Most of us have noticed for the past year now that BookExpo has a new look and slight change in name (America has been dropped from it) and it's now organized by ReedPop.
So what did I think of this year's BookExpo? What are my impressions?
First, I was just happy that it's back in NYC. There's something about the vibe of NYC and the event being held in that giant glass building of the Javits Center that makes BookExpo special to book lovers. I enjoyed every minute of my time at BookExpo but did notice a few changes.
New Website and App:
Reedpop has not only changed the look of BEA but also brought on a more streamlined and interactive website as well as a cool app that was actually useful (as compared to the one from 2015). I used it to interact with other attendees and to quickly scan through which authors were autographing their books and when.
For those of us who wanted to get signed books from ticketed authors like Adriana Trigiani, there was the option of getting your ticket online rather than having to get to the convention site at an ungodly time in the early morning to make sure you snagged a ticket on a first come first served basis. I was told by an attendee that she tried to get a hold of a ticket online for Marissa Meyer's autographing and all tickets were allocated within minutes. If you get your ticket onsite, it will be at the same place where you get your badge, the registration area.
No more Book Blogger Conference:
For book bloggers the biggest change was the cancellation of Book Blogger Conference and the vetting of who got to attend BookExpo. The registration process was much more vigorous than in previous years, with a full three pages of detailed information required and a wait time of at least three weeks to find out if your registration was accepted.
Less time on the Show Floor:
I was looking forward to my three days at BookExpo and was surprised and very disappointed to discover that the show floor with the exhibitors was not open on Wednesday from 1:00 to 6:00 pm as in previous years,
Yeah....you read that right. NO exhibitors on Wednesday.
It opened on Thursday morning through to Friday. Two days only. That's a 5-hour loss of time that I could have spent networking and visiting as many booths as possible. For the price I paid, I felt I was shortchanged.
So what did I do on Wednesday? I attended two events (there were only 4 scheduled for the day). The morning session was Consumer Centric Data: Currency of Publishing which showed that although kids are using smartphones and tablets more than ever, they are not using them all that much for reading. Surprise, surprise...Instead, for the first time in 6 years, print book sales have outsold ebook sales in 2016. That's good news for publishers who thought ebooks were going to make print books obsolete.
The second session in the afternoon was The Future of Publishing: Building New Opportunities for Growth and Profitability. It was interesting, but I left halfway.
Still lots of Attendees but Less Crowded:
Although there were a good number of attendees on Thursday and Friday, it was less crowded than in previous years. I thought this was the best result from all the changes. The lines for signed copies of books were still long but not as ridiculously long as in previous years. The wait time wasn't too long.
And of course, you've probably heard that Hilary Clinton was a guest on the Main Stage on Thursday evening from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. The line for that event started at 4:30...I didn't attend.
Other big names...
...and Chad Michael Murray who was autographing his upcoming novel co-written with Heather Graham: American Drifter, releasing Nov 14.
I met a few of my favorite authors and discovered other ones. I'll tell you all about it in my next post tomorrow!