Friday, June 08, 2012
BEA 2012: First Day Mood: Strong Traffic, Vexing Questions
Jun 06, 2012
An overwhelmingly positive mood, with repeated refrains of strong traffic, was mixed with questions about the forthcoming Consumer Day, during the Tuesday kickoff of BookExpo America.
“BookExpo is always good for us,” said OverDrive’s Steve Potash. “There’s been good, strong traffic,” he added, noting that show director Steve Rosato had “really optimized the show for all stakeholders.”
Shawn Foster, sales director at Hachette Book Group, also spoke of “fabulous” foot traffic in her house’s booth. Foster said the publisher saw a particularly sizable crowd descending for galleys of YA author Libba Bray’s forthcoming The Diviners—all ARCs were gone by 9:30 a.m.
Two publishers at opposite ends of the political spectrum both gave a hearty thumbs up to the first day. Marji Ross, publisher of Regnery, said her booth was very busy, especially given that the show had just gotten under way. “It helps to have a bestseller,” she added, referring to The Amateur (which is high on a number of lists). New Press’s Ellen Adler, meanwhile, referred to an “effervescence” among independent booksellers that she hadn’t seen in years. “They seem to have a renewed sense of purpose,” she claimed, noting that the house’s The New Jim Crow has been particularly popular with the indies.
That effervescence certainly did seem to be affecting the booksellers who talked to PW Show Daily. “I didn’t expect it to be this crowded!” exclaimed Cynthia Compton from 4 Kids Books and Toys in Zionsville, Ind. “The world has returned to BEA,” she said. Matt Norcross, co-owner of McLean & Eakin in Petoskey, Mich., got a boost from hearing author-turned-bookseller Ann Patchett speak at the Celebration of Bookselling Lunch, where Patchett said, “Brothers and sister... I believe sometimes, against the odds, the little guy wins. We are the little guys.” She then recited from the Agincourt speech in Henry V and received a standing ovation.
“When anyone validates the hardships we have, it’s very inspiring,” said Norcross, who felt buoyed that publishers were more attuned to booksellers this year. “Publishers seem to be asking for specifics. For instance, I had one publisher ask me how we can best capture preorders.” Cathy Langer, of the Tattered Cover in Denver, appreciated hearing about books “that were low on her radar” from Monday’s Editor’s Buzz Adult Books panel, while Jean Ernst, events manager at Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis, said, “Everyone seems happy... even the publishers.”