BTW Talks to BEA Show Manager Chris McCabe

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Christopher McCabe

Booksellers, publishers, and other industry professionals attending BookExpo America 2005, to be held in New York City from June 2 to 5, will see a new face as they travel up and down the aisles of the show floor: Christopher McCabe, a vice president and eight-year veteran of Reed Exhibitions, who in June became the show's new manager. McCabe, who previously was industry vice president for PGA Golf Exhibitions at Reed, has taken over responsibility for all facets of BEA management. He succeeded Greg Topalian, vice president and show manager for BEA since August 2000, who was tapped to oversee a new business division at the company.

BTW recently had a chance to talk to McCabe via e-mail about his new role.

What did you do professionally before joining Reed Exhibitions?

I have been at Reed Exhibitions for eight years, and I have had the privilege of working with several different industries. Prior to joining Reed, I worked at Time Warner as an integrated marketing director for Money Inc., which included Money Magazine and Fortune.

Have you previously been involved with trade shows on the scale of BEA?

Yes, I ran the "PGA of America's" trade shows for five years. Like BEA, the PGA shows are the leading events for the industry, where all major companies and golf industry professionals gather to conduct their business.

What interests you about the trade show process and BEA specifically?

One thing that stands out about booksellers and BEA is the passion that everyone seems to have for their work and for books in general. I have always enjoyed managing trade shows because it allows you the opportunity to really acquaint yourself with an industry. And if you are lucky enough to be involved in an industry that is of personal interest to you, then you're really doing well.

I'm extremely fortunate because I have now had that experience twice ... once running the PGA events, and now with BEA. You get to meet everyone, including manufacturers, buyers, press, as well as the various associations that serve the industry. The book industry is very exciting to me and after just three months or so on the job it is proving to be more exciting than expected. It is a nice environment to work in.

In fact, I just returned from the Beijing Book Fair, where I not only attended the fair, but also had the opportunity to meet some of the directors from other leading book fairs around the world. That was a long trip, but well worth the visit.

As the new BEA show manager, is there anything special you are looking forward to?

I look forward to developing professional relationships in the bookselling and publishing communities and to helping the industry increase awareness about books. In particular, I would like to have a hand in developing programs that might help publishers and booksellers get books into the hands of eager new readers, especially children.

Do you foresee changes to BEA, or are there things that you would like to enhance?

I would like to enhance some of the programs that we have put in place to facilitate business at BEA. I know the Hotel ABA has been a success, and I would like to build on this, as well as seek other ways to encourage commerce between publishers and independent booksellers.

I plan to work closely with the ABA to ascertain their members' needs, and I will do everything I can to make the show a rewarding, to say nothing of profitable, experience. -- Interviewed by Nomi Schwartz