BookTV Catches the Action at BookExpo

If you missed BookExpo America this year, was there to capture some of the action, just as they've done with many other book events throughout the year.Each weekend, Book TV features 48 hours of nonfiction books from 8am Saturday to 8am Monday. This web site will enhance information on those books, provide an opportunity to watch or listen to programs you might have missed, and provide additional information not available on the network. That additional information will include bestseller lists from around the country, opportunities to chat with authors and other readers, information on programming up to four weeks in advance, and background information on authors and publishers.

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BookExpo America Wrap-Up

Attendence Off Slightly; Dialogue Up Sharply

The total figure for all industry professionals attending BEA 2003 in Los Angeles was 27,143, compared to last year’s BEA in New York at 31,726, which included 2,167 day badges issued to local industry professionals who work in the publishing capital. The total number of book buyers attending BEA in ’03 was 6,684. The comparable number last year was 7,049.

"We are pleased that so many people attended BEA this year, though we are ever mindful of creating a productive atmosphere in which individual constituents may feel at home," said Greg Topalian, Vice President and Show Manager for BEA. "Large numbers are good, and everyone wants to see as many people as possible at a trade convention, but we need to stay focused on building initiatives and platforms that provide our exhibiting publishers and our attendee base with opportunities to meet one on one in an environment tailored to their needs. This is what we had in mind when we created the ABA hotel this year.”


BEA management and the American Booksellers Association (ABA) reserved the majority of the Radisson Wilshire Plaza's rooms, making the "Hotel California" an exclusive hotel for independent booksellers attending the convention. Booksellers who stayed at the Radisson got a great rate, communed with their peers in one central location, and apparently it was a smash hit. “We will seek to enlarge this program by increasing the size of the hotel next year as well as expanding it to other areas, perhaps to include a hotel for librarians,” said Topalian.


“The Editor & Bookseller Buzz Forum has also proved to be successful since it provides a terrific opportunity for publishers' to present their key titles directly to an audience of booksellers, book reviewers and other media professionals. We will certainly be looking at ways we might enhance as well as diversify this program."

In addition, convention officials note that international participation at BEA is critical to future planning. Topalian concludes, "Next year the show is back in Chicago which provides a middle meeting ground for the European and Pacific rights communities. One of our major objectives over the next few months will be to implement programs and devise marketing strategies that encourage international attendance at BEA in Chicago in '04. Once again, our focus will be on how we can make BEA a better experience for each individual."

Other areas of intensity were the forums and luncheons that brought up hot-button issues and featured out-spoken panelists. Bill O’Reilly, Molly Ivins, and Al Franken duked it out a Saturday’s Book & Author luncheon, with Pat Schroeder trying to keep the peace. Franken and O’Reilly debated the political leanings and impact of today’s media, throwing barbs at one another that sometimes got a little wild. Vermont congressman and bookseller/library rights champion Bernie Sanders was among the luncheon guests.


The panel discussion, “Do Newspaper Book Sections Give Readers What They Want?” was of particular interest, as much of the debate was around the lack of coverage for independent and regional publishing by the papers. Michael Cader of Publishers Lunch cited figures he’s been tallying that show the dominance of reviews of New York houses’ books, and the L.A. Times Steve Wasserman admitted to his paper’s reliance on established houses to “filter” the slushpile of submissions.

When queried about the possibility of self-published works breaking through this barrier, Wasserman stated his openness “to literary expression in whatever form,” but admitted he didn’t give them much hope. “This is the sad truth; the universe of the worthy is already too large to cover. The hardest challenge (for self-publishers) is to break through the curtain of noise. This is a hard thing to do. For every book I choose, there are two worthy book that get ignored.”

(See BookTV broadcasts of these and other events online – weblinks below.)

Just three years ago, when e-books were the talk of the show, 100 companies made up the "technology" area of the convention floor. This year barely twenty were on hand, and they were relegated to a lobby area designated as the "E-Book Experience," where visitors tried out electronic books and publications, using the latest devices from Microsoft, Adobe and others.

This year, the buzz was redirected to one of the fastest-growing segments of publishing, graphic novels and comic books. About 100 graphic novel publishers -- more than double last year's total -- were grouped in their own section, and numerous signings and flashy banners and giveaways made it one of the most vibrant areas of the show.

BookExpo America on BookSpan

Saturday, May 31

Book & Author Breakfast
Watch 1 hr. 11 mins.

* Toni Morrison, "Love"
* Jhumpa Lahiri, "The Namesake"
* Gerry Adams, "A Further Shore: Ireland's Long Road to Peace"
* Noah Adams, "The Flyers" - moderator

Do Newspaper Book Sections Give Readers What They Want?
Watch 1 hr. 31 min.

* Gregg Barrios, San Antonio Express-News, Book Editor
* David Kipen, San Francisco Chronicle, Book Editor
* Steve Wasserman, Los Angeles Times, Book Editor
* Michael Cader, Publishers Lunch, Publisher
* Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune, Book Editor - moderator

Book & Author Luncheon
Watch 1 hr. 29 mins.

* Al Franken, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right"
* Molly Ivins, "Bushwhacked"
* Bill O'Reilly, "Who's Looking Out for You?"
* Pat Schroeder, Assn. of American Publishers, President & CEO - Moderator

Editor & Bookseller Buzz Forum
Watch 58 mins.

* Sonny Mehta, Alfred A. Knopf, President & Publisher
* Starling Lawrence, W. W. Norton & Company, Vice Chairman & Editor-in-Chief
* Susan Kamil, Dial Press, Vice President & Editorial Director
* Alice Mayhew, Simon & Schuster, Vice President & Editorial Director
* Claire Wachtel, William Morrow & Company, Vice President & Executive Editor
* Julie Grau, Riverhead Books, Vice President & Co-editorial Director
* Nora Rawlinson, Publishers Weekly, Editor-in-Chief - moderator

Sunday, June 1

Book & Author Breakfast
Watch 1 hr. 17 mins.

* Madeleine Albright, "Madame Secretary"
* Maxine Hong Kingston, "The Fifth Book of Peace"
* Michael Moore, Untitled
* Walter Isaacson, "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life" – moderator