BookExpo America: Still Valuable for Many Publishers, Though Questions of Its Future Lurk on the Horizon
David Borgenicht, president and publisher of Philadelphia-based publisher Quirk Books, says, "BEA this year was as good as it's ever been for us—not better, not worse. Which is to say that it was also of no more or less debatable value than it ever has been."
Like many other publishers, a large benefit of the show for Quirk is getting face time with partners. "It was great to see and thank all the booksellers and librarians and media who have embraced our list (and have made "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" a huge hit this year)," notes Borgenicht, referring to one of his company's most recently successful titles.
Also, like some other publishers, Quirk "cut back on the cost of the booth by about 50 percent this year, so that was good as well," says Borgenicht. "For us (and probably everyone), BEA has become a marketing show, not a sales or rights show. So we feel it's good and necessary to continue to go, but it's not something we want to spend a lot of money on."
For Clint Greenleaf, chairman and CEO of Greenleaf Book Group, for whom this year was his 11th at BEA, says, "We had a good BEA. I think it was, generally, a smaller show with reduced expectations, so it felt pretty moderately successful. It certainly wasn't what it was in the past, but we got a lot of benefit out of it. We got lucky with a good location, and that helped us with our traffic. The meetings were good, in general, so it was a pretty good investment for us."
Greenleaf's objectives for determining the success of the show are numerous. "We go for a lot of different reasons—we listen to pitches from authors, we sell books, we discuss rights, we market ourselves, and we also use it as a training tool for our staff. The last one is our biggest benefit we can't get from direct meetings, and my favorite part," he says.