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Sure, lots of people are silently panicking over preregistration for ComicCon International, and most haven’t even thought about what to do for Thanksgiving (I’ll be in Vienna!).

Some haven’t even thought about C2E2, the younger sibling to ReedPOP’s New York Comic Con, tickets for which went on sale last September. That show, which drew 70,000 attendees last year, is scheduled for March 18 – 20, 2016.

But, there will be another ReedPOP show in Chicago! In May! And tickets go on sale tomorrow!
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In its third year, BookCon is the consumer show which immediately follows the annual BookExpo America trade show. Anchored for years in New York, this year BEA/BC heads to Chicago!

Both BEA and BookCon will be held in the West Building of McCormick Place, site of the 2013 C2E2.

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While it may look smaller than Hall 3 at Javits, McCormick’s Hall F has 470,000 sq.ft. of space, while Javits only offers 410K. Hall F1 (198K sqft) will host BookCon on Saturday.

So, what’s BookCon? Well, it’s basically what it says… a pop-culture convention aimed at booklovers of all stripes and persuasions! Think “science fiction convention”, then add comics, romance, mystery, kids, a few celebrities…! It’s not really that strange a concept… the Frankfurt Book Fair has offered consumer days for decades, as have many other publishing trade shows around the world. It’s a no-brainer…the publishers are already set up for the trade show, so why not advertise new books to eager readers after you’ve advertised them to booksellers?

It’s also a way for Reed Exhibitions to bolster stagnant attendance figures at Book Expo.

What are those numbers? Steven Rosato, BEA Event Director, reported the figures last June:

Below are a few of the high level wins:

  • The Global Market Forum program featuring China was successful beyond all measure and plans. The conference sessions were full and there was an incredible amount of meaningful interaction between U.S. and Chinese publishers not only in the Javits but also at a multitude of cultural events throughout NYC. BEA laid a foundation for the industry that will be productive for years to come.
  • The new two and half day format unfolded exactly as needed.  Wednesday was buzzy with full sessions, the BEA Bloggers Conference set an attendance record, the APA conference sold out and Jonathan Franzen took the stage for sneak peek of PURITY, the Fall’s most hotly anticipated title while the opening of the show floor still saw long lines waiting to get in.  Not everyone was thrilled, likely measuring against a standard opening of BEA, but walking the show floor at 4:30 on Wednesday, I saw almost all booths busy with meetings, loads of booksellers/attendees, lines in autographing and a really busy exhibit hall.
  • The bigger win was BEA was hectic right until 5:00 on Friday – making for two and half  energized and robust days dedicated to the trade.
  • The Remainders section remains resilient – see this review for more details:
  • BookCon – attendance grew by 80% and saw the Special Events Hall draw crowds of 2,000+ all day Saturday. The Show Floor aisles had strong traffic and the revamped Autographing area was packed.
  • People sold books, lots of books at BookCon – especially at the bookstore run by Word.  It was actually too good, we did not anticipate the crush of business to start on Saturday. This created some long lines and not the best experience for fans, but it was fixed for the opening of Sunday which ran a lot smoother.
  • The best story I saw was Cider Mill Press, talking with Publisher John Whalen, in a mere 10×10 and not boasting name brand authors like John Green (just a lot of great books) sold over $2,000.00 worth of books

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ATTENDANCE FIGURES 

  • Total Verified Professional Attendance for BEA 2015 only: 10,832 = -1.2%
  • Total Industry Professionals 2015 = 20,895 = +5.2%
  • BookCon 2015 = 18,000 = +80%
  • Total Verified Professional Attendance for BEA 2014 only: 10,965 
  • Total Industry Professionals 2014 = 19,860 
  • BookCon 2014 = 10,000

Now, it should be noted that BookCon ran for two days in 2015, while 2014 was one day. It should also be noted that there was no weekend pass… if you wanted to attend both days, you had to buy two passes. I attended all five days last year, and the two days of BookCon were fun and not too hectic. (If you’ve attended NYCC, imagine Hall 3D and 3E with booths, and 10,000 attendees walking around.)

Who will be there next year? Major sponsors have already been announced (the usual suspects), and looking at the show planner, there are many large booths already reserved.  Like last year, it looks like the meeting rooms for the Big Five publishers will be converted into event spaces like last year, which is a good thing!

Diamond Book Distributors will once again have a large presence, taking up both sides of an aisle. Boom! will be located next to their distributor, Simon & Schuster. Papercutz/NBM will be near Macmillan, which has a growing catalog of graphic novel titles! Penguin Random House Publisher Services will be there, so here’s hoping they’ll feature some of their comics clients like DC, Archie, Dark Horse, Vertical, Kodansha…  Of course, lots of mainstream publishers are offering graphic novels, some which don’t attend comic cons. There’s also the geekier publishers, like Quirk, which do show up at NYCC, so there should be lots to discover!

A few guests have been announced, but no events, which is to be expected this early in the lifecycle.

What do the tickets cost?

VIP: $100

BookCon VIP Package Includes:

  • VIP Badge with exclusive artwork that acts as a Ticket into the Show
  • First access and separate queue onto the Show Floor
    • This is not early access. You will be the first on the Show Floor but you will not be let in early.
  • First access and separate queue for the Panels in the Special Events Hall
    • We will be clearing the Special Events Hall after each Panel and each Panel in the Special Events Hall will require a Panel-specific wristband for non-VIPs. BookCon VIPs will be the first people let in for each Panel in the Special Events Hall and will have their own private line. VIPs will not need a wristband, but MUST arrive at least 20 minutes prior to the start of any Special Events Hall Panel. VIPs will be let into the room first and have first choice of seats.
  • Re-usable BookCon shopping bag with books from our Publishing Partners
  • 15% discount on all Official BookCon items at the ReedPOP Supply Co. Store on the Show Floor

Adults: $30

Kids ages 6-12: $5

If you’re nearby, I recommend the show! BookExpo America was the reason I was excited when Reed first announced New York Comic Con. Add ReedPOP’s expertise to BookCon, and the show will be well run with a diverse schedule of events. Who knows, you might discover something new!


 

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