Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book Bloggers Convention officially comes under the BEA Umbrella

Below is the official press release going out in the morning announcing that Reed (BEA's owner) is acquiring the Book Bloggers Convention (BBC).  I won't be redundant with what is contained below but want to note 2 things.  One being that the role of BEA is increasingly as a source of discovery for new titles and bloggers are a critical connection for readers of all kinds to learn about new titles.  Bloggers have, in a very short window of time, become an integral constituency at BEA right along side with booksellers and traditional media.  This is a hand and glove fit to bring the BBC in with BEA.  The second item to note is my personal thanks that Michelle Franz and Trish Collins for having the vision to create something that was missing for this community and needed at BEA.  They were WONDERFUL partners and this will only work because BEA will have the luxury of transitioning the BBC from Michelle and Trish to insure that the spirit and intent they brought to this event is maintained and will only be augmented by the resources BEA can also bring to bear.  We are very excited as this one more key step in BEA's continued evolution in playing an important role in serving the publishing industry.  


Annual Event Continues to be Co-Located with BookExpo America

Norwalk, CT, January 26, 2012:  Reed Exhibitions has purchased the Book Blogger Convention, an annual day-long conference devoted to providing support, instruction, and social time for people who blog about books.  The Book Blogger Convention was founded by Trish Collins of Hey Lady! Watcha Readin’? and Michelle Franz of Galleysmith, both devoted book bloggers who sensed a need for bringing the community of book bloggers together so that they might share information and learn from each other.  In order to capitalize on the captive community of book industry professionals who attend BookExpo America (BEA), North America’s largest annual book industry gathering, the Book Blogger Convention was launched in 2010 in co-location with BEA.  It will continue to be co-located with BEA and it will be fully integrated into the overall activity of the convention itself. 

“We are delighted with this purchase and we look forward to advancing and building what Trish and Michelle have so effectively created in the Book Blogger Convention,” notes Steven Rosato, Show Manager for BookExpo America.  “Trish and Michelle are devoted to their community and they have invested a tremendous amount of their own personal time and energy into building a major presence for their colleagues at BEA.  We are pleased to be able to take this responsibility over for them and to build even greater recognition for the Book Blogger Convention by fully merging it with our BEA marketing efforts, programs, and attendee outreach.”  

This year, the Book Blogger Convention will take place at the Javits Center on Monday, June 4 just as BEA is getting underway.  Previously, the conference and reception were held just after BEA concluded.   “We feel this positioning will provide greater continuity for the book bloggers and will afford them more opportunity,” notes Rosato.  “This way, the book bloggers can attend their own event and then immediately participate in BEA or BlogWorld East which gets underway Tuesday, June 5 and which is also co-located with BEA.”  Convention officials note that pricing for all events has been structured to allow easy access including an “All Access Super Pass” as well as a “New Media Super Pass”.  Further details about pricing and how to attend individual events and/or any combination of events at BEA are available at:

The first Book Blogger Convention which took place in 2010 attracted just over 200 people and featured a line-up of speakers including online marketing specialists from most of the major publishing houses.   Sponsorships by HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Crown Publishing Group, Peachtree, and Unbridled Books reinforced the industry’s embrace of book bloggers.  Attendance in 2011 grew to 340 people.   “Book bloggers have emerged as a critical constituent in our universe,” concludes Rosato.  “We look forward to serving them as thoroughly as possible in the years ahead.” 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

More from Wi7 in NoLa

Last night was the Closing Plenary featured Bob Minzenheimer (USA Today) interviewing Douglas Brinkley on the recovery of New Orleans.  Mr. Brinkley is one of the great living American   historians and wrote a definitive account of being in New Orleans during Katrina in his book The Great Deluge.  Wow - it was a wonderful hour, Mr. Brinkley talked extensively from the book but also touched on his very close friend Hunter Thompson, who he had edited some of his papers and was godfather to Mr. Brinkley's daughter.  Even sharing that he participates in a discussion group with President Obama that includes David McCullough, Doris Kearns-Goodwin and Michael Beschloss. They are not permitted to discuss current events, but talk about books and historical events.  I could only relate thinking that has to the most intimidating book club humanly imaginable.  

This is a short post this morning, but I did find myself unable to sleep at 2am and started reading The Great Deluge - it is terrific. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Double Dipping- 2 posts for the price of one

I wanted to share some highlights from Skip Prichard's great speech at Wi7 this morning.  I won't do justice to the examples and the way he laid things out, but he had some great ideas that apply to any business and not just book selling.   His theme was the 5 Ifs...

