BookExpo 2005: the grandest book "party" comes back to the publishing capital of the world.
Where: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. New York, NY
Who: More than 2,000 exhibitors and 500 authors
When: June 2-5, 2005
Educational Programs: June 2-June 5
African American Pavilion: Booths 1218-1240
International Rights Marketplace: June 3-June 5
Exhibition Halls: June 3-June 5, 2005
BookExpo America (BEA), the largest annual conference in America for the publishing industry, returns to the Jacob Javits Center in New York City this June. This venue is a favorite among many major players in the publishing industry whose headquarters line the streets of Manhattan. Proximity allows more of their key players to attend and rub elbows with the up-and-coming and the already established people in the world of book publishing.
Who attends BEA? Everyone with a role in publishing, including agents, authors, booksellers, distributors, editors, illustrators, publicists, publishers and reviewers--even a few book dubs--put in an appearance. BEA boasts more than 2,000 exhibits, 500 authors and over 80 conference sessions, as well as a special area for dealing in publishing rights. It is the publishing mega-trade show where the full scope of publishing, marketing, distribution and sales is presented, examined and adjusted. Classes, seminars and roundtables abound. Deals are struck at power lunches and cocktail receptions. This is the place to check out the competition, to make new connections, to establish and solidify relationships and to score.
There is no better way to grasp the sheer magnitude of the publishing industry than viewing two humongous convention floors packed end to end with booths housing every conceivable industry player, ranging from international publishing magnates to bookmark manufacturers.
No matter what end of the business you are in, BEA is worth the investment. Booksellers and distributors can see all the new titles across all categories and more than cover the cost of their trip by taking advantage of some of the thousands of show specials available only at BEA. Agents, editors, publishers, publicists can add new authors to their roster. Reviewers can see what's coming down the pike and booklovers can stock up on new releases from every genre under the sun.
The American Booksellers Association (ABA) will host educational programs on Thursday, June 2, with courses on marketing, inventory management, competition and business alliances. Sessions will run throughout the convention, highlighting the benefits of ABA membership, including legal advocacy, legislative updates, Web site and gift-card programs, technology updates, discounts and contacts.
High Impact on the Black Side
For African Americans, the kickoff is the annum African American Booksellers Conference (AABC). The AABC will run from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 2, 2005. Clara C. Villarosa, recently retired from Hue-Man Bookstore in Harlem, and Emma Rodgers of Black Images Book Bazaar in Dallas coordinate the day's events. The culminating event is a reception featuring a tribute to Gordon Parks in celebration of his 90th birthday and the release of his latest book, A Hungry Heart (Atria Books, November 2005).
Several other organizations sponsor exciting activities offsite. Faye Childs of BlackBoard Publishing Co. will host her annual literary awards reception at the new Time-Warner Center at 59th Street and Columbus Circle on Saturday, June 4 from 7 to 10 P.M. The awards recognize outstanding African American writers of fiction, nonfiction and children's books, as well as an outstanding bookseller and publisher.
Lynnette Velasco, president of Black Americans in Publishing, says her organization is finalizing plans for a panel discussion aimed at empowering African American booksellers, distributors and publishers.
On the convention floor, this is the second year of the African American Publishers Pavilion, organized by Niani Colom of Genesis Press, Tony Rose, publisher and CEO of Amber Books and Adrienne Ingrum, associate publisher of Black Issues Book Review.
After the 2003 BookExpo, they developed the idea of leveraging the participation of African American publishers for greater impact at the conference, as well as on the participants' bottom lines. Together they coordinated a 1,400 square foot space that housed leading African American publishers including BIBR, Amber Books, Genesis Press, Third World Press, BlackBoard Times, FYOS Entertainment, Strebor Books International, Walk Worthy Press, Red Sea/Africa World Press, Literally Speaking, Just Us Books and Black Americans in Publishing.
The AA Pavilion maximized the publishers' exposure, presented a united front and generated a steady stream of foot traffic and significant sales. This year, the publishers want to continue to take responsibility for creating their own image and displaying their diversity.
African American Booksellers Conference
Thursday, June 2, 2005
11:30 A.M. Opening Session and Luncheon--Room 1E 12-13
Welcome: Clara C. Villarosa, formerly of Hue-Man Bookstore and Cafe, Harlem, New York
Luncheon Sponsored by: Jump At the Sun, an imprint of Hyperion Books for Children 1:00 P.M. Keynote Address--Room 1E 11 Walter Dean Myers and Christopher Myers, Holiday House Publishing
Workshops 2:15-3:45 P.M. How to Sell Children's Books--Room 1E 11
Panel: Irene Smalls, Little Brown and Company, Inc.; Jacqueline Woodson, whose recent book Miracle Boys was the basis for a series on The N Television network; Bernette Ford, CEO of Color-Bridge Books and consultant for the Just for You! series published by Scholastic for grades K-3, and Michele Echols, literacy consultant for nonprofit organizations.
4:00-5:00 P.M.--Room 1E 11 Remainder Books to Increase Your Bottom Line--Purchasing, pricing and positioning of publisher overstock books
Panel: Felicia Wintons, bookseller, Food for Thought, Tampa, Florida; Jordan Lubberts, sales representative, Book Depot, Lewiston, New York; and others.
