Sunday, May 29, 2011

Book Expo America highlights E-Business

Jumbo Editorial Team

As usual the new edition of Book Expo America attracted tens of thousands of authors, publishers and booksellers at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. The annual trade show witnessed the same level of enthusiasm that has remained associated with it.

For three hectic days the visitors wandered the exhibition halls, mingling, promoting books, listening to speakers and discussing the state of the industry. They had a lot to share. The focal point of discussion was the growing popularity of E-books who are fast surpassing print sales for some new releases.

Amazon announced that they had hired one of the industry’s best-known veterans, the publisher turned agent Laurence J. Kirshbaum, to head a new imprint for Amazon that will publish general-interest titles.

They had earlier announced having acquired a book by the thriller writer Barry Eisler, who had hinted about abandoning a six-figure contract with his publisher out of dissatisfaction with the traditional book industry.

“There’s a tendency to think that the other guy’s piece of the pie is so much easier, and you can just jump in and do it. It’s good for Amazon to go into publishing. Maybe they’ll develop some respect for how hard it is. Come on in, try it. Go ahead. It’s not so easy,” Susan Petersen Kennedy, President of Penguin Group USA, was reported to have reacted to the deal.

Catching the imagination of the attendees were the panel discussions like “Twitter Fundamentals for Book Professionals” and “How eBooks Will Save the Book: Putting Storytelling and Creation at the Center of Publishing.”

Some anxiety over digital publishing was tempered by the fact that while e-book sales are huge in fiction, especially genre fiction like romance, mysteries and thrillers, they have barely registered in children’s books, reference books and a lot of nonfiction categories. And, publishers said, the spread of e-books could make the whole publishing pie bigger.

The battle over e-reader customers continued with dueling announcements by two of the industry’s biggest retailers. Barnes & Noble held a splashy news conference to unveil its latest e-reader, a black-and-white touch-screen version of the Nook. Not to be outdone, Amazon elbowed in with its own statement later that day that it has a new e-reader, a $164 Kindle with 3G.

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