Monday, May 22, 2006
The After Taste of Book Expo 2006
How does one survive the business shuffle of such an enormous event as the Book Expo? Well, perhaps taking a few pain killers and muscle relaxers is a good start, though not necessarily as a result of the event, though they certainly help after being in the midst of countless glazed over folks who are searching for their treasure: the ideal printer or bookseller (from the publisher's point of view) or the ideal editor or publisher (from the author's point of view, though in truth the Book Expo is not the place to find a publisher, yet that can happen; the editor or publisher instead is present to do business) or for that God-only-knows-who-or-what that will solve one's needs, even if for a few hours.
I was amazed that the number of children's books being marketed, but this ain't cheap and I just wonder how many USA printers will simply begin to lose their clients who begin to print books in China, Hong Kong, India or the like. All those 35 to 50+ who have disposable income for their children or grandkids are making this children's market a gold mine but this won't last forever and not all those books will be bought at full price--authors and publishers beware.
The other in-your-face item were the graphic books. Certainly this will continue as Hollywood has discovered that these are the same readers who go to the cinema. Again, those 35 to 50+ who have children and want them out of their hair pass the $20 x 3 (no longer the buck--hey, what can a buck buy these days?) and so these kids are the ones with the disposable income as those twenty+ in Japan do.
The trouble with all of this is that the literary is no where to be found among these two types. It's all hype and bells and whistles and color-color-color for the visual fix kids need these days.
So what do the literary presses do? We wait and hope that somehow the wave with come back to us. We continue to do what we do because we feel it is right and we enjoy what we do but everything needs water and that water supply is simply customers who buy literary books. No small wonder, this phenomenon is not just a USA syndrome. Booksellers around the world are finding that books are not selling like they used to. The Internet and visual devices have affected this industry and authors, editors, publishers, printers, and booksellers are going to have to wait it out a bit longer to see where this roller coaster lands--yes, it's derailing and hanging on for dear life. This is even more so for the small, independent presses but even for the larger presses for in some way the small press can shift faster than the bound musclemen of New York, London or the like.
All this aside, BEA 2006 was good for the experience and thanks to collaboration I of Gival Press worked with Richard Peabody of Paycock Press--two separate and independent presses, so we were able to mix with the bound musclemen of New York.
It was quite an adventure to have authors (see below), publishers (Selector, Diana, Editorial Progreso), editors (Hyperion Books, White Crane), printers (USA, India, China), librarians (Elissa Miller of Arlington and many others from across the country), and entrepeneurs stop by to visit.
Including no less Andrew Holleran (his latest book is Grief--a truly must read book--published by Hyperion Books) stop by with Chicago-based syndicated author Gregg Shapiro whose first poetry collection will be published in a few years.
Local author C. M. Mayo CMMayo.com El cielo de El Nido stopped by and shared her thoughts on the event.
Lawrence Schimel, stopped by though I missed him (sorry, Lawrence--I was resting), is quite a prolific writer who lives in Madrid.
I got to meet William O'Sullivan of the Washingtonian who stopped by to visit with Richard.
I finally met Terrence Mulligan who edits Minimus.
Around the corner I ran into Charles Flowers of the Lambda Literary Foundation Lambda Literary Foundation and Dan Vera of White Crane White Crane.
Bottom line: Was it worth it? Of course, but just like planting seeds, one doesn't know when the plant will grow or what it will look like. One needs to tend to it until it blooms.