For months publishers have been preparing, while librarians, foreign rights specialists, and booksellers planned their trips to New York and strengthened their bound galley-carrying arms. And now it's finally here, the most magical time of the year: Book Expo America! But there may be fewer over-extended elbows this year than ever before. Many publishers are moving to e-galleys and PDF files, saving both printing costs and shoulder pain.
Digital innovation and ebooks are taking a prominent place at BEA. All the major publishers plus ebook-only publishers are represented, along with the tech firms who build assorted readers and tablets, software companies, and digital marketing firms. The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) is running a conference concurrent with BEA at the Javits Center on Monday and Tuesday focusing on "the latest business and technical developments in the rapidly evolving digital publishing industry." Leading digital publishers will be grouped together in the events hall at the Digital Discovery Zone. (Digital Cocktail Networking Happy Hours Tuesday and Wednesday at 4pm!) Overdrive is planning to release its new HTML 5 reading application.
Self-publishing/published ebook authors have a higher profile this year too. Sunday saw the first uPublishU conference sessions at BEA. Bowker announced that there were 211,269 self-published titles released in 2012, up from 133,036 in just two years. Kindle Direct and Penguin's Book Country are just two of numerous digital self-publishing options represented this year.
The booths are assembled and the crowds are ready. Meeting schedules are set and the Javits Center has cranked the air conditioning to 11. Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more.
BEA ebook updates and round-ups to follow.