brought up:

  • Technology is rapid and changing.
  • “Facebook and Twitter are online word of mouth on steroids.”
  • There is success in branding of an author.
  • Readers are nowadays more accessible to social media, and through this form opinion or be able to push through products, that can bring profit.
  • Using Living Social is an example of a social media marketing tool for publishers.

Second panel attended was “Data Crunch: Books and Their Competition for Leisure Time Attention- How do They Stack up?” They indicate books reading, and this presentation covered about the usage of surveys to see what type of readers or trends occurred in 2008.

Points established:

  • The majority of readers are female.
  • Data is skewed, since the numbers only focused on consumers rather than library users.
  • Fiction readers are active social networkers
  • There is a steadily growing number within the ebook market.
  • Kindle is used by the mature crowd, while middle age crowd uses the iPhones.

Third panel attended was “Giving it Away: Balancing a Sustainable Publishing Model while Discovering the Rewards of Free.” This was a joint panel from Wiley Publication and Harlequin Publication

Points made:

  • There is often a purpose in offering free material to the consumer.
  • Offering free publication is a double bladed sword for the publisher. It can work successfully, or back fire.
  • There must be a clear business objective from the beginning, and a necessity of a platform hook, that would appeal the reader to purchase more from the publisher.

“Red Hot Readers…Market Adoption of Mobile eReading Devices and Applications” was the fourth and last presentation I attended on Thursday. This was a product presentation from Adobe, Sony, Cooler, and iPod application Stanza.