Sunday, June 16, 2013

BEA Diary 2013

By Alan Canton...  with invaluable editorial assistance from Mayapriya Long


This report almost didn't happen.

Our company has arrangements with some of the major media outlets to cover conventions that they don't want to send their own employees to attend. In the old days we would be called "stringers." Now we are called "media affiliates." Others who do this call themselves "road-warrior writers" as they do a lot of travel. The pay is not great but the work is not hard, is often fun, and your colleagues are terrific... I see many of the same people show after show.

We've had dealings with mostly European and Asian media to buy content from us. We also get some specific assignments to cover certain exhibitors or sessions... for example the Digital Book 2013 ... see below.

In the past fifteen years that I've been doing the BEA Diary, the officials at Reed (who run BEA) were gracious to the media and gave passes to anyone who had even negligible credentials.

That changed this year.

According to the BEA media gatekeepers, there were simply too many people requesting media passes whom BEA claimed were not "real" media. One official said it was "epidemic."

Yet in all the years I've been covering the BEA, it has never been that big of a media attraction. True, some of the celeb-speakers draw the press, but the average small and mid-size publisher who pays around $10,000 to buy booth space and lodging and meals and transportation for BEA never sees anyone from any media on the floor. I know because I'm there... and I always ask.

Let me make one thing very, very clear. Reed is an excellent friend to the publishing industry, they put on well-attended and valuable book conventions, and the company that they contract with for public/media relations, Roger Bilheimer Associates does a great job year after year for the show. From what I can gather this media credential change did not originate with Roger and his team... he and his associates were just the bearers of the bad news. 

Soon after our company applied for the annual press credentials for me and my long-time co-author of this electronic fish-wrap, we were denied.

We were never told why, we just got an email saying we were not considered "media-worthy" enough to cover the BEA this year. (Reminded me of the Seinfeld "sponge-worthy" episode!)

I checked with several colleagues who cover the small and mid-size press and they got the same email. It looked to us that BEA wanted to "reserve" the show just for the large media who would cover the "big hitters" -- those who bought the most space. Of course, we could not prove it, but that was the gist of the emails that circulated among those of us who had spent years at BEA giving some much-needed "ink" to the smaller exhibitors.

After an appeal to BEA's new media committee (nicknamed the "BEA media mafia!")  and a denial from same, our company decided that we would just go "public" to the media community with the issue.

First we solicited comments from reporters via HARO and other sources. Then we wrote up a press release on the issue.

But before we published it, in fairness and for accuracy, we wanted to get statements from BEA (Reed) about their new restrictive credentialing policy and the media committee that they had created to 'enforce' it.

Thus, we sent the draft of the release to everyone we knew at Reed and while we hoped for the best, we were resigned to the idea that BEA just didn't want us covering the small press as we have for 15 years (see end of this piece for links to past BEA Diary fish-wraps.)

I don't know who saw the press piece or what might have been discussed in the upper levels of Reed/BEA management but a few days later our company received an email saying that we would be issued our usual two press credentials. We never published the release.

I don't know how many other writers, journalists, reporters, and bloggers "protested" as we did but my guess is that there weren't too many since I didn't see many (most) of my old friends on the floor of the BEA this year. My second guess is that their managements (i.e. managing editors) said "Well, the hell with BEA -- if they don't want us there, we won't cover it."

I don't know what the truth is. From my standpoint BEA shot themselves in the foot publicity-wise, and got a lot road-warrior writers angry... but that's just my take on it. You make your own decision.

* * *


My co-author and I picked up our BEA media credentials at the press office on Wednesday. The regular exhibits were not open as people were still putting them up, but BEA was hosting a Digital Book 2013 that day and I wanted (needed) to cover a couple of the sessions.

However, again the "media mafia" struck, and the two young women at the desk said that our credentials were not valid to attend/cover any of the presentations.

I asked to speak to a supervisor but the young woman who seemed to be in charge (although she looked all of 17 years old!) said it would not be possible. So we just walked away.

I was somewhat upset because our company (which covers many conventions) had a "stringer" assignment (from a major-major media) to cover one of the speakers (a 'gran fromage' in the digital biz) and when we were denied entrance I knew we would not see the income from that assignment.

