Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Refelcting on BEA 2013, looking back and facing forward

It has been a few short weeks since BEA has concluded.  By and large, the reviews have been extremely positive.  BEA's attendance was up and there were substantive changes or new things intended to improve BEA.  Happily, most of those 'things' succeeded  I will share some of the topline items if you did happen to notice these changes and will conclude with some of the topline items we are planning already for 2014. There is no order here - so don't read anything into my stream of conscience post as things come to mind:
  •  The ABA:  Brought the ABA Lounge to the show floor, the ABA secured a HQ hotel (the Grand Hyatt) and had dedicated or exclusive author signings in the ABA in lounge for members only.  All were huge hits and will be expanded, repeated or made easier.
  • Logistics on the show floor - there was a lot of effort put into reducing crowding in autographing and making it easy to get from point A to point B.  This has been the #1 complaint for the past 2 years and simply based on the number of unsolicited compliments, with the exception of Grumpy Cat lines - this improved the on-site experience dramatically.
  • First Ever Publishing Hackathon - this was a fantastic event that brought new people into BEA from the venture capital world and drew a lot of interest from the start up world.  It got wonderful press and highlighted that there is still opportunity and entrepreneurs alive and well in the world of publishing.  Thank you to Perseus and Librify who did all the heavy lifting to make this happen.
  • VIP Tours - BEA offered VIPs tours of the show - this made BEA more accessible for 150+ VIP buyers and more importantly brought them to a variety of exhibitors they would have missed and improved the quality of what those exhibitors got out of BEA.
  • POWER READERS:  There are varying opinions here and while I am highly biased it  is clear that the potential is huge.  I also recognize there needa to be some tweaks for both Power Readers and Exhibitors to insure that everyone gets what they need out of BEA.  The proof in of the success are the events for Power Readers were jammed - Jim Gaffigan on the Downtown Stage - SRO, Neil Gaiman - 500+ people, Wally Lamb/Elizabeth Gilbert - everyone was having so much fun this ran 45 minutes long, no one wanted to leave. That is how all the events for Power Readers went.  We will change some of the dynamics for the B2B only participants, but this was a great success - especially considering this was the first real year that Consumers were allowed into BEA,
  • BEA Streaming:  We continue to learn and evolve, but the reach and possibilities are endless. There have been 50k unique visitors that have watched or listened to more than 60,000 'events' from BEA.  There are a total of 119 events posted right now, so the average event was viewed 509 times!!! This is only from the Livestream feed and does not include any views from YouTube or the BookBliss site.  
We are already deep into the planning process for 2014 and as summer marches along, we will be able to share greater details, but I still would like to offer some hints at the opportunities I am eying that will continue to make BEA better and deliver value:
  • SIMPLIFY - we will streamline how people are able to participate in BEA from the registration process to exhibitors point of contacts with the show team.
  • We will make the BEA site easier to navigate.
  • Saturday on BEA.  We are going to make this an extremely compelling day whether you are in the trade or a Power Reader and we are going to make the divide easier to navigate for the trade participants.  This is a big statement and a big challenge but also a great opportunity.