In preparing the BEA issue of Publishing Trends for May 2011, I interviewed Steve Rosato, Event Director of BookExpo America. Much of what we talked about in detail were recent changes to the event that would be of most interest to people who’ve been attending for many years–people who also have multiple London and Frankfurt Book Fairs on their passports. At the end of our discussion, though, Rosato spoke to some key ways a young professional (who probably doesn’t have any big deals or sells to make) can still get great value out of attending BEA.
- Once you’re inside the business, the growth and value that come from serendipitous meetings on the exhibition floor is hard to over-estimate. Just listening to the way in which seasoned professionals interact with each other, and planting the seeds of business and new ideas is an experience one can’t replace.
- Even at events this size, things can happen unexpectedly and at the last minute. On a whim a few years ago, Random House decided to send Sonny Mehta out with Joan Didion, who was promoting The Year of Magical Thinking. It wasn’t supposed to a huge book, but the people drawn by Mehta’s presence were the people who made Magical Thinking explode.
- One concrete benefit is that BEA has gotten rid of the extra charge to exhibitors for attending program sessions: Don’t just watch and learn on the floor—take in direct education by attending as many of the sessions and events as you can!