As they say on Wall Street "Don't fight the tape." (Like there is anyone old enough to remember ticker-tape!) It was not worth getting upset over; there was nothing I could do except report back to my contacts and let them deal with it. This much is for sure, Digital Book 2013 missed out on a huge pool of ink by not letting me sit through their presentations.

Maybe next year? I doubt it!

It was lunchtime anyway, so I went to the cafeteria and got a sandwich. It was much busier than I had expected... people had to share tables, which usually only happens when the exhibit hall is open.

I shared a table with a lovely young woman, Babs Chandrasoma from PR by the Book. They specialize in publicity campaigns for book authors and publishers. She had recently moved from the frozen tundra of Minnesota to the sunny Austin, TX area. We talked a lot about our mutual interests, one of them being web design. Last year my company started (a very successful) web design service called NewMedia Website Design which targets authors and publishers :

I think we can send Babs and her PR by The Book company as many clients as they can send us -- a win-win deal. That's the great thing about BEA... you never know whom you are going to meet that can help your book or your business. Lunch at BEA is always a biz-op.

Babs Chandrasoma of PR By The Book

I've been to a ton of conventions including twenty (ABA) BEAs but it never ceases to amaze me just how much work it is to set up a booth, to say nothing about the cost.

Yeah, my butt would hurt too after all this work!

The only sections of the exhibit floor that were open on Wednesday were remainders which I had zero interest in, and the so-called "sidelines"... non-book items that are sold in bookstores, which I love to cover as I always find good stories that will sell.

I like puzzles and the items that 4D Cityscape has are terrific. You locate and place each building on the map according to the year it was built. As you work your way through the puzzle you are placing each building in chronological order as if history is happening before you eyes! The year of the last building placed on the map represents the year you are in the puzzle. Very cool. I wish I had one of New York... as I grew up there!

Ya gotta get one of these... not just for kids!

You'd think that with ebooks helping to put bookstores out of business you would not see them selling anything iPad or Kindle-related. But they do, and one popular item is a waterproof case for your tablet. I guess people read underwater these days? :-) Not really. The WaterGuard Lite Waterproof Case guards against any wet environment that your iPad might be exposed to. It's great if you use your iPad at the beach or at pool side.  (I'm thinking hot tub with a book babe!) It provides great protection when you get stuck in a rainstorm or accidentally drop your bag on a wet surface (and it rained like crazy in NYC when I arrived... I could have used one of these.)

Maybe your fish want to read Finding Nemo?

There is the joke about Martha Stewart making her own paper and ink when she sends out Christmas cards, but there are people who really do make their own books. I'm not sure what they do with them, but Esther Smith at Purgatory Pie Press has the book on how to make a book. I don't have time to read one, much less make one... but she obviously has found a niche that people will pay for!

Does this make her a "bookie?" :-)

I love simple things... and Jenean VanBreene of Folio has come up with the ultimate of 'simple' -- a gadget that everyone will want -- and will wonder why they didn't think of it first. You put the Thumb Thing on your thumb and pick up a book. The two wings will hold the pages open more easily than if you just used your hand, making reading more comfortable.  Have you ever stood on the subway in NY trying to read a book? If so, you want this.

This will probably sell millions!

I hate tattoos. I really do. But seeing young people on the street all tatted up I'm probably the only person on the planet who feels that way. That said, I did find one tattoo that I love... it's a glitter tattoo sold by Liana Bergman of Glitter Toos. They are NOT permanent and they look great. Kids will love these. Take a look at their website slides. If I were a hot babe with a great figure in a low-cut cocktail dress doing the Saturday night club scene, I'd be sporting one of these on each of my... ankles... yeah... ankles! (What where YOU thinking?)

All the glitters... is cool

You don't see too many games at BEA so when one pops up that seems simple and easy I take notice. Tenzi is a dice game. Each player chooses a set of dice. Players hold all ten dice in their hands. Someone says “Go” and everyone rolls at the same time. You quickly look at your roll and decide which number you are going to go for. (For example, if you have more 3’s than any other number, that’s what you want to go for.) Put all your dice with that number aside, collect the remaining dice and quickly roll again. (You do not have to wait for others to roll again. Everyone rolls together only on the first roll.) Keep rolling until all ten of your dice show the same number. The first player to get all ten of their dice to match (ten 3’s, for example) shouts out “TENZI” and wins the game! It's fun. I tried it. It's fun. It's "dumb" but it's fun. It might make a good drinking game.

