Friday, May 28, 2010

BookExpo 2010 Report

Before the start of the long weekend, I wanted to mention a couple of things I noticed during my day-long trip to BookExpo America on Wednesday. I’ll start by saying that this year’s show, personally, proved to be quite a bit of an improvement over last year’s show.

Aside from the fact that I didn’t have to sneak into the show, then sneak around the show as I did last year (yeah, that’s a long and interesting story for another day), this year’s BEA was a completely different world for me.

I was there to learn, and to observe, and to pretty much soak in every bit of knowledge I could from the (incredibly smart) people I work for and with. I attended an interesting panel on e-book publishing, where--surprise!--we found out that e-book sales are on the rise.

More interestingly for readers of this site, though, was the fact that the speaker’s only hands-on demonstration of the presentation came when he lifted up his i-Pad, clicked the little button, opened up the Marvel Comics app, and said, smugly, “Obviously, for comics and graphics novels, this is the game changer.”


Speaking of comics, the major publishers were all well represented at the show--I walked by the Marvel, Image, Zenoscope, IDW, and BOOM! booths, and I stopped and had a nice chat at the Dark Horse booth.

Aside from the comics presence at the show, every publisher on the planet was on display. And, while the show was shortened to two days this year (though I just read that they are bumping it back up to three days next time around) and the show was limited to one floor at the Javitz Center instead of two, there was a buzz and a feeling that simply didn't exist last year.

Sadly, there were many familiar faces I was hoping to see, but didn't, because of a plethora of reasons. (Though most of them rhyme with "lay-offs.")

The shortened schedule and the smaller venue really drew the people, and there were times during the day when walking through the (large) aisles was difficult and time consuming. In that sense, it reminded me a lot of a comics convention--a feeling that's directly opposite of what last year's show was like.

And there's more good news.

People seemed happier and more energetic this year than last. Sure, that's a huge generalization, and sure, it's good for business to smile at your booth, but there was a much more relaxed, jovial atmosphere at the show.

There were, however, many fewer "freebies" and handouts from the publishers--even the big boys. Signs of the times, I guess. All in all, the show seemed utterly appropriate for the current book market. Not too big, not too small, cautious in approach, but hopeful (and prepared) for the future.

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And with that, I'll say this--happy Friday, everyone! See you tomorrow.

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