BEA has released preliminary attendance figures for this year’s show. The total was 21,664 people, almost even with last year’s final tally of 21,919 people. The falloff was slightly higher among “attendees” (as distinguished from exhibitors), who numbered 13,028–a decline of 6 percent, or 844 people, from a year ago. The organizers say over 500 fewer authors were enrolled as attendees, accounting for much of that decline.
But overall, Reed’s business at Javits grew with the inclusion of BlogWorld attendees, giving them a total of 23,067 people in the building. Show director Steve Rosato writes on his blog that “the final numbers may change slightly once the registration reports are scrubbed, but these numbers are accurate to within less than a 1 percent variation.”
This year’s total provides a slightly mismatched comparison to last year, when the convention was reduced to two days of exhibits rather than three. Last year BEA gave up their dual counting system, in which they noted both total registrations and the number of people they could “verify” as actual attendees, in favor of a single tally of those who showed up. (The verified counts were always many thousands lower than the numbers of registrants.) Show organizers have also worked to focus on a smaller pool of the kind of attendees exhibitors are interested in addressing (primarily booksellers and librarians, along with true industry professionals). At the same time, BEA also stopped breaking out the total number of “book buyers” as of last year.
Speaking of BEA, we’ve added Jeff Eugenides breakfast speech to the home page at PM, following yesterday’s exclusive First Look review at his new book.