BookExpo America recently released attendance figures from this year's BEA, held May 28 - June 1 in Los Angeles. And, despite concerns that this year's show attendance might suffer due to the war in Iraq and the nation's ongoing economic woes, attendance figures were strong.
The total figure for all industry professionals attending BEA 2003 in Los Angeles was 27,143. The total number of book buyers attending BEA in '03 was 6,684.
ABA COO Oren Teicher said, "We are delighted in independent booksellers' participation in this year's BEA." Noting that the attendance figures were very close to the numbers for the last show in Los Angeles, in 1999, and to the figures for the Chicago show of 2001, he said, "For many reasons the New York show was a special case -- given the large number of booksellers in the region, and that it was the first show in New York City in over 10 years. However, recognizing how difficult business has been for many booksellers for the first months of 2003, we are enormously gratified that so many ABA member bookstores see the show as an important resource for their businesses."
Greg Topalian, vice president and show manager for BEA, said he was pleased with the attendance figures. "Large numbers are good," he said, "and everyone wants to see as many people as possible at a trade convention, but we need to stay focused on building initiatives and platforms that provide our exhibiting publishers and our attendee base with opportunities to meet one on one in an environment tailored to their needs. This is what we had in mind when we created the ABA hotel this year, and we will seek to enlarge this program by increasing the size of the hotel next year
. We will certainly be looking at ways we might enhance as well as diversify this program."