Publishers Weekly’s Show Daily is produced each day during the 2011 BookExpo in New York. The Show Daily press office is in room 1C02. PW’s booth is #4234.
A L L T H E B U Z Z O N B O O K E X P O A M E R I C A
Book Industry Crowds Are Upbeat By Rachel Deahl
With an industry becoming more comfortable with e-books, and the recession no longer such an issue, an upbeat tenor returned to the aisles for the kickoff of BEA 2011. Since many had already attended panels and sessions over the past few days, the lines for badges were reasonable and the Javits layout familiar. There were still lingering complaints about airconditioning, Wi-Fi, and construction inside Javits, but overwhelmingly book publishing professionals thought BEA got off to a great start. The consensus was that traffic was strong and that excitement about e-books buoyed the mood.
Ben White, a sales rep for Macmillan, said he thought this year’s show was higher energy than last year’s and that the interest in e-books and new technology has brought “more buzz around the industry.” Although Macmillan’s biggest book of the fall, Jeffrey Eugenides’s much anticipated novel, The Marriage Plot, was not available—White said galleys are not quite ready—it didn’t decrease traffic around the FSG booth in the Macmillan aisle.
Several publishing folks commented that the booksellers they encountered were upbeat if “not ebullient,” as Little, Brown publisher Michael Pietsch put it, and the booksellers seemed happy to be in New York. “I’m surrounded by just the people I want to be surrounded by. Everyone has a sense of connection with what they do,” said Valerie Lewis, co-owner of Hicklebee’s Children’s Books in San Jose, Calif. Another bookseller, Jennifer Seigle, who works at Borders in York, Pa.,
noted that although her trip to BEA will not affect her buying decisions, she appreciated the chance to meet authors, since she can then pass along “what they said about their book.”
Karen Walsh at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, who was “pleasantly surprised” by first-day attendance, said she’s taken more bookseller appointments about author events this year over last year, which she found encouraging. Booksellers move “a lot of books and tie them in with school visits,” she added. This was also the first year she noticed an immediate effect from the speed dating panel in terms of galley requests in the booth.
Pietsch, who had sung the praises of Chad
Harbach’s The Art of Fielding at Monday afternoon’s Editors Buzz Panel, said he was particularly excited to see how many women had shown up to get their galley signed by the first-time author, given that the book is, at least on the surface, about baseball. Noting that Hachette is having a particularly good run on the bestseller lists at the moment—among oth-
ers there is Tina Fey’s Bossypants, Michael Connelly’s The Fifth Witness, and Lawrence Block’s latest, A Drop of the Hard Stuff—Pietsch said continued on page 4
Teicher in Town Hall
By Judith Rosen
American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher broke with tradition at this year’s annual meeting. Rather than report on association activities during the past year, he addressed the elephant in the Javits Center, e-books and the turmoil that bricks-and-mortar booksellers are feeling. “As I hardly need to remind everyone here, these are not normal times in the book business. We are living through a period of unprecedented change and staggering challenges. It can no longer be business as usual,” he said.
Teicher noted that the slide in the number of indie bookstores has halted, with more than 400 new stores opening since 2005, and that bricks-and-mortar bookstores remain the essential showroom for ensuring the
ABA CEO Oren Teicher it cred photo
sale of a broad spectrum of books. Although e-books have reached a tipping point and outsold other formats for the first time in February, “ABA in no way believes that print books are going away,” he said. “Nothing can replace the physical book.”
But things must change, said Teicher, noting that industry practices go back more than half a century, predating I Love Lucy. Referring to ongoing discussions with publishers, he said that the ABA is making progress in working together to create a new, sustainable business model. As a chilling reminder of what’s at stake, he cited statistics after digitalization in the music industry, which has seen a 64% drop in sales from its peak year in 2000, and much of that loss is due to the closing of physical stores.
The bookstore’s role as showroom remains vital, although the scope has shifted outside the store’s physical walls to include staff continued on page 4