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BookExpo (and BookCon) 2017: Trade Show Recap

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This year’s BookExpo (changed from Book Expo America this year) was once again back in New York City. We loved having it in our home city of Chicago last year, but our staff was excited to get out to the east coast again for a very full four days of BookExpo and BookCon. Here, our staff members share their main takeaways from “the biggest week in publishing.”

What was your primary objective for attending BookExpo 2017?

Richard T. Williams, Director, Publisher Development: IPG has a significant place in the industry and I attended to represent and enforce that. I met with publisher clients, both present and future.

Lauren Klouda, Marketing Manager, Print & Digital:  My main objective was to spend time with current and potential partners and clients. BookExpo is a buzzing event and the energy is contagious. There’s a real camaraderie you can feel throughout the two days; a chance to see old friends and connect with new ones. For me, the main area of focus was market research. What are the latest trends and what are the next big ones? How are consumers discovering new books to read and what’s got them most excited?

Larry Norton, INscribe Digital EVP: Our primary objectives were a) meet with current clients to review their business, share best practices and talk about new marketing offerings b) meet with prospective clients as we try to build our businesses c) meet with key retailers to review our business and discuss key sales opportunities and d) meet with possible partners, be they marketing, production or printing partners, as we work to augment the services we offer our clients.

Alli Davis, INscribe Digital Client Services Representative: This was my first BookExpo so I was very much looking forward to seeing how the industry gathers and sit in on a couple panels to see the industry thought leaders. I’ve also  been with INscribe for nearly four years and was super excited to finally meet all the wonderful people I’ve been working with remotely, the publishers and other IPG employees both! Putting a face to a name really made everything so much more personal.

Mindi Rowland, National Accounts Manager: My main goal was to meet with buyers and get face time in. This was the goal for many of the IPG staff, as everyone seemed to be in a constant stream of meetings.

How was this year’s show different from others you’ve been to in the past?

Jeff Palicki, VP of Marketing: The show audience was redefined by show management, which led to a right-sized and targeted attendee pool. Our booth was busy throughout; but you could feel the difference in the attendee hall.

Kelly Peterson, INscribe Digital Client Services Director: The show last year wasn’t well attended by the big publishers, so I expected a strong presence – and I was a little surprised at how small it felt this year. There is more and more a feel that this is two separate cons – Book Con and Book Expo – and that kept away some of the strong librarian and bookseller participation.

Aaron Howe, Trade Sales Manager: BookExpo was similar in nature to when it was hosted in Chicago, however, BookCon was much livelier. This year we put an emphasis on selling products to consumers versus giveaways—which was successful. Consumers in New York were happy to purchase products and they were expecting to.

What was the show’s biggest success, in your opinion?

Mary Kravenas, Marketing Manager, Chicago Review Press: Our biggest success was the Braid Bar for CRP, and the free swag we gave away—Catwoman buttons, Pirate Women tattoos, Women of Action badge flags. I chose those items specifically because I knew they’d resonate with the audience for BookExpo and BookCon, and they did. It was so immensely satisfying to hear from attendees that they were familiar with Pirate Women because of the media attention it has received, or that this was exactly the book they were looking for.

Gabe Cohen, Mass Market Sales Representative: There were many success’s. I will encourage each and every publisher we have to do posters or bookmarks (both) for their A list titles or the one A+ title they have for the coming season. The giveaways for BookCon goers were gone in a minute. The posters for Wakem didn’t last past Day 1 with the majority gone before 1030. The remainder were gone shortly after I had a chance to roll them around lunch. The bookmarks were mostly gone for Wakem in Day 1 with a small bundle that was saved for Day 2.

Richard T. Williams, Director, Publisher Development: In its leaner and meaner format, the show felt less sprawling and more effective.

Kelly Peterson, INscribe Digital Client Services Director: Other than my presentation on How Keywords Can Make You Rich? No, I’m kidding! (It was fun, though…check out the slides on Slideshare!) I thought the chance to work side by side with my IPG cohorts was amazing. I loved meeting retailers together with Mallori and Lauren; I thought that was great, and offered new potential roads. We also had a lot of good feedback for our book Wolves & Roses by Christina Bauer, coming out 10/31…I’m predicting a hit!

Jeff Palicki, VP of Marketing: There were many significant high-level meetings on Thursday and Friday during BookCon and the book signings were well-attended and appreciated by the authors. Hands down though, the braiding station was the hit of the booth both days of the con. I also thought the book covers displayed throughout the booth were well done and drew people’s attention.

What would you like to see differently next year, either on the part of BookExpo or of IPG/CRP/INscribe?

Aaron Howe, Trade Sales Manager: I would like to further IPG publisher participation next year. I think there are creative ways our publishers can market their titles throughout the week and it should be taken advantage of—I think it’s worth the investment.

Lauren Klouda, Marketing Manager, Print & Digital: I definitely want to look to planning our space and incorporating our publishers that much more in next year’s presence. I am also looking forward to working with BookExpo’s planners to hear their numbers, feedback, and stats.

Gabe Cohen, Mass Market Sales Representative: There were many success’s. I will encourage each and every publisher we have to do posters or bookmarks (both) for their A list titles or the one A+ title they have for the coming season. The giveaways for BookCon goers were gone in a minute. The posters for Wakem didn’t last past Day 1 with the majority gone before 1030. The remainder were gone shortly after I had a chance to roll them around lunch. The bookmarks were mostly gone for Wakem in Day 1 with a small bundle that was saved for Day 2.

What was your main takeaway?

Lauren Klouda, Marketing Manager, Print & Digital: So many ideas for next year! I know the team might not quite be ready to hear the words BookExpo 2018 just yet, but I know last week and weekend were a really positive and invigorating book world experience that’s infectious. I’m really excited and proud to be part of our dynamic, talented, and *creative* IPG team.

Jeff Palicki, VP of Marketing:  The industry is changing right before our eyes, and what was once one show is now two. Both need each other to survive. IPG and our publisher’s place in the broader environment will also continue to evolve.

Kelly Peterson, INscribe Digital Client Services Director: 2017-2018 will be the year of the digital audiobook. And discovery tools that work. You heard it here!

CRP Inline Section 1803Mindi Rowland, National Accounts Manager: Personally it was good to be in attendance again! I was proud to be there with my colleagues and impressed with Cynthia’s amazing job at keeping it all organized.

Richard T. Williams, Director, Publisher Development: IPG continues to have a unique position in the industry and it’s important for us to be present. No other booth at BookExpo was quite like ours; certainly none of our direct competitors had much to show.

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