Skip to Content

New York welcomes upbeat BookExpo 2013

3 June 2013

This weekend New York has been the destination of thousands of booksellers, publishers and others involved with books, as they participate in the annual Americna Booksellers' Association BookExpo. Second only internationally to the Frankfurt Book FairWorld's largest trade fair for books; held annually mid-October at Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany; First three days exclusively for trade visitors; general public can attend last two. in terms of size, the convention had 190 new exhibitors this year and seems to be upbeat about prospects in the book world. Perhaps this optimism is due the American economy visibly beginning to recover, even if the recovery is patchy, but there's also a feeling that things have calmed down a little in the publishing industry and the pace of change is not quite so fast.

Digital was still a major topic of conversation. Mike Shatzkin, the powerful futurist who blogs at the Idea Logical Company, said that: ‘The years of spectacular share growth for e-books are over. The rise will be steady for a long time, but it won't be explosive.' The digital presence has increased steadily and a record 80 e-companies were expected this year.

But there will also be the so-called ‘power readers', members of the public who love books, and this year their number is expected to increase to 2,000 from last year's figure of 500.

Booksellers too seem to be putting in more of an appearance. American Booksellers Association member stores have increased for the fourth straight year to 1,632, a gain of 65 from a year ago. The feeling seems to be that a while ago booksellers who weren't doing very well were closing down completely, whereas they are now tending to be acquired by someone else who wants to run a bookstore, and are carrying on.

One of the most notable trends of recent years has been the extent to which self-publishing authors are coming to BookExpo. Previously not very welcome at a show which started out as the place where American publishers could show their autumn lists to booksellers, the convention has been invaded by self-publishers, who not surprisingly find that there's much to interest them there. If you are publishing yourself, you need to find out as much about the business as you can.

Although quality is still criticised, it's recognised in the publishing world that successful self-published authors are worth taking on, because they have already proved themselves and built a market. So that's why authors who are self-publishing may find book fairs particularly useful - a valuable way of learning about the book market for yourself.

International Book Fairs 2013