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Friday, September 12, 2014

2015: The Year of the Sheep - Scroll to the bottom - lots of pics!

BEA will welcome China as the featured country and Guest of Honor for the 2015 Global Market Forum Program.  2015 also is the year of the Sheep in Chinese astrology.  The Sheep is a symbol of Peace, Harmonious co-existence and Tranquility. The Sheep is fittingly the symbol of the Arts.  

The year of the Sheep provides inspiring and positive characteristics that align with our vision for the 2015 GMF.  Planning is reaching full tilt for what will be an extraordinary event.  There has never been anything like what is being planned by the Chinese that has happened previously in the US.  The 2015 GMF will create scores of mutually beneficial business opportunities while opening the door to Chinese culture: bringing more than 100 publishers, 500 publishing professionals and 100+ of the leading Chinese writers.

The purpose and intent of BEA's Global Market Forum is to foster exchange that benefits the country of honor in equal measures with the traditional stakeholders of BEA.  In preparation BEA organized a professional delegation that traveled to the recent Beijing International Book Fair.  The AAP International Committee and the ABA were instrumental in their assistance.  There were editors from Princeton, MIT and John Hopkins University Press along with current ABA President Steve Bercu.  We were hosted by the China National Publications Import and Export (Group) Corporation - better known as CNPIEC, who created a robust schedule for our delegation to get acquainted with the opportunities at BIBF, to gain an understanding of the publishing landscape in China and create opportunities to connect directly with Chinese publishers.  Summarizing some of the results:

  • The BIBF Publishing Forum shed light on Chinese government policy with regard to publishing and provided insights from senior publishing leaders  (CUPP, Elsevier) who shared their extensive experience in China 
  • Meetings at BIBF with Chinese publishers established direct contacts for potential rights sales 
  • Invaluable and meaningful connections with key staff of CNPIEC. 
  • CNPIEC also provided unique and unvarnished insights in understanding the Chinese institutional market that would have taken years and multiple trips to glean without the benefit of this delegation. 
BEA and our many partners will look forward to providing a platform that will offer unique opportunities for investment, partnerships and access to one the leading and fastest growing markets in the world.  More importantly there will be the rare opportunity to access and learn about a culture that is a half a world away but increasingly close ties local market and our own backyard.

Thanks to Steve Bercu, I can share some great photos from our trip to Beijing International Book Fair.  

The US Delegation and our hosts from CNPIEC
Sights at BIBF 
  This is what dinner looked like on most nights and it was fantastic!
 Dinner with CNPIEC
 Ginger Miller absorbing some local culture
 Sights from a local neighborhood


 The Great Hall of the People
 Mr. Bercu looking great!

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Friday, September 5, 2014

The Power of looking at things differently...

Before you read through, take 2 1/2 minutes to look at the IKEA video below.  While it is an ingenious way to promote their catalog - it is a great way of looking at the technology of the printed book and more so for power of looking at something so familiar in a different light.



There are things in the world from our spouses to our drive to work, where through time and repetition, we lose sight of the power, the beauty and vitality of things simply because we stop noticing.   My wife might not think so, but 15 years later, when I look at her, I still see the woman that walked through a door for meeting and I first laid eyes on here in 'that way' and she took my breath away.  Most days I take the Merritt Parkway to and from the Reed offices in Norwalk. It was 6-7 years ago, stuck in traffic that I was next to this tree pictured below (thank you Google maps) and I started looking at it and was awed by how cool this tree was that sits between 2 lanes of traffic, yet stretches its branches up toward the sky like a hundred giant fingers trying to grab what ever the world has to offer that day - rain, snow or sun - swallowing it all.

My wife still takes my breath away and more days than not, when I drive by that tree each way to and from work, I see something for what it is, an amazing product of nature.  

So what does all this have to do with BEA???  It takes looking at BEA in a different way to appreciate the power and vitality of the publishing industry and bookselling.  It takes that lens to focus us on the things that will continue make publishing and bookselling thrive.  Towards that, we are evolving by making BookCon a two day event and the shift to keep BEA focused on the trade, making it more compact/vibrant - happening during the week and eliminating the weekend

That is old news at this point.  I am here to share  2 of BEA's main initiatives for 2015:
  1. Expand and offer more low cost exhibit options - including options in the Author Hub, The Translation Market, the Publisher Discovery Zone (PDZ) and Start Up Alley - ranging from $599 to $3,200 for a fully furnished turn-key booth in the PDZ
  2. Better business opportunities through connectivity
    • Bring back VIP Tours and Rewards Program 
    • High level matchmaking that is built into Global Market Forum (GMF) 
    • Deliver 500 new core attendees thru added travel subsidies in the VIP program 
    • More targeted events like the Museum Store Breakfasts which brings buyers and sellers of niches together in a way that allows them to connect 

Friday, June 13, 2014

BEA & BookCon - Evolution is Speeding Up

While it seems like we have been in radio silent mode, we have actually been working at a fever pitch to address some substantive yet subtle changes for BEA and BookCon 2015 that we expect will have a significant impact that will better serve the vast majority of those vested in either BEA and/or BookCon - that will benefit exhibitors, attendees and fans.  
  • BEA will run Wednesday May 27th 1:00 - 5:30, Thursday May 28th 9:00-5:30 and Friday May 29th 9:00- 5:00.  BEA as a trade event is more compelling and better attended on business days.  This format provides 21 hours of exhibit time versus what had been 22 hours.    We will face some challenges with the conference program schedule and set up time, but this makes BEA a more compact event without cutting significant time and time does = opportunity.
  • BookCon will run full days (exact hours TBD) on Saturday and Sunday.  The main thing here is the companies that get value out of a consumer event cannot seamlessly interact with the trade at the same time.  There is a tremendous of efficiency by having BookCon follow BEA but they are really separate things.  That will also allow the companies vested in BookCon to staff properly and save on T&E by reducing some personnel. 
  • To those that had complaints about BookCon - with lines, crowding, etc... Those complaints were valid and this split will allow us to mitigate all of those issues.  It is a long list of items that need to be addressed, but every single issue will be fixed in order to make BookCon a safe and pleasant experience.  
  • I understand as I would make the same leap that people from the outside see BookCon as a big money grab.  Based on the additional investment needed for a separate ticketing system, separate website and dedicated app and additional marketing plan, additional costs for security and cleaning, BookCon barely broke even.  BookCon was launched to give books a platform in pop culture.  The expectation is it will be a profitable event going forward, but only if we deliver a great experience for fans and a valuable investment for publishers.
  • Power Readers - We heard your complaints and will look for a way that we can give you the experience you originally enjoyed in supporting BEA.  We recognize BookCon is a very different experience and that was intentional in order to draw consumers that are not thinking of or buying books.  We understand you are different and you have a  value that is incredibly important to the publishing ecosystem.  Please be patient with us and let us continue to sift through the feedback so we can find a way that let's us blend the events for this distinct group without upsetting the balance for BEA's trade activity.