  1. If selling books is your purpose, your store will fail  His point being you have to have a much broader mission, if it is just to sell books - it might as well be widgets.  You have to inspire and give people a reason to want to work for or come to your store.
  2. If you think it is impossible to compete in today's market, it isn't.  
  3. If you are doing the same thing you did yestersay, you may be in trouble tomorrow.
  4. If you want help, it is within reach.
  5. If all else fails, get a NYT #1 best selling author to be your partner.  That was his lead in for Ann Patchett, who was terrific and inspiring as well.

The blog post below was forwarded to me from Rick Calvert who we partner with on BlogWorld East.  I was talking to people last night saying this was interesting but I did not have the guts to post it.  I hate thinking I would not do something that even though it is provocative, because I would be worried about getting backlash.  I think it is worth sharing and as BEA morphs along with publishing, book selling and everything else on the planet, the crime would be in ignoring the conversations like this one.  

Jonathan Fields  Publishing's Big Bad Game of Chicken...

Interesting game of chicken we see happening in book publishing. For a few generations, a small number of companies who fund and release the content have relied on an extensive network of distributors and resellers to extract and return cash. They don't consider the ultimate viewer/reader the customer, in their minds the distributor/reseller is.

The publishers see the handwriting on the wall, but every time they hint at doing something that'd go direct to the real ultimate consumer (the reader), their current perceived customer--distributors and resellers--freak out and say they'll stop selling their stuff.

So, it ends in one big, fat stale-mate. Nobody wants to balk, because both sides know the change that's necessary will mean a huge amount of creative destruction and, very likely short-term financial hit, while publishers build the machinery necessary to make up the loss of an immediate hard-stop in the current mode of distribution.

Publishers need to embrace the opportunity to build huge, vertical-specific communities, prime them with regular non-book value and establish direct relationships with ginormous numbers of readers. That will become the new value proposition that replaces distribution as the big sell for authors.

And, it'll let publishers be able to finally reclaim the ability to tell authors, "hey, you just write, we've got your market right here." Because even if authors can go indie/self with increasing ease, most still don't want to. They just want to hide out in some cafe and write (I'm the aberration, and yes, I also train other aberrant writers to work the new system and actually enjoying, gulp, marketing, what of it? lol).

Meanwhile, the direct-to-consumer market keeps chipping away and increasing the realization that change is inevitable and it's going to hurt, at least for a short while, and very likely eliminate a huge number of people in the middle.

At some point, the pain of not changing will become greater than perceived pain of change, and the studios/publishers will say screw it and make an aggressive move to go direct and serve the people they need to be serving to stay alive. And, in the end, they'll be a lot better off because of it. But, nobody wants to endure the disruption until they have to.

In publishing, at least you have massive disruptors like amazon forcing the issue and individual content creators have the ability to increasingly peel away and do it all themselves.

This is the future. The only question is when the pain of the status quo will exceed the perceived pain of reconfiguration on a level that finally inspires action.

What say you?

ABA Winter Institute (Wi7) kicks off in New Orleans

Happily settling in for the start of Winter Institute here at the Astor Crown Plaza in New Orleans. Last night was the Opening Reception held at the Cabildo, the Louisiana State Museum. A gorgeous building and venue. I wish I spent some of my time checking out the exhibits. It was the site of the Louisiana Purchase ceremonies in 1803. The one thing I did check out was Napolean's Death Mask - which was made from a mold by his doctor some 40 hours after his death and cast in bronze. It has a storied history, including being found by a man who picked up off a junk cart as this piece of history was heading off to a dump in the late 1800's. It was very cool and had an eerie aura about it. I tried sending a photo from my Blackberry - I have been very challenged trying to post from my Blackberry, so hopefully it shows up for anyone to check out.

While the acoustics at the museum created a din, it was representative of a packed venue full of energy and enthusiasm. It was wonderful talking to booksellers from WI, CO, Miami, San Fran, NJ, IL and really all over. There was a pervasive optimism people shared from many who posted a strong 4th quarter and genuinely positive outlook for the year ahead.

Today's schedule includes a Opening Plenary with Ingram CEO Skip Pritchard and Ann Patchett (author and bookseller), lunch with James Patterson talking about encouraging young readers followed by an afternoon of full sessions. Closing with Bob Minzesheimer (USA Today) interviewing Douglas Brinkley on the recovery of New Orleans. A FULL day awaits!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Heading to ABA Winter Institute in New Orleans in the morning. Looking forward to posting news from NoLa.