Thursday, November 12, 2009

What Do You Think of This?

Yesterday, I did a What Would You Do? post. Today, it’s a What Do You Think of This? post.

Richard Nash, founder of Cursor, chastises publishers in a Huffington Post article. First off, he’s not happy that Book Expo America, “the largest book convention in the US,” changed its days from Friday - Sunday to Tuesday - Thursday. What bothers him more than the day changes is that BEA cut the expected opening night party and, to make things worse, the show will not be open to the public, as is done in other book festivals and events. He feels it shows a lack of caring about the fans.
Books was once a business where publishers sold to booksellers, and booksellers sold to readers. So BEA was an event where publishers sold to booksellers. But with the chains not needing an event to meet everyone, since everyone beats a path to their door, and with the explosion in the number of books available means that publishers need to motivate readers to read their books, and not take for granted they'll walk into bookstores and buy, the event needs to be about exciting readers/customers, not hustling the retailers.
He doesn’t put the blame on the organizers of BEA, but on publishers:
By reducing their participation in BEA at the same time the media participation has increased by almost 50%, by refusing to open the Fair to the readers …, these CEOs have effectively thrown in the towel. They are managing the demise of the book business, pointing fingers at any generic social forces they can find, failing to see the one place the responsibility can be found, their own damn offices.
So, what do you think? Should BEA be open at least one day for book readers and fans to come in? Is Nash right when he says to publishers, “That pain in our foot? It's not outsiders stomping on it, it's us, shooting ourselves.”
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24 comments:

  1. I think BEA should be doing everything they can to encouragement readership, but it sounds like they are doing the opposite.

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  2. I'm with Jane. Why miss a business opportunity?

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  3. Hmm, a book convention and no readers... duh! I guess they can sell to each other!
    Christine Verstraete
    Searching for a Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery

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  4. Chris said it for me - complete with the 'duh.'

    The public *is* the readership!

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  5. Definitely should be open to readers and fans. Doing otherwise makes them seem aloof, isolating themselves from their market. The more exposure, the more people, the more buzz they can generate, the better.

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  6. The readers should be a part of the event otherwise what is the point. If this is a business minded, money making investment it seems someone dropped the ball.

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  7. Ditto to everything everyone else has already said. Seems stupid.
    karen

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  8. Well for once I seem to be siding with the majority here - what they said.

    Marvin D Wilson

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  9. The day is young, but so far we are all in agreement. Scary.

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  10. I can see cost-cutting in choosing weekdays (airfares cheaper, no overtime at convention center) and ditching the big opening party to save $$. But I don't get making the BEA a trade show. Just don't see the return on that. Pretty much cutting off nose to spite...

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  12. I'm adding my voice to the rest; no readers? This just strikes me as incredibly short-sighted. Why would they want to isolate themselves from their consumers?

    Elspeth

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  13. Agreed. Very stupid. File this one under, "When Smart People Turn Stupid."

    Stephen Tremp

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  14. I can't believe that the event is not going to be open to readers and fans. Without them - and the writers who produce product - there would be no publishing industry. When are the folks who make these disastrous decisions going to get that?

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  15. I agree with this fellow 100%. Not letting BEA be open to the public is weird, to say the least. It's almost like saying we don't need the consumers, which certainly is NOT the impression the publishing industry should give!

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  17. Who is organizing BEA? Attilla the Hun? Of course there should be at least one day for public participation.

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  18. Jean, you made me laugh with the Attila the Hun comment!

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