The "Big Book" of BEA

As the AP covered this morning, Publishers Lunch has launched what is truly the "big book" of this year's BEA: a free ebook that presents over 30 meaty excerpts from books that will be featured at the convention and highly-touted fall releases of all kinds.

Before you see (or watch the video stream) of BEA marquee speakers Junot Diaz, Barbara Kingsolver, JR Moehringer and Neil Young, you can read samples from their books. We have official Buzz Panel book Shani Boianjiu's The People of Forever Are Not Afraid, along with more promising debut novelists than fit on any panel (including works from Amanda Coplin, Peter Heller, Scott Hutchins, Kevin Powers, M.L. Stedman, and others). There are established authors--Mark Helprin (whose In Sunlight and In Shadow is every bit as terrific as you may have heard), Rhoda Janzen, Dennis Lehane, Lawrence Norfolk--and a great line-up of big YA as well (including Libba Bray, Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian, Jessica Khoury, David Levithan, Sarah Maas, Ned Vizzini, and others).

This exciting new experiment is our answer to the BEA discovery problem--now attendees can arrive at the convention having already sampled dozens of the most promoted books--as well as a contribution to improving general consumer discovery.

Most Publishers Lunch readers will want to download what we're calling the "trade edition," BEA BUZZ BOOKS. You can get it by visiting publun.ch/BEABuzz, where you can download an epub file directly from us, obtain it in Kindle format through a special arrangement with Amazon, or collect it from NetGalley.

The trade edition has detailed publisher rights, publicity and promotion information and contacts for each title, and lets you know what kind of BEA promotion and giveaways (if any) are planned for each book. Plus, nearly all of the excerpts click through to NetGalley, where registered users can either download the full digital galley or request it from the publisher.

Meanwhile, as BEA begins to welcome passionate readers/consumers to the convention, we're using the ebook as a way of letting book-lovers everywhere in on the same pre-publication privileges and excitement that people in the trade are accustomed to. So a "consumer version," called BUZZ BOOKS 2012 (ISBN: 9780985491017) is available widely, through just about every ebook platform and store. It omits the trade and BEA-related info that isn't relevant to general readers but keeps all the excerpts, and adds click-throughs to pre-order from the three major stores with that capability. A general index/landing page is at publun.ch/BuzzBooks2012, or you can direct readers (and customers) to their preferred platform for download.

More Details
It takes a village--or a whole industry--to make a book, and particularly to pull off of a concept as complicated as this one. We are fortunate to have enlisted enthusiastic partners and assistance from across publishing:

Ingram volunteered early on to serve as our digital distributor for all versions (including the direct epub download from PM), and provided a full team of people from Core Source and throughout the company to help at every step. eBook Architects ensured that we had high-quality ebook files and built the seven different versions of our files required.

The project would not have been possible without the support and faith of over 15 publishers and the authors and agents whose work is presented in the ebook.

The Amazon Kindle team was particularly helpful, especially in making it possible to provide the "trade version" in their format without confusing their regular customers, who will be happier with the "consumer" version--and we also received special assistance from Apple's iBookstore, Google eBooks and Sony Reader. OverDrive is working with us now to make the free ebook available to libraries across the country (alongside Ingram's MyiLibrary distribution).

NetGalley was another enthusiastic supporter of our vision from the start, and Edelweiss joined us later to make sure their community can access the ebook through their system and Books@BEA site. And the ABA is among those joining our promotional efforts. Many were involved on the PM side, but a special thanks goes to our wonderful (freelance) project manager, Robin Dellabough.