Thursday, November 19, 2015

Shop Small & 2015 National Book Award Winners

I had a nice treat last night while flipping channels on TV, stopping to watch the American Express Shop Small promotion and there is Mitchell Kaplan from one of the great books stores anywhere, Books & Books in Miami (he has about 10 stores in total) .  

I stopped because Shop Small is such a powerful and great initiative.  Amex started it in 2010 and it is something that works amazingly well in the world of indie books stores.  So go out and shop at a local business or bookstore on Saturday Nov. 28th and you will probably be helped by an author if not someone from the ABA.  

Now check out the link, but don't blink - Mitchell owns the screen, popping in at the 7 second mark and is gone by the 8 second mark. 

While you are shopping on Saturday 11/18 - here are some great books to pick up:

The 2015 National Book Awards Winners:

Young People's Literature

Neal Shusterman
Challenger Deep
(HarperCollins Children's Books)


Robin Coste Lewis
Voyage of the Sable Venus
Alfred A. Knopf


Ta-Nehisi Coates
Between the World and Me
(Spiegel & Grau/Penguin Random House)


Adam Johnson
Fortune Smiles: Stories
(Random House)

Friday, November 13, 2015

It is a buzzy time of year....

Submissions for BEA Editors’ Buzz are due next week - closing November 18th!!! 

If you have not been or don't know what a Buzz panel is: BEA Editors’ Buzz is one of the marquee platforms at BEA for promoting new titles.  It is where editors share their excitement and passion for their Fall 2016 releases!

Previous Buzz highlights: We Are Not Ourselves: A Novel, by Matthew Thomas; Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel; Five Days At Memorial, by Sheri Fink; Room, by Emma Donoghue; The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach, Brain on Fire, by Susannah Cahalan; The Maze Runner, by James Dasher; Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell; What’s Left of Me, by Kat Zhang; The Jewel, by Amy Ewing, and Life of Zarf, Rob Harell.

There are rules and selection guidelines for publishers to follow.  The three main Buzz panels are:
• Adult Editors’ Buzz
• Young Adult Editors’ Buzz
• Middle Grade Editors’ Buzz

The attraction for booksellers and industry people are hearing from the editor of the presented the title and understanding why they are so invested, what excited them in the first place, details on what made them believe in a title and why they expect it to be such a big book.  

BEA has added a Editors Buzz panels in 2015 for Graphic Novels and Translated Titles. We are now planning to add a Sci-Fi Fantasy Buzz panel for BEA 2016 in Chicago as well as plans to have the books available in a digital format..

Virtually every book that has been selected to one of the main Editor's Buzz Panels over the last 3 years has landed on the New York Times bestsellers list.  We look forward to getting all the submissions from publishers big and small, the books are selected by a very hard working committee.

Friday, October 2, 2015

BEA Potpourri Post

BEA is the midst of our busy fall as the team will be participating in NAIBA, NEIBA, Frankfurt & the Heartland Fall Forum over the the next few weeks.  Frankfurt is important for BEA as we get access to so many current customers as well as meeting many new prospects.  It will be s different feel as Frankfurt has consolidated the fair, closing Hall 8 (the English language Hall) and I suspect this will be a good thing and save me a couple of miles of walking between halls on a daily basis.  If you will be in Frankfurt, please visit the BEA booth: Hall 6.0 Stand B35 for a visit, we will have snacks and refreshments! 

We also enjoy going to as many of the regional events as we can staff, appreciating the direct feedback with booksellers as well as the time to talk with exhibitors one on one.  I am particularly excited about the Heartland Fall Forum for a number of reasons.  One, we are taking advantage of the chance to do a site inspection of McCormick.  That will be on Friday Oct. 9th at 9:30 - email me if you are interested in participating (  It has been 11 years since BEA was last in Chicago and it will be helpful to see the venue in person.  Here is the main reason for my excitement:  BEA will be doing a focus group with booksellers to hear first hand on the things we can be doing that better serve their needs at BEA.  I am very grateful to the ABA, the Great Lakes and Midwest Booksellers Association to helping BEA do this at the Heartland event.  

Some random thoughts and a couple of interesting links to share:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Summer Sets and Fall Rises

Summer flies by faster and faster every year - it seems like there is more packed into less time, and by time you look up it is the middle of September.  BEA's summer is busy as both our budget and business plan are due at this time, leaving no downtime once the show closes around Memorial Day.  

