Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: New Trends in Book Shows?

Friday, June 05, 2009

New Trends in Book Shows?

Since I didn't actually attend this year, I haven't had much to say about BEA. Reports I've heard back from those who were there described a subdued show, which matches with much of what I've read online. One attendee talked about the specter of kindle that he could feel pervading the show, keeping everyone looking over their shoulder. Certainly it's hard to avoid questioning the future of the show (even if we try our best to avoid the equally obvious uncertain future of book publishing in general).

Peggy Burns, associate publisher of Drawn & Quarterly comics, didn't go to the show, either. Earlier this week at the D&Q blog, she explained why. It's true that BEA is extremely expensive if you're setting up a display, and if you're a small press, at some point you have to start thinking about diminishing returns. But Peggy also discusses the possibility of book shows for consumers, which may be more effective for smaller publishing concerns.

All of which brings us to the annual Printers Row Lit Fest, which puts on a consumer book show in downtown Chicago this weekend. There are two full days of events and talks on Saturday and Sunday, as well as plenty of booths for publishers and booksellers alike. Drawn & Quarterly will be there, along with some comics programming: Lynda Barry and Chris Ware share a stage to talk; Ivan Brunetti, book designer Chip Kidd, and author David Hadju (The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America) discuss the form; and Harvey Pekar talks about two different books on Saturday and Sunday, his adaptation of Studs Terkel's Working and his graphic history of the Beats. Neil Gaiman, who still has a finger or two in comics, will also be there, but not surprisingly, tickets are no longer available for his presentation (although no-show tickets will be released 15 minutes beforehand--it's all free, so it's very possible that some people who reserved won't show up). I haven't figured out exactly what my plans for the weekend will be yet, but it seems hard to go wrong in attending. The future of book trade shows? It could be along these lines.

Speaking of Printer's Row Lit Fest, it appears that Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk pal Stu Shea has sold out. It's been said that every person has a price, and if that's the case, it appears Stu hasn't been offered his yet--his integrity is intact. No, he's part of a "Cubbie Blues" panel with Sara Paretsky and James Finn Garner, among others, which also has also run through its free tickets. As with Neil Gaiman, a few tickets may become available just before the panel begins. For those of us who still can't get in, then I guess we'd better keep our eyes open for YouTube video.


At 8:14 AM, June 05, 2009, Blogger Stuart Shea said...

I believe that 99.4% of the people coming to the panel are coming to see Sara Paretsky.

At 9:17 AM, June 05, 2009, Anonymous Doug said...

But Stu, it's not what gets them in the door, it's what they see once they're there that matters.

At 12:35 PM, June 05, 2009, Anonymous frankieV2 said...

He's right. It's not where you start it's where you finish.


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