This was my first day at BEA instead of the Publishing University seminar series. I expected your basic gloom and doom, but was again pleasantly surprised by the positive energy.
One innovation is the Blog Signing sponsored by the people who brought you Net Galleys. I was able to attend the blog signing of Kassia Krozier of Booksquare. I promised to tell you that she does indeed have a glowing smile. It’s always fun to meet someone in person that you’ve been reading on-line for a while.
The Espresso Book Machine was in operation on the floor. It’s an interesting gadget, but I still think it’s a so-so solution to a problem we won’t have for much longer. And their numbers still don’t work for most of the situations being bruited about — in my never humble opinion. That much vaunted 1 cent per page cost doesn’t include labor (non-trivial) or worse, the amortization of the $90,000 required to pay for the machine. There may be other charges that aren’t included, too.
I just don’t see this as something that’s going to beat the prices of LSI and the other digital printers, and I don’t see customers being willing to stand around that long to get their books printed.
As for news, well, I attended the BISG Trends event. It was informative (as it always is). I’m sure you’ve heard by now that sales for the industry are up by 1%, but that trade sales are down by 4. But, since adult and juvenile trade sales were only about 36% of the total, the solid years turned in by other segments overwhelmed that bad performance.
Outsell and BISG are actively recruiting small presses for their survey next year. I urge all of you to sign up for it at the BISG site. I doubt that there’s a link, but send an email to their contact address. (Consider also downloading a copy of the slides from the presentation next week. There more than a few interesting numbers.)
On a less important note, I also saw a Cool-er at their booth, and it is indeed lighter, but the controls aren’t as intuitive for me as the Kindle. I’m not in love.
The number of galleys given away seemed to be much smaller than last year, and very muc smaller than prior years. And the floor was a lot smaller. I don’t know if that was a blip, or a sign of things to come, but it saddened me.
Oh, and last but not least, I found the stage where I’m speaking tomorrow. It’s at the edge of the main floor, on the 34th Street side. The African Pavilion and the Indie Press section share it. The whole speaker series is being arranged by Victoria Sutherland (of Foreword, etc.) and Leah Schnelbach of the NY Center for Independent Publishing.
I’ll be there at 2 pm, and the topic is Healthy Businesses in Tough Times.
If you happen to wander by, do grab a chair and tune in for a bit. I’ll try to make my topics interesting enough to woo you away from the siren calls on the floor.