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June 1, 2009

Book Expo America: Waiting for Dan Brown

book expo america: waitying for dan brownLast weekend, publishers, booksellers, authors and corned beef makers came together in New York for Book Expo America, the industry's big trade show. I wasn't able to make it, but it seems everyone was hunkering down to wait out the recession and bracing for the coming storm of digitized books. I've already seen that hurricane hit the newspaper industry, and it's a safe bet that it will be a rough ride for publishing, too. In the meantime, everyone is dying for the blockbuster that can bring sales -- like Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol, which is set for a Sept. 15 release. Some quotes from BEA:

 "If you read a book on paper, you're going to be definitely stamped as retro. This is not going to be a fashionable thing to do." -- Mike Shatzkin of Idea Logical Co. in The Washington Post.

"We're all waiting for the next thing — whatever that is." -- Novelist Richard Russo in USA Today.

“It is good for us to come to remind them as they are seeing those 10 Kindles on the subway on the way to work what value we feel we bring to the industry.” -- Independent bookseller Robert Sindelar in The New York Times.


Posted by Dave Rosenthal at 9:38 AM | | Comments (3)


How do you share ebooks? I can pass my paper ones on to friends and family--but not a Kindl.

I'm not so sure, but maybe I'm wrong. I had my Kindle on my trip to BEA and people in the airports and on the planes asked me what it was. It seemed that everyone had a book with them. (I even bought a book in the airport on the way home.)

I find Mike Shatzkin's statement ("If you read a book on paper, you're going to be definitely stamped as retro. This is not going to be a fashionable thing to do.") absurd. First, as we read our books, why should we care how anyone "stamps" us? The whole purpose of reading, I think, is to remove yourself from the idiots around you. Second, and more important, RETRO is very much "in" these days. Hasn't this guy every heard of Mad Men, Star Trek, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (opening June 12)?

Kathy's comment about buying a book at the airport reminds me of a comment in a NYT article ("By-the-Book Reader Meets the Kindle," published 5/29/09) by Charles McGrath. He points out that right now airlines don't allow passengers the use of a reading device during takeoff or landing, so even though he had a Kindle with him on a recent trip, he had to dash into the airport shop to buy himself a "backup" paperback. I loved this article; it has a lightness and humor about it that I've never before seen in McGrath's articles. Bravo! Here's the link:

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About the blogger
Dave Rosenthal came to The Baltimore Sun as a business reporter in 1987 and now is the Maryland Editor. He reads a wide range of books (but never as many as he'd like), usually alternating between non-fiction and fiction. Some all-time favorites: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery; and anything by Calvin Trillin or John McPhee. He belongs to a book club with a Jewish theme.
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