The first ever US Book Show managed by Publishers Weekly will return next year with live events for the first time since the pandemic began.
And Media Ink can exclusively report that it will be a hybrid with lots of digital events in the mix as well.
PW rode to the rescue with Book Show after Reed International permanently scrapped Book Expo and its consumer side kick, Book Con, after the Javits Convention Center was turned into an emergency field hospital — forcing it to go virtual last year.
Reed staged its virtual event in July, and then stunned the book world by bowing out completely on Jan. 1.
A return to the formerly freewheeling event at the Javits Center is not in the cards, however.
“In our model of making the show affordable for all, a return to Javits is unlikely,” said editorial director Jim Milliot. “Hard to say what others would think, but from our prospective we see a hybrid show that features online and in-person event,” he told Media Ink.
This year’s all-digital event, the first ever sponsored by PW, seemed to have everything, including keynote addresses by Oprah Winfrey and Elizabeth Warren, and addresses by Ijeoma Oluo, author of “So You Want to Talk About Race,” debuting her new book “Be A Revolution.”
It also featured a spirited debate on the future of political books as publisher face pressure to cancel books by leading Donald Trump officials. Despite the blowback, Simon & Schuster appears to be moving forward with books planned by former US Vice President Mike Pence and former Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway.
To be sure, there were technical glitches that prevented people from easily logging on to the expo using their mobile phones and attendance was smaller than the live Book Expo of yesteryear.
Still, the book world — faced with the prospect of no major US show — can now breathe a sigh of relief. Without the PW show, the book publishing world would have had to rely on live events overseas such as the London Book Fair or the Frankfurt Book Fair.
“The US Book Show achieved its goal or reaching all quadrants of the publishing industry,” said Cevin Bryerman, CEO and publisher of PW, who confirmed that it will be back to stages in its second show next year, scheduled for May 25 to 27.
Milliot said that there were 5,200 virtual registrants, including 900 media registrants and at least 3,600 logged on to at least some of three-day event this year. “It’s not quite the numbers Book Expo used to get, but it’s not bad,” he said.
Milliot said “the show, exceed every benchmark we had,” He added, “Revenue was higher than we thought–but so were expenses.”