Not Happenings: Reed cancels Book Expo Canada

2009_bec_headerThe Canadian Press

TORONTO — BookExpo Canada, an annual publishing trade event, has been cancelled by Reed Exhibitions Canada, according to an industry website.
The move follows defection of many of the country’s largest publishers and a growing number of independent houses, according to an online report by Publishers’ Weekly, which is owned by Reed.

Reed will also not move forward with plans to start a new consumer-oriented event in the fall in Toronto.

Greg Topalian, senior vice-president for Reed Exhibitions, said there is not enough interest in the Canadian publishing industry to make either event a successful stand-alone operation.

“At the end of the day, there wasn’t enough sign ups for either,” Topalian told the website.

“We’ve worked for a number of years to find ways to change the show or to have it evolve,” he said.

While Topalian would not rule out other events in Canada in future years, he said there won’t be any in 2009.

BookExpo Canada had been scheduled for June 19-22 in Toronto.

Reed says it will now concentrate its efforts on having BookExpo America serve the needs of the North America publishing and bookselling industry.

The announcement comes on the heels of Reed’s announcement that they are launching a new comic book convention in Chicago in the spring of 2010 and moving the NYCC to October in 2010. Comics industry reaction seems positive, but the October date will play havok with some annual shows that usually take place in early October in the US.

As for the demise of Book Expo, we can’t see how this could be a positive step for Canadian publishers and booksellers, although many comments seems to indicate that the event had been struggling. But with larger Canadian publishers like Random House and the Penguin Group withdrawing their support from BEC it seemed inevitable that the plug was going to be pulled.

Over at the Beat, cartoonist Scott Chantler responds:

Too bad. Promoting NORTHWEST PASSAGE at Book Expo Canada 2007 was one of the smartest things I ever did for that book, and for my work in general. It was seen by a greater number (and a wider range) of potential buyers than at all the comic conventions I’ve ever been a guest at combined, and led directly to my signing contracts with TWO mainstream book publishers.

Hopefully whatever take its place will have the same effect for Canadian cartoonists such as myself whose focus is outside the direct market.

There is some talk of some kind of replacement for BEC, at least according to Publisher’s Weekly. Certainly we will be watching for any announcements and will relay any news here at the JSA Site & Blog.