Sounds dumb, but really, it's fun!

Talking about drinking, I'm tired of coffee... and tea (but not beer or booze!) There was a small booth, way in the back of the sidelines area with Ms. Clover Earl  (too bad her frist name wasn't "Dukah") who has a company called Sipping Dreams which makes Drinking Chocolate. Drinking chocolate is relatively unknown in the United States, though very popular in Europe. Often confused with hot cocoa, drinking chocolate utilizes bar chocolate (not powder) as a base for the thick, rich and decadent drink. They gave out samples. This is REALLY good. If you can find it at your bookstore (or any store) you must buy it and try it. If Starbucks had half a brain, they would buy out this company in a Hollywood minute!

This is sooooooooo good!

As always there are tons of children's items, mostly educational, yet I rarely see anything that gets me too excited... mainly because I like dogs better than children. But I found a "toy" that everyone will want... a Pocket Disc. We were throwing this in the asile and having a great time. You can play indoor Indoor Golf with these. You will love this. (And so will your dog!)

More fun than anything I've seen at BEA in many years.

There are some things I find at BEA that are so terrific that I can't adequately explain why I like them or even what they are. I was enthralled with the Mova Globes. I don't have time or space here to show and tell how wonderfully beautiful and artistic these are... you just have to go to this link and see the videos. I'm getting a Mova for my house and one for my office as soon as I can find a distributor near me. 

Easily the best sideline at BEA this year!

After seeing the exhibits of the sidelines there wasn't anything left to do at the hall, since I could not get into the Digital Book conference (and man, did they lose a shot at national, major media publicity with the piece that I was commissioned to write.) I went back uptown to change (ie. put on my 'dress" jeans!) to cover the IBPA Ben Franklin Awards and the IPPY Awards... both the same night -- meaning I had to hoof it!!

The Ben's were held at the Marriott in Times Square... which is always a zoo. I was looking forward to it in order to see my old and dear friend Florrie Kichler of Patria Press. She is the outgoing president of IBPA (which used to be PMA... and for a couple of years seemed more like PMS!) She has served for six or seven years... some thought she was 'president for life' and everyone wanted her to STAY for life... but she wants a change... and I can't blame her. 

I also ran into an old buddy of mine, one of the best publicity copywriters in the business, Shel Horowitz. Shel not only lost about a thousand pounds and looked ten years younger, he wore a shirt with a collar (and it is rumored that he now owns a suit!) He is a man of good humor and boundless book-knowledge. It is always good to see him. 

Shel and Florrie. Old friends, good friends, valued friends.

The Ben Franklin event was the best they've had in years. The food was good and they filled the room with authors, publishers, and friends of the small press... but no media. I think I was the only reporter in the hall... which is too bad because there was a boatload of great books up for awards this year. I will be writing a number of stories about some of the winners. 

Taken during the dinner portion of the award ceremony. Big crowd, great books!

After a quick dinner and watching the very moving tribute that IBPA made to Florrie for so many years of dedicated work, I ran up to Columbus Circle to the IPPY party which was held at the Providence Club which was once a recording studio in the 70’s; the Rolling Stones, John Lennon and Stevie Wonder all recorded albums there. I soon found the owner and "grand poobah" of the IPPY, Jerry Jenkins. He had been deathly ill early this year... very serious, but he beat it and is now fine... which we're all happy to hear. 

Jerry Jenkins: Always a smile and a kind word to everyone. 

There are a lot of award programs in the small press, some say there are too many. I think the two most prestigious awards are the IBPA Ben Franklin and the Independent Publishers IPPY... the judges of both are qualified, and both get lots of entries (Jerry said he got around 5,000 for all of his award programs) so that the winner of any category has had real competition... the award is 'earned' not 'given.'

The IPPYs always have the best looking 'presenters" (and Jim Barnes at podium thinks he's of them. Not!)


It's always exciting on the first day of the BEA... you wonder whom you will run into, what the show buzz will be, and what the attendance will be. I call it "the first day of spring training" for the book biz, especially the small press which I cover year after year.

I arrived a bit late the first morning, the result of just a little over-indulgence of some adult beverages at the award parties. When I walked into Javits around 10:30 AM the place was hoppin'. I would not say it was the best attended first-day I've ever seen, but given that a lot of people have been predicting the 'death' of the big trade show, there was no doubt that this one was alive and well.

