OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
I didn't go to Book Expo America but I have experienced it vicariously through the tweets and blog posts of others. I have a goal to be there next year (From Oz to NYC!), but for now, this is what I have learnt about BEA by not being there!
I thought other people who weren't there might be interested! [and coming soon.. The Guardian Hay Festival from someone who wasn't there!]
Book Expo America is not for readers, it is for the publishing industry. However, if you are an author with an ISBN number you can get in (so that’s most self-published authors these days). So the workshops, talks and booths were directed at people in the industry. This makes for a very different atmosphere than the literary festivals open to everyone. But it is important for us as readers and authors to be aware of what is going on in the industry. It is changing so fast that the authors who are ahead of the pack will benefit the most!
Here are some of the interesting tidbits I have picked up from wide reading of blogs and newspapers online.
The end of the traditional publishing industry doom and gloom…
· “The challenge, Mr. Joyce said, was to figure out how BookExpo “could do something that the industry needs rather than continuing to do something that is better done on the Internet.”
· Doom and gloom. Attendance down 14%, publishers taking less space on the floor and some not coming at all. Book sales down
· The publishing industry is broken. “The current trade publishing model is in a death spiral”.
“The business model for the book industry is broken,” Venture capitalist Eric Hippeau said, “If your business requires a truck these days, forget it”.
A Positive Change in the air for those that embrace it…
· Great article from LA Times. BEA was like “a mirror: what you see is what you are”. Mainstream publishers in decline, indie publishers excited about the future.
· Using print-on-demand technology, PublicAffairs — a division of Perseus — edited and published a 134-page paperback in 48 hours. Called “Book: The Sequel,” it featured hundreds of first lines for prospective sequels to classics such as “Gone With the Wind” and “The Catcher in the Rye.” Work began at 4 p.m. Thursday; finished books were distributed Saturday afternoon in multiple formats.
· Google launches their ebook plans to launch end 2009. It is potentially a game changing model using cloud servers instead of individual formats.
· Chris Anderson — best known as the author of “The Long Tail” launches new book “Free: The Future of a Radical Price.”(the ‘freemium’ model is outlined here)
· “Today, “you can go directly from the digital file to the end user with nothing in between” Jason Epstein, co-founder of On Demand Books, with the brilliant Espresso Book Machine, from an excellent post on the Future of Books. I am biased – check out my pilgrimage to the only one in the Southern Hemisphere. “More and more books and experimental writing are becoming available online for free without publishers’ filters”.
· Mike Shatzkin’s great talk on “Stay Ahead of the Shift; What product-centric publishers can do to flourish in a community-centric world”
· The theme was “Big Ideas” but there weren’t any, Booksquare reports. “The publishers who take the time to really listen to their constituency, from distributors to readers, will survive the ocean crossing into the future (and there will be some rough seas ahead!) while the publishers who don’t will be lost at sea.”
· Publishing 3.0: “In 10 years, most books will be electronic; hardcovers will exist as special editions geared for collectors; the future of publishing lies in community and matchmaking, in connecting readers to the right books”
“Poetry, like porn, is a harbinger of culture.” Richard Nash, on the flourishing poetry micropresses
· Simon & Schuster digital book promotion “We find out what type of website the author has, how many names are in the author’s database, we use retailers sites, e-mail to existing user names in our database, produce videos, we have the author create ‘extra things’ to put up on YouTube, Twitter and My Space, and we send chapters to specific niche book bloggers.” [That sounds exactly what indie authors are doing!]
· Amazon talks directly to small publishers about how Amazon Advantage can help them sell more books, plus tools like Search Inside. They also talked about the new author page which is actually quite good!
· Giving away content must have a business objective and you must be clear what the benefit is, but it is still necessary.
· Forbes article: “BookExpo is a dizzying and probably unhealthy place for an author – why write a book at all?” Money, fame, love. “In short, book-writing is a worse-than-ever means to a livelihood, and mass-market renown is disappearing as a concept, fractioning into a million niches”. Write because you love it.
Chris Anderson, author of “The Long Tail, ” if an author can't find a publisher to work with, the Twitter to Amazon link is now a viable career.” , quoted in the Washington Post great article
I hope you enjoyed this post – I certainly learnt a lot from surveying the reports on BEA. Let me know if there are other book events I should be covering, even if I am not there!