Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
Location: Books & Such Main Office, Santa Rosa, CA
In my continuing list of 2010 wishes for publishing, my third wish is that publishing associations would work together rather than protect their territory.
Because publishing is in such a state of flux, doesn’t it make sense that everyone work to save the ship rather than arrange the deck chairs? Yet I see organizations that should be working in concert fussing over trivialities. Case in point, in the Christian publishing industry, the two giants are the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) and the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA). In 2009, ECPA attempted to create a major event in Dallas that would draw readers from across the country to meet well-known authors and to hear those authors speak. The event fizzled out for a variety of reasons, costing the publishers who participated significant dollars that ordinarily would have been spent on CBA’s summer event, the International Christian Retailers Show (ICRS). That left an already weakened ICRS on life support.
Wouldn’t it make more sense for these two organizations to band together and to create one event that could breathe new life into both associations? For example, why doesn’t ECPA have a bookfest the weekend before ICRS? Last year’s venue, Denver, would have been perfect for such an event because the city’s downtown is a walking mall. Put up tables for authors to sign books and speaking platforms for them to address audiences. This would give keynote authors a reason to come to ICRS, and it would give booksellers a chance to meet the authors and hear about their latest releases.
In turn, having a bookfest would benefit CBA by bringing booksellers, authors and readers together, generating renewed interest and greater attendance at ICRS.
Instead, what we saw in 2009 was two costly events that drove a wedge in Christian publishing and asked publishers to expend twice the amount of money on exhibits and staffing they spent the year before.
Come on people, let’s get together! Yup, that my wish #3.
Now, I’m all ears to hear what you think.