Can't Attend the Big Show? Display Your Book with Combined Book Exhibit®
Combined Book Exhibit® is one of the most widely recognized and highly respected names in the publishing community. For almost 75 years, CBE has been showcasing published works at national and international book shows and expos, becoming a dependable resource for the publishers it serves, and the librarians and educators who depend on it. Even though CBE has changed along with the industry and the market place from the days of the Depression to the hi-tech society of today, one thing has remained constant: its dedication to the philosophy behind the concept: providing publishers a means to reach potential purchasers and those potential purchasers with hands-on access to books and publications of all types. COMBINED BOOK EXHIBIT’S® reputation with publishers has helped it grow into one of the biggest—if not the biggest—exhibitor at each show it attends, while it’s reputation with educators and librarians makes it one of the busiest. CBE is showcased at most high-volume and highly active state and regional library conferences in the U.S. CBE also attends (as both an exhibit and a partner) the largest English-speaking trade fair in the U.S, BookExpo America, as well as major international venues in London, Frankfurt and Beijing. CBE displays books of almost every subject, genre, or classification and will display books from large, small, or independent publishers. Click here to download a PDF version of the catalog for the 2006 BookExpo CBE New Title Showcase display. As a marketing partner of CBE, we at Independent Publisher Online and Jenkins Group offer our readers the lowest rates available for displaying your books at 20 of the top shows CBE attends AND we waive the $125 membership fee normally required. Click here to learn about participating in the BookExpo America display. Are you currently marketing your books to the largely un-tapped Library Market? Many publishers cling to time-honored myths about the $5 billion library market, thereby depriving themselves of substantial revenue. Click on the link below to find out more about marketing to libraries.
Blast Off to BookExpo America
Plan Ahead for the Annual Book Biz BashThe upcoming BookExpo America (BEA) convention to be held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City from May 31 - June 3, 2007 is one of the largest trade shows in North America, and in the publishing world is exceeded in size only by the Frankfurt Book Fair. Now in its 106th year, BookExpo America brings together over 30,000 book buyers and sellers from around the world. If you are in any way involved in the writing, publishing, or selling of books -- BookExpo America will bring you together with your peers and help you achieve your publishing business goals.
Why Exhibit at BookExpo America?
BookExpo America is about the business of books...in all languages, in all formats and from all corners of the globe. There are numerous opportunities for advertising, publicity and promotion -- banners, flyers, sponsorships, parties, press contacts and more. Booth space starts at $1425, and numerous co-op display opportunities exist for less than $200 (Details below).
Trading Spaces: Sharing a booth
If you can’t swing booth space of your own, consider sharing with another independent author or publisher, or look into co-op space offered by associations such as PMA and SPAN, or services like Combined Book Exhibit. Even if you don’t display a book, you can learn a lot by attending the show with a day pass and walking the floor and attending events.
Will I get noticed as a small press?
Yes, small press publishers and their books will get noticed with the proper preparations and effort. Make as many plans in advance as possible. The media pre-registration list is also available before the convention and exhibitors are encouraged to target media outlets that are appropriate for their books. Over 1000 members of the media attend BEA each year! Publishers should also reach out to key independent bookstores, national chains, as well as distributors before the show to find out which personnel will be attending BEA, so they know who to look for, and who to try to set appointments with.
Some valuable advice for first-time attendees
Set reasonable expectations and goals before attending the convention. While thousands of influential people in the book industry attend BEA, they will not all be converging on any single exhibitors’ booth. Exhibitors are encouraged to be practical with who they expect to meet, and to target certain areas of their business for growth and development. Always be prepared; have your business card, book, and “elevator speech” ready. Great things can happen while waiting in line for coffee!
Trade show etiquette
A user-friendly show
While BEA still reflects the enormous diversity of the book industry, it has created programs, initiatives, and separate environments that cater to individual constituent bases, such as independent booksellers, rights professionals, etc. This has afforded both exhibitors and attendees with an opportunity to seek out colleagues in specific areas of business, while still enjoying the overall atmosphere of BEA. Educational sessions cover hot-button industry topics, and panels are made up of the industry’s top experts.
A Case Study
Blake Stevens owns and manages Collector Grade Publications in Cobourg, Ontario. The market for his firearms reference guides is limited and very specific. When he needed a vehicle to promote Collector Grade books, the answer seemed obvious -- the greatest collection of book retailers were to be found at the major book shows -- so for three years Stevens attended BookExpo America and the London and Frankfurt Book Fairs.
"The first thing to understand is that it is very expensive,” says Stevens. “You have travel, accommodations, and food, all on top of the space rental. Also, I realized early on that independent publishers at the major shows face a visibility problem. Generally we were shunted off to the periphery of the fairs. That meant a decrease in the amount of passing traffic. You really had to work at meeting people." But perseverance paid off. Contacts were made at the fairs and today, Stevens does less than 1% of his business in his homeland of Canada. The other 99% comes from the rest of the world.
Stevens went into the shows with clearly defined objectives and succeeded in meeting them. That is important because many people go into shows without a great deal of thought or experience -- a sure recipe for disaster. But with some pre-planning and some understanding of the rules of the "show" business, it doesn't have to be that way.
Trade Show Success
At BEA the publishing world comes together all in one place, so the small independent publishers are exhibiting in the same hall – and vying for attendees’ attention -- with established names like Random House and Knopf. That means smaller exhibitors have to be sure their booths are attractive and well laid-out, and that potential customers are identified BEFORE the show starts. Tell your existing and future customers that you will be at the show and where you can be found. Listing or even advertising in the show catalogue will pay dividends both during and after the show. Research has shown that visitors tend to keep the catalogue, so it provides continued exposure throughout the year.
