Taking the Long View: to think about the effects that something will have in the future
BookExpo is knee deep in taking the long view, balancing today vs. tomorrow. Making certain that exhibitors and attendees get value for the show now, while making changes that will keep BEA relevant many years down the road.
You can say all you want about publishing being an industry in transition, the digital transformation, the relevance of physical books or bookstores - all items up for debate. What can't be argued is the fact that in 5 years - 10 years and 100 years - people will still be reading and no matter what the format or delivery, there will still be books. That make's BEA's focus simple - continue to be an event creates audiences for books.
I am excited by BEA's recent Conference Advisory Board Meeting. There was a great energy and enthusiasm for publishing and BEA from this group of industry leaders. One of the items we shared in that meeting are the top-line objectives for BEA and I think it is worth sharing those plans here. Please note, while these initiatives will require new energy, thinking and resources, that does not take ANYTHING away from the things BEA does everyday to bring in librarians or independent booksellers or VIPs. Those programs have been highly successful for BEA and will continue to be important. The items listed below are being called out because they are going to see a stronger focus for 2014.
- Increase Exhibitor Volume thru custom participation options & increased value: BEA in NYC and Javits simply costs more - that is a fact. NYC also has delivered a higher value for BEA participants. However, the point of entry is becoming a challenge for some important players. BEA will come up with turn-key options that will allow anyone to fully engage in BEA for $2,500.00 or less. This would be less expensive than BEA was for the average exhibitor 10 years ago. There are too many booksellers, retailers, press, suppliers and industry players that can do business with a publisher at BEA that at that price point, they couldn't afford NOT to exhibit at BEA
- Manage D2C transition (Direct to Consumer): From the BEA perspective, the events and Power Readers in 2013 were very successful (85% of Power Readers were Very or Extremely Satisfied and scored their experience off the charts in positive way), however, there needs to be more information for both the attending consumers on what is available and for publishers on what to expect, how to engage consumers and to deliver more value.
- Improve Saturday B2B
Experience: BEA will make a number of changes to insure that Saturday at BEA is a busy, productive and valuable day. The last day of any trade show will be slower and we know from the vast majority of attendees: they need MORE than 2 days to get through BEA. This includes added stipends to insure key buyers are at the show on Saturday, VIP buyer tours on the show floor, strong Saturday programming to make your time there worthwhile and more
- Deliver Superior Exhibitor Experience: We made massive improvements for attendees in 2013 with aisle congestion, improved autographing and expanded stage programming. We are going to bring similar focus to making sure exhibitors have a superior experience at BEA.