Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hi, my name is Steve and I am thin skinned

Well - I don't think I am truly a thin skinned person, but by replying to specific Tweets floating around Twitterdom, I can't have the thickest skin.  The Tweets were from John Kremer's Twitter page.   His comments are not unfair and I can assure any reader, they are major points of discussion in all BEA planning and strategy and have been for years.  So -what is my compulsion to respond?  The tweets which I list below do not take into account facts that went into these decisions that are being critical of BEA.  So, me and my thin skin are offering replies to tweets I felt were not the complete story.

The NYC publisher employees won't come on the weekend but do during the week (because they get paid then).  &  BEA can show increased attendance numbers by getting all the NYC publisher employees coming during the week. BEA has worked hard to eliminate addendees that are not of high value to publishers, this includes employees that are superfluous to the activities taking place BEA.  Toward that end, there are literally 2,000 less publishing staff walking the aisles than there were a few years ago.  Still, for publishing professionals in PR, editorial, sales and marketing - BEA delivers a high value of education that is transformative to the industry.  What is wrong with having the important publishing industry staff take part in the main event for their industry?
Also, the BEA needs to be on the weekend when booksellers can come. The show now is for the NYC publishers ease. Nothing else.    This cuts both ways.  Yes - there are booksellers that prefer the weekend.  The vast majority (almost 90% of the 400+ individual write in comments from the attendee survey) of booksellers prefer midweek as they are busier in their stores on the weekend.  The other driving reasons for BEA being midweek the international component of BEA and media prefer midweek exclusively.
Rotate the BEA as in the past to LA, Chicago, etc. NYC is a horrible convention center. No taxies after the show, etc.  Admittedly Javits is not an oasis in the world of convention centers, but NY State is finally starting their long over due refurbishing of Javits - we will live through this and have a better facility in the end.  Reviewing our exhibitor & attendee research going back to 2002, which includes years of BEA in Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington DC - the worst satisfaction ratings of any NYC BEA ('02,'05, 07, '09 &'10) beat LA, Chicago and Washington, DC by a good margin.  NYC is a big driver for international participation, media and is in closer proximity to more major library systems than LA or Chicago.
BEA to be in New York City indefinitely. Midweek (Tues to Thurs). Cheaper for the organizer but not good for the publishers or booksellers.  This is flat out wrong and this comment is probably the one that drove me to write this posting. BEA in NYC is far more expensive for Reed than any other city and those are costs that Reed absorbs without passing on to exhibitors or attendees.

BookExpo America is dying. Many publishers not intending to attend the next BEA. Sadly, the show promoter is killing the show.  Ouch!! Okay - this is probably the tweet that tweaked me.  I am not the judge here - exhibitors and attendees will do that with their feet and their budgets.  I do know our exhibitor satisfaction when up 10 points from 2009, BEA attendees are nearly 90% 'satisfied or extremely satisfied' with the value of BEA, we have a Conference Advisory Board and an Executive Steering Committee to get direct feedback that is representative of all of BEA's constituents.  We are not perfect and we have made mistakes, but we will do everything in our power to make BEA better, more accessible and a valuable experience for anyone that is involved in publishing.   

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