Thursday, May 27, 2010

BookExpo 2010: From the Floor

BookExpo America -- Mecca for the North American book business -- is happening now in New York City. Usually a massive, three-day weekend affair of parties, galleys and schmoozing, this year’s show is toned down a bit to two days during the week. Instead of occupying two full floors at Jacob Javits Center, the whole show takes place in one very big room and several meeting rooms. It’s still a significant amount of space, however, commanding between 175,000 to 200,000 square feet.

Nor are there empty spaces where you’d expect authors to be. In fact, there has been no apparent reduction in the number of authors on-hand for book signings. It’s anticipated that around 1000 authors and 1500 exhibitors will be on hand to be seen by the 20,000 to 30,000 attendees the BEA expects will attend the event.

The star power hasn’t diminished either. On the first day I spotted James Patterson, Scott Turow and Rock Riordan, and Tuesday night’s keynote was a live interview with Barbra Streisand, who has a book -- her first -- coming from Viking in the fall. Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney is among those due on Thursday.

It’s too soon to be able to point to any one book that everyone was buzzing about. At least, if there was any buzzing of this sort, I didn’t hear it.

The exhibit floor seemed, for the most part, less crowded than usual -- the exception being those who were giving away a lot of galleys -- but the exhibitors I spoke with said the traffic was good and that they were having a successful show.

The big question: What does the future of book publishing look like? Will books be printed on paper and bound into hard covers, or will they be printed in pixels and downloaded onto e-readers? Probably a lot of both, from the look of things.

More tomorrow.

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