There are high expectations as BEA takes a break from NYC for the 1st time since 2009 and returning to Chicago, it was 2004 the last time BEA enjoyed the friendly confines of McCormick.

We are buoyed by the anticipated increased number of booksellers and librarians who have been most vocal about BEA going somewhere besides Javits/NYC.  We are looking forward to going to the Heartland Fall Forum to engage with booksellers to get their feedback as well, making sure we continue all the things they love about BEA but also to try some new initiatives that will make BEA a better event for booksellers.  

To give people an idea of what to expect for 2016 other than the change in cities/venue, I can share a few things here as the Fall Season is kicking into high gear:

  • For concurrent events - the IDPF, the Audio Publishers Association and BEA Bloggers events will all be part of BEA.  
  • Make sure to book your hotel soon, if you were not aware, Microsoft Ignite will be sharing Chicago with BEA next May.  We have plenty of discounted hotels in our room block, but the sooner you book, the more options you will have to pick from.
  • BookCon comes to Chicago!!!   The is the first time that we are bringing our B2C Pop Event to a new location.  It will be one dedicated day, but clearly something that is working as now nearly 50% of the BEA show floor is hybrid space - meaning those companies participate in both BEA B2B and BookCon for Business to Consumer
  • We have rolled out new low cost exhibit options and have a new turn-key booth option from Freeman that will save people 25-50% on a traditional big custom booth.  Out goal is simple, make BEA less expensive and deliver more value.
There will be a lot more news coming on a more regular basis.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

More Post Show Data

I have attached a link below to some of the info we will share with BEA exhibitors as we review what went well and what can be improved upon going to Chicago.  Missing here is context that a conversation would allow, but hopefully this is at least interesting.

Monday, June 8, 2015

BEA 2015 Numbers

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.


  • Total Verified Professional Attendance for BEA 2015 only: 10,832 = -1.2%
  • Total Industry Professionals 2015 = 20,895 = +5.2%
  • BookCon 2015 = 18,000 = +80%
  • Total Verified Professional Attendance for BEA 2014 only: 10,965 
  • Total Industry Professionals 2014 = 19,860 
  • BookCon 2014 = 10,000


    Thursday, May 28, 2015


    The Adult Breakfast with Kunal Nayyar, Lee Child, Diana Nyad and Brandon Stanton just concluded and passed me on their way to the ABA lounge for signing.  People queued up at 4 different entrances which is so different than years past - where EVERYONE lined up in one entrance.   Another packed day is expected with 35 programs scheduled on everything from Word of Mouth Gone Digital to How to Make Translations Work to Alternative DRM Strategies.  There are 27 programs on the Author Stage including Debut Fiction, In Search of Diverse Books and Meet the BEA Adult Buzz Authors.  There are 100s of authors signing today - both in Autograhing and in exhibitor booths.

    It is a jammed day that we are expecting jammed aisles - plan your time well, drink lots of water and save a few steps anytime you can because you will need those steps to get to get your next panel, signing or booth you are visiting!  

    Wednesday, May 27, 2015

    Opening Day for BEA!!!

    BookExpo 2015 kicked off perfectly last night with the Welcome Reception for China at the Asia Society.  A packed room of industry heavy weights from 2 continents engaged in 90 lively minutes of socializing around several tasteful musical performances and a few brief speeches before everyone scampered off to dinners and parties. 

    I am pleasantly shocked to walk the show floor this morning to see everything so buttoned up and looking finished.  Maybe we can take another half day off of the move-in?  I am KIDDING.  BEA is teed up for a fantastic opening as booksellers are being hosted through the ABA's meet the editor program and visiting publishing houses all around NYC this morning.  The invite only China Opening Ceremony happens from 11-12.  IDPF, BEA Bloggers & the Audio Publishers Association all start up at 9:00 that will start the building crescendo leading up to the Jonathan Franzen event at 12:30 and of course there is the Adult Editor's Buzz panel that starts at 4:15.  The Global Market Forum program will have one its marquee events today starting at 2:30 - New Global Strategies and the Outlook for the Publishing and Media Industries. 

    Of course the show floor opens at 1:00 and promises to be a packed 1st day.  I recognized this new schedule was not without challenges, but I think this is going to be huge benefit to all to have BEA busy and jammed from start to finish. 