I always head over the "micro" press area on the first day... way off to the right side of the hall... not far from (if not in!) New Jersey! Given the fact that there would be fewer media junkies at BEA this year because of the new media committee not giving credentials, I felt even more responsibility to find as many good "stories" as I could for this piece as well as stories we could sell (mostly to the European/Asian meda.)

One man who always has a good "story" is the venerable Irwin Zucker who heads Promotion in Motion and who founded the BPSC. The goal of the programs of the Book Publicists of Southern California is to improve the quality of book public relations by providing informative speakers on a regular basis, and providing opportunities for interaction among authors, publicists, publishers and media. Irwin is about 128 years old now... but has more energy than those who are one quarter his age! This year's story? Irwin said "Print books will die when I die... and I'm never going to die!" I believe it!

 Irwin Zucker of BPSC with 'hot' friend. Anyone know who she is?

Years ago there were lots and lots of lawyers with legal books. I don't see many or either anymore at BEA. One that did stand out was by Lester Barclay, a Chicago lawyer who wrote a book titled The African-American Guide to Divorce & Drama: Breaking Up Without Breaking DownThe tome focuses primarily on divorce and non-marital separation, alongside custody, visitation, child support, financial disputes, and related issues in the context of African-American cultural and social realities.

Lester Barclay (author) and Dibri Beavers (of Khari Publishing) 

For most people, especially media people (the few that are allowed in!) the BEA (any convention) is a lot of work. We HAVE to be here to earn our living. But some firms just come to events like BEA to "show the flag." I walked around the corner and there was a booth by Zabar's. If you grew up in New York City (especially Jewish or with Jewish friends) you know Zabar's... a simply outstanding restaurant. Russ Goldshine brought a ton of goodies he was passing out to all who came by the booth. I don't know what they hope to gain... except some attention... which they got from this reporter -- who took a handful of rugelach (ROO-gah-lah... Jewish pastry... like a Danish or coffee cake... from Eastern Europe) to munch on later.

Great food at Zabar's... expensive... but GREAT!

I don't spend too much time with children's books... just not my beat... I deal more with non-fiction works for adults. However I saw a terrific book called Finance Camp 4 Kids by Dan Williams. Through ten animated short stories, Dan creatively explains the ideas and advantages of starting a business and putting your savings to good use. I wish he would write one for wives! (What does my wife make for dinner most nights? Reservations!)

Author Dan Williams. Nice book with great art (by Randy Williams)

The "B" in BEA is "book." And books are (or used to be) PRINTED. In past years we'd see many booths staffed by printers seeking to get the attention of publishers who walked the floor. Not anymore. I saw only one, that's right, one booth for a printer... and one I had never heard of. I don't know them but since this is a report on a book show, I have to at least mention one printer... Your Town Press. I love the beginning of their mission statement: "We understand that most of the jobs we are entrusted with are intended to help our clients make money." I wish all printers understood that! 

Dennis Scott of YTP

At trade shows, reporters come across lots of different biz-models. Some we've seen in other industries that we know won't work, and some we see that might have a chance. might have that chance. Not only do they have the usual laundry-list of marketing and publicity services for authors, they work to match up readers with those authors. Right now, I don't know. If they are around next year... I'll know!

Brian Field of

It would not be a BEA without a medical doctor who has a book to hawk, and this year's show had a good one... David Klein, author of Fire Your Shrink. "The time to start changing your life is now. All you need is the right mindset and the right set of tools," he says. I liked his personality and the cover... which are the two most important ingredients of any self-help book. This one will sell. 

Dr. David Klein... he can sell this... he sold me!

Fiction is hard for any press to publish, not to mention a self-publisher. Every year there is at least one very young author who has written a niche-novel, has put together a killer publicity machine and a high-impact website... all of which cost a lot of money... and goes "out there" to sell his or her story. This year I think "the story" is The Whispers of The Fallen by J.D. Netto. If he is the model for all young authors, this industry will survive just fine. I think his book will be a winner... picked up by Hollywood... and he will become a 'gran fromage' in the lit-biz. Of course I've said that about authors for twenty BEAs now, and so far it has never happened. Maybe I'm a curse?

