BEA: All quiet in the digital book zone


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Book Expo attendees who need to get a break from the crowds should try heading to the downtown end of the Javits Center. That’s where the Digital Book Zone has been set up, and the aisles stretch wide, nearly empty.

This doesn’t indicate what it might seem. Digital books have in fact found traction with many in publishing, from independent Soft Skull press, which prefers to send out pre-publication galleys in electronic form, to major distributor Ingram, which is one of the section’s sponsors.


But e-books and the myriad new aspects of the e-book business don’t seem to have found equal footing with the booksellers and librarians attending the conference. Maybe it’s because discussing formatting manuscripts for ePub, Kindle or other e-book types is too techy. Or maybe it’s because people who work in bookstores don’t see an obvious way to bring e-book sales into their business model.

Or maybe it’s just that the downtown edge of the Javits Center is far off on the edge of the conference. Author Jeff Kinney, whose “Wimpy Kid” books are huge bestsellers, appeared on a panel near the area to a modest audience -- maybe 45 people and many empty chairs.

-- Carolyn Kellogg in New York

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