With a short window of time to reflect on BEA 2015 I’m happy to say the event delivered on the high side of expectations.
Below are a few of the high level wins:
- The Global Market Forum program featuring China was successful beyond all measure and plans. The conference sessions were full and there was an incredible amount of meaningful interaction between U.S. and Chinese publishers not only in the Javits but also at a multitude of cultural events throughout NYC. BEA laid a foundation for the industry that will be productive for years to come.
- The new two and half day format unfolded exactly as needed. Wednesday was buzzy with full sessions, the BEA Bloggers Conference set an attendance record, the APA conference sold out and Jonathan Franzen took the stage for sneak peek of PURITY, the Fall’s most hotly anticipated title while the opening of the show floor still saw long lines waiting to get in. Not everyone was thrilled, likely measuring against a standard opening of BEA, but walking the show floor at 4:30 on Wednesday, I saw almost all booths busy with meetings, loads of booksellers/attendees, lines in autographing and a really busy exhibit hall.
- The bigger win was BEA was hectic right until 5:00 on Friday - making for two and half energized and robust days dedicated to the trade.
- The Remainders section remains resilient - see this review for more details:
- BookCon – attendance grew by 80% and saw the Special Events Hall draw crowds of 2,000+ all day Saturday. The Show Floor aisles had strong traffic and the revamped Autographing area was packed.
- People sold books, lots of books at BookCon - especially at the bookstore run by Word. It was actually too good, we did not anticipate the crush of business to start on Saturday. This created some long lines and not the best experience for fans, but it was fixed for the opening of Sunday which ran a lot smoother.
- The best story I saw was Cider Mill Press, talking with Publisher John Whalen, in a mere 10x10 and not boasting name brand authors like John Green (just a lot of great books) sold over $2,000.00 worth of books
I am proud to say that BEA gave the vast majority of exhibitors and attendees the event they needed. Like anything there are adjustments to make but we are eager for the unique opportunities Chicago presents. We expect a nice uptick from ABA members as we are out NYC for the first time since 2009.
The Translation Market had terrific programming to support the area, but did not get the reception we hoped for - so we will revisit this offering. The Author Market (it was the Author Marketplace in 2015) was a home run, buzzing and busy throughout - although it needed some tweaks onsite, this will only grow.
I can promise one change for Chicago - you will be able to print your badge at home or office, but will require an onsite scan to activate it. BookCon is indeed changing the game as we can see the shift in more publishers going into the hybrid area of the show floor. We are excited about engaging the book loving public in Chicago and are also exploring the possibility of a second BookCon in NYC.
DATES FOR BEA CHICAGO WED-FRI MAY 11-13, 2016
BOOKCON SATURDAY MAY 14TH