J.D. Netto... so young and talented. Great future ahead

And talking about getting media, the authors of Secret Storms, Julie Zerneck and Kathy Hatfield have done it. If you are looking for a model on how to publish a book and get it sold by "getting out there" you could do worse than follow the example of these authors. 

Julie Zerneck and Kathy Hatfield, authors

Every BEA has at least one book that is the expose that will lead a news-cycle... or become a segment of 60 Minutes! I think that Gary Heyward's Corruption Officer is that expose. "I worked on Rikers Island for nine years and due to a "cooperating" inmate I became inmate 0604017. All the corrupt things that you heard or saw in the news about the notorious city jails are going on.. and then some!"

Gary Hayward: The costume alone made me want the book!
Each year I find ordinary people who have come up with an extraordinary idea for a book that I just know, if marketed correctly, can sell hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of copies. Indy and James Lucas came up with Ed the AED. Means nothing to you? Well, if you have a heart attack I hope someone knows about it. "An Adventure with ED the AED is a fun book written to educate children about the safe and easy usage of AED’s (Automated External Defibrillators.) This book gives children and adults training through its easy step by step format with simple to understand instructions on the use of an AED. This book helps to not only empower adults but children of any age to feel confident to help save a life – it is a powerful tool to help anyone over come fear that might otherwise keep them from getting involved in a life and death emergency." I think it is a damn important book... and if they can break in to the education market, they can sell a zillion to schools across the world. 

Indy and James Lucas - they could make millions on this

I always look for a booth with an animal... I'm a sucker for books about (or "written" by) animals. This year the only animal I saw was Kushka, The Dog Named Cat by Eli Kowalski. "Kushka was born on May 30, 2005. She is a purebred white Maltese. Her name "Kushka" translates to “cat” in Russian. Kushka was named this way because she believes she is a cat." Silly? Maybe. But c'mon, it's a great 'hook' for a kid's book. How do I know? It's been out there a while and has done well. 

Hey, there was a dog. I had to mention it. So sue me!

I'm also a sucker for puppets. Each year Folkmais brings an assortment of their animal hand puppets and each year I feature one. These are the best puppets in the world. You just have to have one and play with it to see why. 

A bird in the hand...

I don't spend a lot of time with the large publishers. They get plenty of ink (although since BEA withheld press credentials from so many writers, maybe not this year!) I saw a large booth for the New York Times... but it was empty. It was pretty... but no one was in there so I have no idea what they were hawking. Maybe they too were refused a press credential :-)

I read the news today, oh boy!

I've always lamented that much of the major daily media have stopped publishing book reviews. However, of late there has been a strong resurgence of interest in book reading... maybe because of Kindle and iPad? But what to read? What's good? The people who bring us BookPage try to answer that question. Targeted mostly to libraries, BookPage does sell individual monthly subscriptions for $30 a year. If you love books, this is a good deal.

Julia Steele and Angie Bowman of BookPage

Some of you have heard of (or used) Fiver and Elance? There is a brand new "match-maker" service targeted at writers and those who hire them... This is an online marketplace that connects writers with the services they need to create their books and get them sold. Writers post jobs describing what they need and what their budget is to find editors, designers, marketers and so on. Freelancers bid on the jobs they want. The writer chooses based on price, portfolio, reviews and experience... and gets 10% of the fee. I'll be interested in seeing how this venture goes... our web design company, NewMedia Website Design, might sign up and bid on some jobs. 

Abigail Carter, founder of

I was really surprised to see PBS at the book show! But there they were with a huge poster about their newest hit show. I'm not sure this is such a good use of the membership dues people pay to their local station, some of which is passed on to PBS. Maybe BEA sells them a booth at a reduced nonprofit rate?

Kathy Gilbert of PBS

As I've said earlier, you go around a corner and you never know whom you will meet in any given year. This year it was my old friend Brian Jud, of the Premium Book Company. Brian is by far the most knowledgable person in the country on special sales (books used as premiums or give-aways.) The big news is that Brian has taken over the SPAN organization and re-named it AAPSS... or The Association of Authors and Publishers for Special Sales. I think this is a good thing... and I hope he can grow his membership. Our web design company is a member. If you ever see him, ask him which wife he brought to the BEA this year. (Sorry, Brian, I could not resist!)

Brian Jud, the "AAPSS MAN." (Anyone remember Kramer's (from Seinfeld) license plate?)

