Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Transform or Die

BEA has been evolving on an annual basis for the past 5 years, with shifts that seem more incremental when comparing year on year.  However, taking in the view from 2014 and looking all the way back to 2009 - the evolution has been significant, dramatic and sweeping. BEA has indeed reached a point of Transformation that is positioning it to thrive and truly serve the most people best, meeting unique individual needs while making BEA extremely valuable for every participant.  The alternative for BEA was a slow death.  

This post was inspired by the video below: Transform or die!: Herman Toch at TEDxBrainport 2013  While it is not related to publishing, I see the parallels in how BEA is positioned at the transition/corrective phase from the old world on the way to New World/ Constructive Phase and feel validated with what we are doing with BEA.

As BEA lives through the transition/corrective phase of its own transformation it is necessary point out some of the misconceptions that linger from old world thinking, to shed what is not true and genuinely no longer relevant.  I went way back to10 years ago compare BEA to the real old world days to demonstrate how much has changed 
  • No one goes to BEA anymore. BEA has more and better attendees than we did in 2003 and even more than in 1999 when BEA was more than 300,000 sq. ft.  BEA in 2013 had 11,000 trade attendees (that does not include the Power Readers in '13) compared to just over 8,000 blue badges in '99 and 9,600 in '03.  While there may not be as many indies and Borders is gone - they have been replaced with more buyers from Amazon and other on-line retailers, big box stores and nearly 2,000 collection development librarians. The ABA continues to be well represented with 1,000+ of their members. That compares to 1,200+ in '03.  The high water mark in the last 10 yrs for the ABA was 1,800 in '05.  BEA is a far better deal than at any time in the last 15 years for seeing the whole US trade market.  This now includes many more international buyers, where on average 15-20% of all attendees are from abroad.  .  
  • BEA is too expensive.  BEA in 2013 Choice Pricing and many different ways to participate, so it can be far less expensive to participate in 2013 than it was in 2003. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic's annual Consumer Price Index the cost per sq. ft. is nearly flat where it was $28.50 in '03 - that would = $36.17, which is just under BEA's average of $37.50.  In 2013 options include: a  turn key booth for $2,900.00 - labor, drayage & furniture is included, you can participate in the Translation Market for $1,775.00 or a Small Press for $1,975.00.  None of these options were possible in 2003 and make it so easy to take advantage and far less that it would have cost in 2003.  
There is a lot more to share on BEA's transformation that includes the re-invention of our consumer engagement that will need a dedicated post - look for BookCon.  It will protect the value of the B2B experience, it will create more and well defined opportunities to engage consumers and most importantly it will be a fan first experience - built around content for passionate fans.  There is the Translation Market to talk about, the programming from the BEA stages on the show floor, the uPubU Conference Program and the uPubU Author Hub.  Look for more details soon.   

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