Last month I went to Book Expo America. Here’s my last (and belated) post about the event, where there are writing contests and some final thoughts.
Harlequin is having a contest where they are offering a publishing contract to the winner. And Quirk Books (of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies fame) has a new contest where they are looking for love stories. Unlike Harlequin, however, something tells me that their love stories will have something… Quirk-y about them.
Final Observations: Trending and the Future
Advance reader copies didn’t seem to be as widespread. Instead, the main freebie took the form of an actual book. Some were titles with an upcoming release date. Others were semi-recent titles with corresponding author signings. One standout in that regard was a signing for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which was published in 2011. That didn’t stop the line from extending way past the booth. Since books themselves are cheaper than ARCs to manufacture (and many readers would prefer a “real book” rather than a marketing tool), this seems like a positive direction. Readers can still get books before any one else. And authors who have had hits in the previous year (like with Peregrine‘s signing) can connect with fans and new potential readers.
Another element that seemed to be lacking was the presence of digital reading. Even though e-book sales keep growing, I didn’t see much geared toward e-books. Perhaps that may be because an in-person event equals physical manifestations of content. You wouldn’t go to Coachella and spend much time talking about your Spotify playlist, for example.
Power Reader Day is still a work in progress. Not all genres may benefit from a public day. Romance and YA were booming with events, along with commercial fiction and nonfiction. It may take longer for other genres to take hold.
There is still an element of the controlled chaos that is more chaotic than controlled. The tone of Power Reader day was mixed, with author signings, friendly editors, and publicity directors clashing with empty booths, sterile displays, and stone-faced representatives who didn’t want to speak to people with green badges.
Word on the street is that some publishers are still ambivalent about the public entering a formerly industry-only event. Many publishers, however, got the gist of the Power Reader Day, understanding the power of the consumer and making human connections with their brands.
It is understandable though how publishers want to utilize their precious BEA time by connecting with their regular contacts: teachers, librarians, and booksellers, all who support the book business and help curate tastes for the reading public. And that larger level of understanding is not same as the individual consumer.
Hopefully, next year’s BEA will continue to engage industry members and the public with new books and media. Until then, I’ll be waiting—and reading.