The second and third day's of BEA often see a smaller attendee count and that was the case at this show as well; and at the end of the first day it thinned out early. The third day had the general public admitted. (BEA wouldn't discount tickets to the media that they denied credentials to, but they sold discount tickets to the general public! Go figure!) I never did figure out who was a trade attendee and who was public attendee, but no matter, neither the second day nor the final day saw door-busting crowds.

When the steps are empty you know there is no crowd. 
I always go to the Midpoint Trade booth to see Eric Kampmann (owner) and the members of his staff. In previous years it was social, but this year it was business. We "pitched" Midpoint on the idea of referring our web design company to their authors and publishers. There are lots of good distributors who come to BEA, but Midpoint is, in my opinion, the best of the best. 

Tom Campbell (left) of King Printing and Eric Kampmann of Midpoint... two old friends

Every year we see more and more exhibits of book-reading hardware.... except we don't see booths by Amazon or Apple. Obviously they believe they have a market share that they will never have to relinquish and that  they don't think they need be in the show. Well, there is a new guy in town. This year the Kobo folks bought a lot of space and got a "high marks" on their reader... which I really liked and would gladly buy if it would read my Kindle library like my iPad does. You will hear more about Kobo.

Cerys Goodall showing off the Kobo reader. Damn nice product. I want one!

You find some quirky books at BEA... often books you might like to have... but would probably never buy. I give my "quirk award" to The Book That Started It All: The Original Working Manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous from Hazelden. This is an extraordinary reproduction of the original working manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous, with essays and notes by a panel of celebrated AA historians. It's really a work of art. I will buy it and give it to a friend on his upcoming 25th anniversary of sobriety. 

This would make a great gift for someone in recovery.

There are lots of organizations in the literary biz... we're a bunch of joiners. A new group had a booth at BEA. It is called BookWorks: The Self-Publishers Association, a worldwide community dedicated exclusively to helping self-publishing authors prepare, publish and promote their books. They have partnered with Publishers Weekly, PubMatch and Combined Book Exhibit to give their members exposure to markets and resources that they claim no other organization currently provides. They seem to be targeting authors wanting to self-publish, not people who already are in the publishing game, like  IBPA or AAPSS targets. I wish them well. It's a major step from being an author to being a publisher and I hope they can be of help to those who give it a shot.

Betty Sargent, Founder and CEO of BookWorks

There are always celebrities who are signing books. One of the most notable was Dr. Ruth Westheimer who was giving away autographed copies of her new book Sexually Speaking: What Every Woman Needs to Know about Sexual Health. I overheard a man on the autograph line say to the guy behind him, "What's my Jewish wife's dream house? Simple. Twenty-eight rooms, no kitchen, no bedroom!"

Dr. Ruth... only five feet tall, but sometimes larger than life!

One newcomer to the book scene is a graphic design service called 99 Designs which is sort of an eBay for designers to bid on jobs. The concept is that the publisher posts their specs of what they are looking for. Designers then work on spec and submit the work with a price. The publisher sees the work and picks one. One problem is that good designers don't work on spec. Secondly, there is no assurance that their spec-work won't be 'stolen' and used anyway. I see too much risk and not enough reward for graphic designers. The company has had a fair amount of press and claims success (but they don't claim profits!) I just don't think the biz-model is viable in the long run... but I could be wrong. The owners claim good book design can be bought for $500. It just isn't true, at least not in my 25 years of experience in the book-biz. This might work for logos and letterheads, but not for major cover design.

Need a bargain-basement logo? 

This year's best walk-around costume award goes to Thimble The Fairy. I have no idea of her real name, it is not on any of her books or her website. She was walking around the hall sprinkling people with fairy dust (glitter) and everyone enjoyed it. I hope she got a lot of press  (from the few reporters in the place) because she worked the show well.

No idea who she really is but she was a hit in the aisles

One of the great ladies of the small press was at the show; Tordis Isselhardt of Images From The Past, which publishes books on regional/cultural historical topics. The latest book from her company At the Top of the Mountain: The Adventures of Will Ryan and the Civilian Conservation Corps, 1936-38 completes a three book series (by Judith Edwards) for middle school readers based on the author's fascinating research, familiarity with the region, and fictional cast of characters.There is little about this industry Tordis does not know. She does fine books... and is a good friend.

