BookExpo 2017: Shifting Sands in the Publishing World

There were some noticeable changes in the publishing industry that were in full-view this past week at BookExpo 2017, the largest publishing conference in the US held in New York City from June 1-2. New York has been the traditional home of this annual event whose name through the years has evolved from American Bookseller… [Read More]

BookExpo 2017 shifts in publishing world by Robin Cutler for BookWorks.com

There were some noticeable changes in the publishing industry that were in full-view this past week at BookExpo 2017, the largest publishing conference in the US held in New York City from June 1-2. New York has been the traditional home of this annual event whose name through the years has evolved from American Bookseller Association (ABA) conference to BookExpo America to now just BookExpo. The shortened name coincides with the truncating of the number of days when business between industry professionals (booksellers, librarians, publishers, distributors, service providers and authors) is conducted (from 4 days decades ago to 3 in subsequent years to only 2 days this year.)

No Welcome Mat for Indies at BookExpo 2017

BookExpo 2017 shifts in publishing world by Robin Cutler for BookWorks.comThis seems a conference in decline from a reported 20,000 attendees in 2015 to a mere 7,500 people this year. What was especially noticeable at BookExpo 2017 was the obvious shift away from the limited programming that BookExpo did in the past related to indie authors and self-publishers. To refocus BookExpo back to traditional publishing, the indies had to go.

Indies Shunted to BookConBookExpo 2017 shifts in publishing by Robin Cutler for BookWorks.com

Prior to the event, there was some outcry from author associations on behalf of indies for this obvious slight. Author tickets to BookExpo 2017 were very expensive compared to publishers and booksellers. Instead, indie authors were encouraged to take part in BookCon which is a ComicCon-type show geared toward fan fiction and young adult content that runs for two days following BookExpo. BookCon’s estimated attendance was a remarkable 20,000 people most of whom were in the under 20 demographic and stood in long lines waiting to see their favorite authors like Margaret Atwood, Cassandra Clare, Leigh Bardugo, Marissa Meyer, Sarah Dessen, and Rainbow Rowell. The crowds rallied around these traditionally published authors with many of their publishers giving away their books. Some indie publishers did report that they successfully sold copies for the first time, which was a good way to offset the huge exhibit expenses. Hopefully, this trend to sell rather than give away books will take hold next year.

Young Readers Flocked to BookConBookExpo 2017 shifts in publishing by Robin Cutler for BookWorks.com

As an exhibitor and speaker at both BookExpo 2017 and BookCon, I must say I was inspired to witness the energy and passion of the hordes of young readers packing the aisles at BookCon. But as a publishing professional who has attended BookExpo for several decades, it was disheartening to see the obvious shrinking of the largest B2B publishing event in the US. I believe that a factor in the decline is that even though self-publishing is on the rise these shows haven’t cracked how to fit indies into either show. Because of this, I recommend that either BookExpo or BookCon think about offering educational programs for indie authors and small publishers, not as sideline seminars, but as part of the main event. There are plenty of indie authors who can draw crowds.

The Authors Guild Honors a Self-Publishing Platform

Another shift in the publishing universe happened on May 24, 2017, when the 105-year Authors Guild, an advocacy organization representing some 9,000 member authors bestowed its “Distinguished Service Award” to legendary and iconic authors Toni Morrison, James Patterson and to the self-publishing platform IngramSpark. This represented the first time that the organization steeped in traditional publishing had recognized any vendor much less one that serves indie authors and publishers. As Porter Anderson, editor-in-chief reported in Publishing Perspectives: “The award to Ingram Content Group’s four-year-old IngramSpark self-publishing platform stands out in a different context, a sign of a new era’s maturity in the guild and in the writerly community it serves.”

BookExpo 2017 shifts in publishing by Robin Cutler for BookWorks.com

Photo of Robin Cutler courtesy of Beowulf Sheehan

Obviously, this was a huge honor for myself and the team at IngramSpark. But I think, the award is an acknowledgment that self-publishing and indie authorship is a respectable and smart choice for many in bringing their books to readers and to the marketplace. And as I said in my acceptance speech when accepting the award: “We're happy to play a role in the continued growth of the self-publishing industry and to see it thriving."

To read Porter’s full article, go to https://publishingperspectives.com/2017/05/authors-guild-morrison-patterson-ingramspark-awards/


If you haven't seen the new version of BookWorks, please check us out for more great content like this and join our community of indie authors, editors, coaches, designers, marketers, bloggers and other self-publishing pros.


One thought on “BookExpo 2017: Shifting Sands in the Publishing World”

  1. I publish via Ingram’s Lightning Source, and like to recommend the less publisher-oriented IngramSpark to authors. I recently suggested it to an Australia author who was realizing that he needs to source his books in more channels than CreateSpace offers. There are retailers, I told him, who won’t sell books that are only available on CreateSpace simply because it’s Amazon.

    Years ago, when I did tech writing for Boeing, I was told that the company had a well-established policy of having its employees fly commercial and shipping packages via companies such as UPS. Boeing could have had its own internal fleet of aircraft to do that more cheaply, but chose not to compete with those who are its customers. That is good business.

    Not playing by those rules is one Amazon’s core problems. It has no sense of limits. It ruthlessly enters every bit of business space possible, trying to be both retailer and publisher, and somehow thinks its sheer size will protect it. The Greeks called that Hubris and warned that it was a precursor to disaster.
    —–
    Hubris (/ˈhjuːbrɪs/, also hybris, from ancient Greek ὕβρις) describes a personality quality of extreme or foolish pride or dangerous overconfidence. In its ancient Greek context, it typically describes behavior that defies the norms of behavior or challenges the gods, and which in turn brings about the downfall, or nemesis, of the perpetrator of hubris.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubris
    —–
    Some might want to read the rest of the article, particularly if they work for Amazon.

    –Michael W. Perry, Inkling Books

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please prove you are not a SPAM robot by answering the simple question below: *

 

Get Connnected From The BW Author Community


Our Partners

Partner