Tips from a Trade Show Expert
Margit Weisgal runs Sextant Communications in Maryland, and is a show consultant and trainer. "When you include ALL the costs, including travel, design of the stand and the amount of material you will provide for visitors to take away, costs can quickly run up to $6,000 to $7,000 for a 10 x 10 booth. That's a lot of money. You could buy a lot of advertising for that, so it is essential to plan carefully before signing up."
Surveys point out that most show attendees turn right upon entering and keep moving in that direction until they reach the end, and then reverse and leave by the door through which they entered. That means you may get two shots at attracting a customer. What is the most common mistake exhibitors make? "Chairs," says Weisgal. "Chairs are terrible, they say to the customer, don't bother me, I don't want to talk to you." Of course exhibitors will get tired during a long day and need a break, but don't take that break at the stand -- go to the snack bar or lounge.
The most important part of planning is to understand why you are at the show. Increased visibility for your company name and advertising are useful byproducts, but are not enough to justify the expense of a show. "The only thing that makes a show worthwhile is to sell your product or meet people who will buy your service or product within the next year," says Weisgal. "On average, an individual working a stand can talk to between 7 to 15 people an hour, and that easily beats any comparison with the numbers seen by an agent making sales call. In that respect shows represent good value."
Before you can talk to those potential customers you must get them into your stand. Dr. Allen Konopacki of Chicago's Incomm Center for Research & Sales Training says an attractive stand is just one ingredient; the staff people in the booth are just as important. "A prospect's impression of an exhibit starts 20 to 30 feet before they enter the exhibit. A staff member who is standing in front of the exhibit will turn people away so stand to the side." The other major deterrent to visitors is staff talking to each other. "People are unwilling to interrupt salespeople talking to each other. Strangely enough, prospects do not show the same reluctance to approach a salesperson who is alone or busy. In a retail store customers are quite happy to ask questions of an employee who is stocking shelves."
The analogy with a retail store is well chosen because the show is just a moveable shopping mall, and your space is your outlet in the mall, so treat it as that and you will be halfway to succeeding. "People go to a mall to buy, the store owners are there to sell,” says Weisgal. “A show is the same. You have to sell."
That means accepting some basic rules:
Make your booth as attractive as you can. Your exhibit must be eye appealing enough to make people stop. Exhibitors should look at their booths as the public does. Look at your stand honestly and ask yourself, 'If I were walking by would I stop and go into this stand? Would I like to buy something from this merchant?' If not, figure out why, and come up with ways to make it more appealing.
Keep your booth tidy and welcoming. The exhibit space is your branch office, an extension of your business, and if the stand is messy, people will think your business is messy. Those manning the booth must also dress neatly and refrain from smoking or eating -- this is a place of work. If you can afford it, put a nice piece of carpet down. It improves the look and is easier on the feet.
Don't stop people coming into your booth. Avoid having a table covered with a pile of products or hand-outs blocking the front of the booth. Imagine going into a store and finding the entrance blocked by a display. You want people to come into your stand. A table stuck across the front puts people off, and it makes conversation very difficult. If you really need a table, put it against the back wall. Consider an alternative to a table such as a pedestal or sculpture. Be different, be imaginative.
Be careful with handouts. It's a familiar sight to anyone who has attended a show: visitors leaving with a large plastic bag stuffed with expensive glossy handouts. And what happens to that literature? Right, most of it gets junked. A study conducted by the U.S. Trade Show Bureau says 60% to 80% of that material is thrown away. In fact major convention centers and hotels often arrange to have extra dumpsters delivered because they know there will be a big increase in garbage. Make sure YOUR handouts are directed at existing customers or people who have a real potential of becoming a customer.
Don't be afraid to use gimmicks and be imaginative. Sound and light are two very important ingredients for attracting customers. Tasteful music, a voice track, or a video soundtrack will draw people to the source of the sound. Interesting lighting effects can also attract attention. Of course, once you've got them interested you have to capitalize on that interest."
Guarantee visitors before the show starts.
Do an extensive mailing before the show, and arrange appointments with key customers if possible. Compile and utilize a mailing list, and make sure all new leads – along with everyone that has visited you before -- gets an invitation. Check and double check your listing in the show catalogue so people know where to find you.
Follow up after the show is vital. The show does not end when you pack up the exhibit. In some ways the end of the show is the beginning of the work. Everyone who has visited your stand and left a business card should get a note two days after the show ends. This note thanks them for dropping by and includes another brochure, reinforcing your name and products. The follow-up brochure is much more likely to be read than one picked up at the show. One thing on which ALL the experts agree, for achieving best results – FOLLOW UP!
Evaluate your results. Organizers expect 20,000 industry people to visit BookExpo America. That's a lot of potential customers, but not all of them will be interested in YOUR publications. So, another important duty of any exhibitor is to evaluate your results and reach your own conclusion about how it went. Devise a formula that compares your set goals to what business the show brought in; add in the cost of the exhibit, and the question of whether to show again next year is easy to answer.
Small Press opportunities at BEA
The Small Press area at BookExpo America offers a unique opportunity for independent publishers and authors to gain exposure and network with the entire publishing industry – at a very reasonable price. As a small press exhibitor, you have access to reach key buyers and industry professionals from across the U.S. and around the world. These include:
Special Small Press Package for $1425 includes:
Small Press Premium Package for $2225 includes:
For more information, please contact Mike Carlucci at 203.840.5625 or email firstname.lastname@example.org