D&Q’s Peggy Burns posts a different view of BEA while explaining why they DIDN’T attend. The money spent on a booth could be better spent elsewhere (like on an ad in this week’s Fiction issue of The New Yorker.) Burns also seems to be firmly in the “moving towards a consumer show” camp:
A few years ago, my mother met me in Washington DC while I attended BEA. An avid book club devotee and voracious reader, she was floored and even a little bit peeved that here is a huge event with all of the authors she loved, countless new authors she could discover and she had never heard of or known of BEA, and wasn’t even allowed in, as a general customer. Or as she said a book club member. She’s got a point. If BEA did regional consumer book fairs like they are doing with Comicons, they would be reaching the very element left out of BEA…the customer. It may make BEA marketing dollars vital again, in helping publishers not just reach accounts, but actual customers. Similar to the growing strength of regional comic books shows or the crowds who show up to PEN,IFOA and the New Yorker Festival, this may be the future of books shows.
Above: Dan Clowes’s cover for this week’s New Yorker.