Book Expo 2011: Overview

Happy Memorial Weekend! It has been that time of the year again, and before I even get on my experience this year. I have to say this year felt slightly like New York Comic Con last year again. Why? Because this year Book Expo America (#BEA) shared the same physical location as Blog World & New Media Expo (#BWENY), so there were twice the amount of panels and exhibition to cover. Badges for BEA also covered for Blog World, so attendees went back and forth between the two shows. Not that Blog World detracts from the main focus of BEA though, which is spreading buzz and excitement for what books are.

Similar to last year, BEA began for some on Monday with meetings and panels to attend. I spoke briefly with Steven Rosato, the show manager of BEA, and he mentioned that this year there were roughly around 1100 exhibitors from all around the world, and a large increase in exhibitors that dealt with e-books. The exhibition show floor was opened from Tuesday to Wednesday.

On the smart phone, BEA actually had a mobile website that allowed convention goers to keep a track of which exhibitors they were interested in, where it was located, and if you search, there were the panels also listed. I used it mostly to look up schedules, and to confirm where certain exhibitors were located on the show floor. By exhibitors, BEA also listed it by what type of products they were selling. Similar to last year, there were touch screen monitors all around the center that allowed convention attendees to check out where was what.

Panelists at the convention for Book Expo and Blog World also made heavy use of Twitter. Panelists, other than an email or a url, has also listed their twitter names. At the beginning of a specific panel or event, a special hash tag spoken. So if you were specifically searching for comments or running thoughts/questions around the same place and time, then the hashtag was specific and easy enough to pick out.

If you wanted to access wi-fi service readily around the convention center, there was a price plan for either cost by the hour or for the entire days. Since many people opted to use the wi-fi services, there was the running complaint of how slow the network was. I was using my smart phone for running some thoughts, so did you happen to catch it?

There were a daily change in schedule every day, so Publisher’s Weekly printed and circulated a newsletter for convention goers. Tickets for author autographs were free, and from 7am, convention attendees could wait to get allotted tickets for an in demand author.

Convention goers can also go to hall 1C, to mail via UPS any and every galley or heavy items. Upstairs on the second level there were also $3 onsite baggage checks. So it seriously would not deter people who have worries about where to send/mail items.

One more thing to note, before I conclude, is the fact that BEA is scheduled to be in New York City until 2015. There are dates on the website, but the date to remember and note is for next year, which is going to be on June 5 – June 7, 2012.

For the rest of my coverage I would be employing a day by day account with notes I wrote up on my ipad from the various panels I was able to attend. As the the image above attests, BEA room monitors scanned the tags of everyone who were at a panel, as a statistic count. So this year set off the year a mood of business was business, and BEA was a place good for conducting publishing business.

Flickr Link to this year’s photography.

Past JLHLS coverage:
BEA 2010: Part 1, and Part 2
BEA 2009: Part 1 and Part 2, Publishers getting Smarter or What?