    Wednesday, May 13, 2015

    BEA and BOOKCON Cheatsheet + new IDPF Keynote

    The link below was put together for BEA and BookCon exhibitors, aggregating events and programs by area of interest along with the highlights for both BEA and BookCon. 

    While this will be sent to exhibitors this week, this should make BEA easier to navigate for everyone.  I hope this is helpful to anyone that clicks through to this link. 

    BEA/BookCon Flip Book Link

    The IDPF just announced below and I thought this was cool to add in here:

    IDPF Adds Jane McGonigal, Ph.D., Gaming Expert, Futurist, and Bestselling Author to Keynote Roster

    Early Bird Rate Extended through May 19, 2015

    The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) has announced that gaming specialist, futurist, Penguin author, and accomplished TED Talker Jane McGonigal, Ph.D., has been added to the keynote address sequence at the 2015 IDPF Digital Book Conference, which opens BookExpo America on May 27 at the Javits Center in New York City. Her address, "Reading is an Epic Win: How to Engage the Gamer Generation with the Future of Books," will focus on the challenge that electronic media poses to reading today. You can read the full press release here.

    Wednesday, April 29, 2015

    Days of Future Past

    I am stealing from a few places for this post, starting with the recent X-Men movie title and I linked that to Michael Cader's Publisher's Lunch coverage pasted below from his take on trade sales and the drop in eBook sales as reported by the AAP StatShot.  I always find Micheal's commentary insightful and typically connects the dots that are not obvious to draw out conclusions.  I also appreciate the context Michael provided with the historical data.  But in this instance, trying to connect the dots, if these figures portend any notable trends, I am left to my own devices.  With that being the case, I will offer a few of my own observations:
    •  Publishing is a hit based business, there needs to be an 'it' book to draw people both into stores and on-line and when that happens, there will be more book sales in all formats.
    • As indie booksellers continue to display resiliency, it should be no surprise that print numbers would mirror that trend of stability. 
    • eBook sales may have dropped, but that was probably easier to predict as those sales are even more driven by hit books.  Also, as Sony has exited the market along with other dedicated ereading devices, digital reading is going to be driven by tablets and mobile devices.  The biggest gain Apple has made in market share is due to iBook app being bundled onto Apple devices with their roll out of iOS8.  I still do not think the vast majority of people look to read on tablets/phones.  But that will change over time as people are more and more dependent on devices for all aspects of their lives.  Both my pre-teen boys have cell phones and they never use them as a phone - they use it for text, gaming, checking on school work through our school district's Infinite Campus system it is very rare that they use them for a phone call.  My point here, books/reading already have a strong foot hold on these platforms which are more ubiquitous than cars or TVs - reading from devices can only grow.
    My reference to Days of Future Past simply reminds me that the future of publishing is tied closer to the past than I would have though possible not too long ago.  A great book is still more important to the industry than anything else and good old fashioned bookselling and printed books are still the foundation that this business depends on.  

    The AAP reported StatShot figures for January 2015, putting overall trade sales of $495.5 million flat compared to a year ago, with adult sales up a couple of million dollars and children's/YA sales down a couple of million.

    In adult sales, trade paperbacks were the notable gainer, up $11.5 million to $122.7 million, while mass market paperbacks declined almost as much (down $9.2 million) and ebook sales were down $4.4 million as agency pricing returned. Digital audio, however, continued its advance, at $15.6 million up 37 percent from $11.4 million a year ago.

    Children's books declined $2.2 million, or 1.7 percent, as print sales of $110 million still grew -- rising in all three formats, up over 8 percent -- but the falloff in ebook sales without big YA/crossover hits brought that segment down $7.8 million to $12.9 million for the month.

    The change in ebook sales is the most notable story in the January statistics: In what used to be a big, post-holiday sales period for new ebook device owners, ebook sales totaled $100.3 million -- down at least $11.3 million -- and they comprised only 20 percent of trade sales for the month. Significantly, which you likely won't read anywhere else, that is the lowest one-month AAP ebook sales in years. The last time that monthly count was lower was all the way back in April 2012 (just as the Fifty Shades trilogy took off), when ebooks accounted for $99.5 million in sales. The next lowest levels since then were at the end of 2012 (when ebooks were $108 million in both November and December) and then again in March 2014, when they were $108.5 million.