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Book Expo: Looking both forward and back

May 29, 2010 |  9:02 am


BookExpo America banners came down Friday at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City after a shorter, smaller convention. My report on the conference -- its optimism and pessimism, its senior executives, hopeful visionaries and sassy upstarts -- is in Saturday's edition of the Times:

If it was a bright sign that plenty of iPads lit up BookExpo America, the publishing industry's annual trade show and convention held at Manhattan's Jacob Javits Center this week, it was equally telling that the hot trend for fall books is dystopian fiction.

For an industry still reeling from the battered economy and not yet reconciled to the e-book revolution, tales of society gone wrong have resonated. As for the big picture, it was possible to find writers, independent publishers and executives optimistic about the future, but many remain guarded and grim....

"No author is going to want to only publish his book online," said Jonathan Galassi, head of Farrar, Straus & Giroux. "They want to give their mother a copy." This got a laugh, but publishers might also do well to consider what authors' children find appealing.

That was the point of the edgy, multivaried 7-by-20-by-21 panel, in which writers, innovators and independent publishers offered an array of new ideas.

What did the panel have to say? I recommend Publisher's Weekly's blow-by-blow; our report has additional details and how it fits into the context of the conference as a whole.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Workers roll up Book Expo 2010 banners at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Credit: Carolyn Kellogg