BEA show director responds to some of the chatter (and complaints) about the recently-announced decision to keep BEA in New York and change to a mid-week rather than a weekend show. “This fall we went through a process of recreating the event as if there never had been a BEA before… The location seemed like an easy choice, you’d base it in the capital of the publishing world, just like the biggest gaming show is in Vegas and the auto show is in Detroit.”
As for dates, “after booksellers, the majority of attendees are professionals and they are not typically working on a Saturday or a Sunday, hence why Friday is always the busiest day. So it seemed clear that the major book business event should be based in NYC and held during the business week.”
He says these changes are just part of their plan for remaking the show, and notes–in a diplomatic way, that with fewer booksellers attending (representing an ever-smaller share of the market for books), using BEA to generate major media becomes an even greater priority.
Change is hard and it doesn’t take much to stir complaints. (When people stop caring enough to complain, the game is over.) Fensterman has realized that, for better or for worse, BEA has to lead–somewhere, anywhere–or else it will surely whither. “The truth is our market is changing
and I want to help lead that change and help all of our customers to do
better business, not be an albatross that has outlived it’s time. In
order to accomplish that, we need to make some bold changes, just as
our market is experiencing bold changes. These changes will not always
be the right decisions and the will not always be the popular
decisions, but with your help and input our community will continue to
have a vibrant marketplace where we gather to showcase the best of what
we do and it will help raise the book in our culture at large thus help
There are a lot of ideas out there, and we know that BEA has created various advisory groups and other methods to consult with the community. We’re throwing this open to community comments. Please post your ideas and feedback below.