BookExpo America: Still Valuable for Many Publishers, Though Questions of Its Future Lurk on the Horizon
Despite having a "moderately successful" show, Greenleaf questions the event's future. "As a viable investment, I'm not sure it has staying power. I think the majority of the companies there (us included) benefit from big names being there, and I just don't see why they would go with the format as it is," he says. "They [the big industry players] meet with their accounts all year long—the show is expensive, and as long as there are no major changes, … I think anyone (including BEA staff) would have a hard time saying Thomas Nelson missed out this year by not coming. When the big guys stop coming, it will make a lot less sense for us to be there."
Dominique Raccah, CEO and publisher of Sourcebooks, one of the country's largest independent publishers, was pleased with the event. "I thought it was an outstanding BEA. Easily the most productive three days of the year," a view which she says her colleagues at Sourcebooks shared.
Merriam-Webster President and Publisher John Morse found the face time with partners the most valuable. "It was actually a very busy show for us, as we had the opportunity to meet with many of our partners in all parts of our business—including print manufacturing vendors, electronic publishing partners, major print-product licensees and licensors, domestic school and library wholesalers, and some of our international distributors, including those from Canda, Korea, Taiwan, Philippines and the Middle East," he says.
"We think that BEA has proven itself to be tremendously useful for small and medium-size publishers to meet with the wide variety of publishing partners that one must have in order to survive in today's turbulent business climate," says Morse. "If we were disappointed by anything, it was the lack of attendance over the weekend. Although this did not directly affect anything we were doing, it's hard not think that some publishers' lack of presence over the weekend sends an unfortunate signal about the level of support our industry is ready to give to this important business-building opportunity."