BEA 2015: Two and a Half Days Followed by Two-Day BookCon

Next year's BookExpo America will run for two and a half days--the first day is the short day--followed by two full days of BookCon, the new consumer book show that made its debut last month at BEA, with no overlap of the two shows, according to Steve Rosato, BEA show director. The BEA show floor will open at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27, and continue until the end of the day on Friday, May 29. BookCon will be held on Saturday and Sunday, May 30 and 31. BEA and BookCon will take place again at the Javits Center in New York. 

The shift of the half day is highly unusual: for as long as we can remember, BEA and its predecessor, the ABA show, started in the morning, and any partial days were at the end.

On his blog, the BEAN, Rosato acknowledged that the new schedule may create "some challenges with the conference program schedule and set up time, but this makes BEA a more compact event without cutting significant time." He also emphasized that BEA is not being significantly shortened--it will run for 21 hours compared to this year's 22 hours--and said the show is always better attended and "more compelling" when held on weekdays. In addition, having BookCon immediately follow BEA allows "the companies vested in BookCon to staff properly and save on T&E by reducing some personnel," Rosato said.

Although some people have seen BookCon as "a big money grab," Rosato said, the inaugural BookCon last month "barely broke even" because of "the additional investment needed for a separate ticketing system, separate website and dedicated app and additional marketing plan, additional costs for security and cleaning.... The expectation is it will be a profitable event going forward, but only if we deliver a great experience for fans and a valuable investment for publishers."

In addressing complaints from "power readers" who apparently missed the experience they had of being able to be on the BEA trade show floor, Rosato said, "We recognize BookCon is a very different experience and that was intentional in order to draw consumers that are not thinking of or buying books. We understand you are different and you have a value that is incredibly important to the publishing ecosystem. Please be patient with us and let us continue to sift through the feedback so we can find a way that lets us blend the events for this distinct group without upsetting the balance for BEA's trade activity."

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