Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Annick Goes to BEC

Melanie Little, author of The Apprentice's Masterpiece

The number of exhibitors was noticeably down from previous years, and there were fewer independent booksellers than everyone had hoped for, but even so, Book Expo Canada 2008 was a successful show for Annick. Thanks to the presence of a number of teachers and librarians, the booth was busy with people stopping to ask about our upcoming books. The Bite of the Mango by Mariatu Kamara and Susan McClelland drew a lot of attention as did The Apprentice's Masterpiece by Melanie Little. Long line-ups awaited all our authors who signed books: Loris Lesynski, Melanie Little, Elizabeth MacLeod, Ruth Ohi, Charis Cotter, and Kathy Stinson.

Loris Lesynski, author of Shoe Shakes

Most of the publishers, association representatives and some booksellers attended a meeting on Monday to discuss the future of BEC. While everyone agreed that something had to be done to increase attendance, there was no consensus as to what that should be. There seems to be a movement afoot to move the show from June to September. As a publisher of children's books, we would be concerned that teachers and librarians who now attend BEC will not come to a fall show.
Elizabeth MacLeod, author of Royal Murder

The idea of opening BEC up to the public is a good one, but not unless a way can be found of allowing them to purchase books. Why else would they want to spend money to get in? For those who want to see and hear big name authors, there is the International Festival of Authors held later in the fall, and for those wanting bargains, there's The Word On The Street. Perhaps the appeal to the public would be being able to purchase the new Fall titles before they actually hit the stores. As for The Word On The Street, those publishers interested in selling could partner with an independent bookseller of their choice. Whatever the case, it looks as if BEC as it stands now is not viable for either its owners, Reed Exhibits, or for the publishers who attend. It'll be interesting to see what happens next.

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