BEA's Executive Steering Committee is a group that I depend on to help insure that the decisions we make for BEA are sound for all of BEA's exhibitors and attendees. I had sent them a letter updating them on BEA just before the Thanksgiving Holiday after the news of the termination of the talks for BEA to co-locate with ALA . I have included most of the contents of that update and thought this would be good information to share with anyone who has an interest in BEA.
I am writing to provide the BEA Executive Steering Committee an update on BookExpo America in light of the recent efforts to create a co-located event with ALA. It was a great exercise. I am grateful for the candid feedback that let us make a decision that will best serve all the constituents involved. It was also encouraging to know how vested publishers are in BEA. The results were that BEA and ALA each have very distinct value propositions as separate events and combining them could jeopardize the unique values for both ALA and BEA. BEA will remain focused on delivering that value for the publishing industry.
I want to share we have been trying to secure suitable dates for BEA at Javits beyond 2012. We have been exploring Chicago as an alternative. With the possible exception of 2016, it appears we will be able to lock up dates at Javits either the week prior to or the week after Memorial Day through 2017, which has historically worked for BEA. All of our key strategy points and measurable performance indexes make New York the ideal location for BEA. That includes proximity for buying groups, ease for international participation and media.
The future of BEA will remain mid-week, being a Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday event. One tweak for this year is the BEA Book and Author events will all be breakfasts. We opted not to add back an author lunch, feeling that the condensed schedule last year elevated the already lofty quality of the Book & Author events. Also, occupying booksellers’ time for lunch is taking opportunities away from publishers; which we want to avoid.
Two of BEA’s primary focuses for 2011 are the Targeted Attendee Program (TAP) and to re-imagine our communication process. The objective is to deliver high value attendees to BEA, focused on bringing new buyers and special market buyers to BEA. If you want any further details, please drop me a line and I will be happy to share our progress. I have also come to recognize that BEA’s method of communication with exhibitors and attendees was to push a wall of information out to the world and hope it reached its audience. BEA will be more targeted and simpler in our communications. A few examples include the redesign of the BEA website, the BEA directory will be re-formatted so it is easier to use and BEA will partner with Publishers Weekly’s on the Official Show Daily. The Show Daily will now contain all critical programming information in one place, detailing exactly what is happening, quickly and easily.
The BEA Conference Program will be free for exhibitors for the first time ever. The BEA Conference Program annually scores high marks in all of our survey results and is genuinely world class programming that can deliver training, ideas and evolution back to your organization. Yet, we find it is underutilized by the vast majority of exhibitors. This should be a strong value for your organization and hopefully removing the modest fees are a step in that direction. Please note this is not inclusive of co-located events like the Audio Publishers Association or the IDPF Digital Book 2011 events. Lastly – I have been visiting booksellers and retailers as part of our TAP initiative. I have heard time and again they miss seeing more books at BEA. I have explained that it is a big cost issue for publishers. From the retailers I have met with, they don’t expect a free galley, but they miss the tactile experience at BEA of seeing the physical book. I felt compelled to share this as I have heard this sentiment distinctly and frequently. I don’t know as a publisher if you get this feedback from booksellers.