The character Forrest Gump famously stated: "Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." It has me wondering if the industry feels the same way about welcoming consumers into BEA, who will be badged as Power Readers. Well, there are a few things I do know up this point:We will know a lot more after BEA this year, but there is one thing that is getting lost as people are trying to figure out what Power Readers will mean for them at BEA. There will be 8,000+ booksellers, librarians, museum store buyers, retailers and industry professionals in attendance at BEA on Saturday June 1st along with the Power Readers. It is still going to be a busy and active day for the trade side of BEA and anyone who thinks differently will be losing out. BEA on whole attracts more than 12,000 industry professionals - there is no question that more than 2/3s of them will be there on that Saturday and there are a number of librarians, educators and booksellers specifically coming to BEA this year because it is available to them on a Saturday.
- We are on track to exceed 2,000+ Power Readers we anticipated would come out to Javits to experience BEA for (mostly) the 1st time.
- We talk with publishers every day, while it is only anecdotal feedback, the ones I have sat with love the idea of being able to engage consumers to get them excited about the books they are excited about for the fall and spring. They have all been extremely optimistic about having Power Readers as part of BEA.
I expect to learn a lot from this year, finding some new opportunities for publishers and Power Readers alike and there are things that we will do better come 2014. Still, not unlike that box of chocolates, we will never know what is inside until we try it.