Everyone loves Tordis... a great example of the small press in America

I left Javits and headed downtown to attend the annual Midpoint Trade pizza party where (of course) I got to see an authentic "book babe" Julie Hardison who is Director of Operations for the distributor. She works out of the Kansas City office and I don't think the company could function without her!

Julie and the author of this diatribe


This was a good show, well-attended by contemporary standards, and except for the absence of many media people who either didn't come or were denied credentials, the show was a success.

The show is scheduled to be in New York City next year and the year after (2015), moving to Chicago in 2016.

Again, let me AGAIN make one thing very, very clear. Reed is an excellent friend to the publishing industry, they put on well-attended and valuable book conventions, and the company that they contract with for public/media relations, Roger Bilheimer Associates does a great job year after year for the show. From what I can gather this media credential change did not originate with Roger and his team... he and his associates were just the bearers of the bad news.

It is my hope that BEA management will disband their media "committee" and be a lot more proactive in attracting as much media as they can. After all, this is really a "media show" and not a "book buying" show like it was when I first started coming.

In the "old days" every mom/pop bookstore would send a few people to BEA and they would have appointments with publisher sales reps; sit down at the little round tables and would buy most of their yearly inventory at the show. Where are the retail bookstore owners now? We all know the answer to that: Gone.

I don't know if opening the show to the public was a success or not. My bet is that from a financial standpoint BEA did not make much money on the concept, as I don't think many people ponied up the $49 for a ticket to see a show that takes at least two days, in only six hours.

BEA has released the following press piece on attendance.

There are a lot of people, particularly in the press looking for the results from just concluded BEA. Please note these are RAW NUMBERS, meaning they are subject to change based on the verification process which takes 3-4 weeks. 
BEA is audited by a 3rd party to verify our results because all strategic planning is based on these final figures. The results from the 3rd party audit in 2012 showed that BEA was up by more than 11% vs. the 5% we had first reported.
NOTE we have removed the BlogWorld cross over attendee stats which had been included the last 2 years so we can give an apples to apples number on BEAs figures.
Total Industry Professionals 2013 = 19,615 = -.004%
Total Industry Professionals 2012 = 19,694
Total Attendance 2013 = 11,101 - +7%
Total Attendance 2012 = 10,417
All in all, the reviews have been fantastic. The Author Stages and other author events were a giant success.  In particular, the Neil Gaiman, Jim Gaffigan & the Wally Lamb/Elizabeth Gilbert appearances were terrific highlights. The improved logistics for lines in Autographing and bringing the ABA Lounge to the BEA show floor all proved to make BEA easier and more productive. Even the WiFi and air conditioning performed fantastically!!

(Note: Yes, the air conditioning worked fine, but the wi-fi didn't... and Javits is an ATT cell-phone dead zone... which everyone bitched about.)

As I said, this was a good show, but Reed always puts on a good show (we've covered many of them.) BEA deserves to be attended by the industry and the media. I don't think there is much more that Reed can do to improve an already good show for its exhibitors... but they surely have some work to do in repairing a lot of hurt-feelings with many of the media people who have covered the show for years and who were denied entry this year.

There were so many other books, publishers, and items that I wanted to include, but I only have so much space... and the deadline is close for me to file this. Here are some of the items I just don't have the time or space for, but other media who read (I'm told that this rant is seen by 35,000 publishers) this might find some good stories from these exhibitors (in no particular order:)

Bowker's Self Published Author Program
You Don't Have To Hurt Anymore
Starbrite Kids
Seeking Samiel
AUM, The Melody of Love
Stonehenge Designs
O'Reilly Media
DK Publishing
My Name is Leona
Anthology Systems
Jo-An Pictures
Peak Books
Fun Stitch Studio
Mighty Bright Lux Lighting
Pub Tech / Trilogy Systems
Plaid Squirrel
Don't Buy That Health Insurance
The Work Book
The Videographers Guide
Bestseller in A Weekend
Story Sticker

* * *

For past editions of the BEA Diary:

* * *

You may share the link to this piece or reprint any part of it without prior permission so long as you use the following attribution:

Alan N. Canton, Managing Partner
New Media Website Design
"Websites for authors, publishers, and small businesses at an affordable price"
Fair Oaks, CA   916-962-9296

* * *

If you wish to comment, or criticize, or if you have a correction/addition please send it to Al Canton:

bea-diary at adams-blake dot com