A Last Hurrah for Books in New York

By Scardilli, Brandi | Information Today, July-August 2015 | Go to article overview

A Last Hurrah for Books in New York


Scardilli, Brandi, Information Today


Although the publishing industry has faced many challenges in the past few years, one imagines a mainstay like BookExpo America (BEA) would be one of the few things to remain consistent. On the contrary, its schedule is constantly changing, and next year, so will the venue.

Held May 27-29 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, the 2015 annual celebration of all things literary brought together editors, librarians, booksellers, vendors, and other industry professionals to discuss the marketplace, meet their favorite authors, and grab advance copies of upcoming titles.

Ongoing Industry Conversations

The BEA Content & Digital Conference provided a forum for ongoing conversations about publishing. Reading in the Time of Subscription, moderated by Smashwords' Mark Coker, aimed to allay publishers' fears of losing money from ebook subscription services. Justo Hidalgo, co-founder of 24Symbols, said his company started out with Spanish content but is expanding internationally. It offers a pay-per-read model, so publishers get paid when readers reach a certain point in each ebook. Andrew Weinstein, VP of content acquisition at Scribd, said his company pays publishers what they would have made had the ebook been sold through traditional channels. He sees subscription services as an extension of a publisher's sales channels, not a replacement.

China was this year's Global Market Forum Guest of Honor. In addition to having a prominent booth on the show floor, Chinese publishing representatives hosted sessions such as China's New Global Strategies and Outlook for the Publishing and Media Industry, during which several speakers discussed the country's developments. China has seen rapid growth in digital publishing: Last year, digital reading surpassed paper-based reading as "people's ability for cultural consumption has continued to grow."

During Data Driven Business Strategies: A Guide to Dealing With the Changing Book Market, Nielsen's Kempton Mooney spoke about the importance of integrating data into all business plans. He said publishers often focus only on the short term, but using data to answer questions--such as whether to expand internationally into stable markets--can help them create annual strategic plans. He cautioned that getting bogged down in the details of data could lead to indecision, but "all analysis will need a decision to be made at some point."

The Power of Partnerships: Libraries, Vendors, and Publishers was a lively session that featured representatives from different sectors of the industry: Josh Marwell (HarperCollins), Veronda Pitchford (Reaching Across Illinois Library System), Michael Colford (Boston Public Library), Andrew Roskill (BiblioLabs), Michael Bills (Baker & Taylor), and moderator Keith Michael Fiels (American Library Association). …

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