The publishing industry has put forth a focused effort in the last few years to try to engage directly with readers in order to not have to rely on major retailers to sell their content. So far, those efforts have lagged, largely due to the effort already involved in book discovery. Finding great new reads is already a chore for consumers, but efforts such as having publisher websites to sell their content directly have failed because readers don’t automatically connect the publisher with the book. To be fair, readers often struggle to come up with the exact title or author name of a new book generating buzz, so expecting them to remember the publisher as well might be asking a lot.
But at this year’s BookExpo America event, the largest book industry event in North America, publishers will be working to engage directly with their target audiences through an incorporated one-day event, BookCon. Logistically handled by the same company that hosts ComicCons around the country, BookCon is an attempt to generate branded interest in publishers at the consumer level.
“Taking place in New York City—the publishing and cultural capital of the world—BookCon is the event where storytelling and pop culture collide. Consumers and brands will experience the origin of the story in all its forms by interacting with the authors, publishers, celebrities and creators of content that influence everything we read, hear and see. BookCon is an immersive experience that features interactive, forward thinking content including Q+A’s with the hottest talent, autographing sessions, storytelling podcasts, special screenings, literary quiz shows and so much more. BookCon is the ultimate celebration of books, where your favorite stories come to life.”
Billing itself as this collision of books and fandom means Javits Center is already in preparation for an interesting and lively day. Coinciding with the one-day large-scale self-publishing event uPublishU, the venue is expected to be overrun with people who simply love books. This love affair with reading has led to the event organizers creating a website specifically for BookCon, found HERE, but which includes a very interesting list of forbidden items:
“The following items are forbidden at BookCon:
Functional firearms (including air soft guns, BB guns, cap guns, paintball guns and pellet guns)
Realistic replica firearms (including reproduction, fake or toy guns that can be confused for functional firearms)
Functional projectile weapons (including blow guns, crossbows, long bows, silly string, slingshots, water balloons and water guns)
Sharpened metal-bladed weapons (including axes, daggers, hatches, knives, kunai, shuriken, swords, sword canes and switch blades)
Explosives (including firecrackers and fireworks)
Chemical weapons (including mace and pepper spray)
Blunt weapons (including brass knuckles, clubs and nunchaku)
Hard prop weapons (including props made of metal, fiberglass and glass)
Instruments that cause excessive noise levels like vuvuzelas, grenade whistles and grenade horns
With a list like that, expect it to be a real party. Hopefully, events like this will serve their intended purpose of helping readers feel more connected to the developers of their favorite content.