This past November 5th, Book Expo America announced that it will open its doors wider to consumers. This new marketing effort has been tagged as Power Readers.
At its core, BEA will still be a trade show—a business-to-business marketplace and stage for the publishing industry. However, over the past few years, in response to the challenges and changes of the industry, the show has gone through its own refashioning like its conference programs, a marketplace for the digital innovation, and its Global Market Forum program for international markets.
So what is Power Readers and how does it work? It’s relatively simple: BEA will promote to the general public to attend on Saturday, June 1st. This is their day where they’ll be able to shop for books from exhibitors that are registered with the state of New York and collect taxes. In addition, BEA will sell books through an approved vendor.
The point of Power Readers is to open more marketing opportunities and promotional avenues for publishers, enabling them to connect directly with readers, plus those readers will have access to their favorite authors at a scale that’s never been available before at one venue and at one time. The team behind the program hope that it will change how the news media covers BEA and bring more attention to new titles and high profile authors.
The concept isn’t entirely new. Last year, BEA rolled out a similar program where consumers signed up via local bookstores and the New York Public Library to attend on the last day of the show. The power readers were capped at 1,000, and exhibitors were not allowed to sell books to them.