April 28, 2017
What began life as the American Booksellers Association Convention and Trade Show in 1947 has become BookExpo America, BEA to its friends. This year, New York City hosts the four-day extravaganza as booksellers showcase new work, current titles, network, catch up with friends and negotiate rights at the largest book trade fair in the US.
BEA’s publicity states that: “It’s the place where industry, authors and readers converge to define the new publishing universe.” What self-respecting publisher or bookseller would want to miss that?
As if that wasn’t draw enough, the author stage talks feature the legends that are Stephen King and actor Alan Alda of MASH fame alongside other celebrated actors, authors, NASA scientists(!) and broadcasters showcasing the best new work and emerging authors.
In 2017s fast-changing landscape of new digital formats and new publishing avenues the expo gives those in the book world chance to compare notes and find opportunities. It also gives everyone chance to pause for breath, pat themselves on the back and celebrate the incredible creativity on display.
Serious issues such as discussions on the global marketplace run side by side with autograph sessions and talks on the rise and rise of the audiobook. On the latter subject, this year’s BookExpo is hosting something special. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne is being given the audio book treatment and its narrator will be chosen by online voters during the expo and BookCon (which begins as the expo finishes).
Voters will be able to listen to three anonymous narrator auditions and vote for their favorite at blackstonepublishing.com/peopleschoice. It is a tremendously forward-thinking move. Not only will the most suited voice be chosen but the work is guaranteed success as the audio book-buying public who were a part of the decision will be more likely to buy and promote it.
The competition, if you can call it that, also gives great insight into the behind-the-scenes considerations of an audio book. In our previous blog Audio All-Stars, we discussed the fact that they are no longer seen as a publishing afterthought and are an art form in their own right with trained actors voicing the roles. This opportunity to choose an audio book narrator for the Jules Verne classic shows just how important it is to get the right voice for the job. So if you are at either event (BookExpo America May 31–June 2 or BookCon June 3-4) listen carefully and choose wisely.
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