5:30-8:00 P.M. Reception--Room 1E 12-13
Conference sponsors: Atria and Washington Square Press, division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., Ingram Book Company, Moody Publishers, BET Books, Kensington Books, HarperCollins Publishers, Earl Cox and Associates, Literally Speaking Publishing House and Macro Publishing Group.
African American Pavilion, Booths 1218-1240
This is the showcase of books and magazines by black publishers or black-interest titles, including fiction, nonfiction, children's, self-help and magazines. This is the second time independently owned African American publishers will have a defined, united display at BookExpo. Numerous promotions and author signings will be taking place daily.
For further information on the pavilion and how to join the National Black Book Publishers Association, please contact: Niani Colom at 662-329-9927, e-mail: email@example.com, Web site: www.genesis-press.com; or Tony Rose at 1334 East Chandler Blvd., Suite 5-D67, Phoenix, AZ 85048, 480-460-1660, fax: 480-283-0991, e-mall: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web site: www.amberbooks.com.
Work It! Tips for Navigating BEA 2005
So, where to start? The key is to begin your preparations long before you arrive in Manhattan. Doing your homework is key. First, complete the easy registration process online at www.bookexpoamerica.com. Registration prices are quite reasonable, but they increase significantly after May 23, 2005.
Next, book a room as far in advance as possible. New York City has tens of thousands of hotel rooms, but BEA won't be the only show in town, so many hotels near the Jacob Javits Center will be sold out. Since most hotels have a liberal cancellation policy, you can always cancel later if you aren't able to attend.
Do take the time to shop around. The conference planners negotiate special rates at a large number of area hotels that run the gamut of price ranges, and some very special deals are available. For instance, the American Booksellers Association hosts a members-only hotel featuring reasonable rates, shuttle transportation to the Javits Center, nightly receptions sponsored by publishers and free books delivered to your room daily. But from the moment the hotel is announced, the rooms are booked faster than you can say "room service!" Other hotels are reserved by associations solely for their members, such as librarians' and international groups.
Many of the convention hotels have shuttle service to the convention center, a wonderful convenience and a significant savings. Parking fees will put a serious dent in your budget, even if you leave your car parked at your hotel garage. Unless you have time and a specific need to travel by car around New York, skip the rental car and use public transportation. Excellent transportation service is available from Newark, LaGuardia and Kennedy airports to hotels for your local travel needs.
By all means, do venture out! There's no place on earth like New York City, and you don't want to miss the shopping, dining, theater, nightlife and nonstop entertainment. If you're able, tag on an extra day or two before the convention to take in a play, visit museums or take a walking tour of Harlem. You'll be much too tired afterward!
Network, Network, Network
Whether you are a first-time attendee or a veteran of BookExpo, following are some suggestions that may help you maximize your business opportunities, and make the expenses for transportation, lodging and entertainment worth it:
HAVE SEVERAL CONCRETE GOALS IN MIND. Then use the online schedule of events to plot your path. The convention guidebook is available a few weeks before the event. Opt to get it early and take time to review it. Develop a list of must-sees, and check the Web site frequently to be certain those individuals and companies will be represented. As often as possible, schedule appointments in advance.
BRING YOUR ESSENTIALS: A cell phone to confirm appointments or at least a prepaid calling card to avoid costly hotel phone charges; at least 250 business cards; brochures; fliers; postcards; bookmarks; capability statements; and press kits.
DO NOT JUST LEAVE STACKS OF YOUR POSTCARDS or business cards around for whomever to pick up. Instead, hand them out directly. A personalized delivery served with a smile has a much better chance for serious consideration.
DRESS FOR THE OCCASION. The convention floor is HUGE. Save cute shoes for evening. Wear shoes for walking and standing during the day. Do not try to bring your rolling luggage onto the convention floor. Suitcases carelessly left in the aisles have ignited more lawsuits than convention centers care to recount, so they are typically banned. Try a backpack. If you show documentation of a medical condition, you may be able to get special permission to bring assistive devices onto the floor.
CHECK EXCESS BAGS at the convention center. Later, drop off all the freebies and at the end of the day, take them back to your hotel, or ship directly from the center to home.
SHIPPING FEES MAY TARNISH the joy of receiving so many freebies, so grab judiciously. Do not take everything you are offered. Leave your address and ask that catalogues and other promos be mailed to you. You might consider bringing an empty suitcase or packing lightly to leave room for your treats. If you have a shipping box and an account with a service, your hotel may accommodate your packages without the handling fees tacked on at the convention center.
DO NOT OVERLOOK THE SPECIAL EVENTS. Many organizations, publishers and other groups sponsor receptions, breakfasts, luncheons, comedy shows, cruises, poetry readings and more. In addition to being fun and relaxing, these less-formal venues can lead to great contacts.
Now you are almost ready. If you are serious, it is time to do your homework. Make this your most productive and profitable BEA even See you there!
Robin Green is the grateful mother of two sons. She chairs the Ripe Harvest Foundation, a cultural arts organization in Baltimore, Maryland, and is a partner with Felicia Polk and Associates, Inc., a public relations firm.