Nov 2, 2016

Thoughts on BEA's New Policy

Image result for book expo america

Hey guys, Jessica here. In case you haven't heard, Publishers Weekly recently released an article stating that BEA will be limiting the amount of non-professionals (including bloggers) that will be allowed to attend the 2017 event. There's been a stir in the blogging community about it, with some people claiming that it's unfair and exclusionary while others are saying that bloggers shouldn't be selfish and shouldn't just want to go for the ARCs.

I agree that bloggers shouldn't be selfish. The ARCs are a fun part of BEA, but they aren't everything. We don't go to these events for the books -- if that was so, we'd just find another blogger to go there and get them for us. For me personally, I go to events like BookCon and BEA to meet up with blogger friends from around the country (some from even around the world) that I don't see on a daily basis, if I see them at all). I go to meet authors and publishers that I'm huge fans of, to talk to them and form relationships, partially for my career but even more so because I just want to connect with them as a fan. All bloggers don't go to BEA just for the books. We aren't selfish for wanting to go to connect with friends, authors, and publishers that we like. That's half the point of an event like this -- because technically, most of this meeting and selling of books can be done over the internet. 

In my opinion, the point of a gathering like this one is to form relationships. Relationships from blogger to blogger, blogger to author, blogger to publisher, bloggers to buyers, publisher to author, and yes, publisher to buyer. It shouldn't just be about publisher to buyer.

Believe it or not, bloggers do have a significant impact on the book-buying community. Just because we don't have as large of an influence as librarians and bookstore buyers doesn't mean we don't have an impact at all. I believe that we deserve to be treated better -- to have our impact recognized.  

We've always gone to BookCon, and BEA 2017 was going to be the first time we actually went to the BEA portion. We've worked super hard to grow our blog large enough for us to actually be able to attend, and it really sucks that as soon as we've gotten ourselves where we want to be, that chance may be taken away from us. With the screening process being cracked down, and less bloggers being invited in, everyone's feelings are hurt. 

BEA (who just wants to be called BookExpo now because they want to be worldly and such) is claiming that they aren't doing this to be exclusionary. But, in my opinion, that's exactly what they're doing, and that's not okay. Not only is everyone hurt and mad, but they have a rightful reason to feel so. BEA is basically turning their event into an exclusive club that only the "cool/worthy enough" people are allowed to attend. 

And whether or not we want this to happen, I feel that a huge rift is going to grow in our blogging community as a result of this, as feelings get stirred up over which bloggers were allowed to attend the event, and which were not. This is going to take the loosely defined hierarchy of bloggers (which I don't agree with necessarily) and create clear-cut, well-defined levels of status that will breed hurt feelings and hostility. 

Avid Reader's article also discusses this whole thing in more depth -- so if you're more interested in the logistics of the changes than my own feelings about it.

Bottom line, this change is meant to be positive, but I already predict that it's going to hurt our tight-knit blogging community more than it's going to help it.

So, that's my take on the whole BEA change. I really hope that I'll still get a chance to go with Amber and Emily. What are your thoughts on this whole BEA scenario? Comment down below!


4 comments:

  1. I'm genuinely curious as well how this will affect different platforms. Will they only accept based on followers? Or will it be based on views? Because someone who is very popular on bookstagram may not have the viewer/follower base that a booktuber does but they are still extremely popular on their platform.
    As well, the sad fact is many popular people in the book community do not seem to read many of the ARCs given so I am wondering if they will actually look into how much people read and review the books.

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  2. The thing is with me, a librarian or a bookseller has never convinced me to read/buy a book. I know what I want when I go to libraries and I don't live near a bookstore. All the books I read/buy are because of other bloggers. I feel they do have impact.

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  3. Being in Italy, I won't ever have a chance to go to an American book event, but I hear you. There should be a different way to change, if change they want. Maybe just find a way to distribute ARCs better, without having a single individual snatching a whole bunch away? I understand only accepting bloggers with a strong follower trail, but it sounds like they're creating an exclusive club. Also, like you said, the whole building-relationship chance is taken away from you. That sucks. I hope they realise they're making a mistake...

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  4. Oh wow, I didn't hear of this yet. I'm really wondering how they are going to base who gets to go because it would be really unfair for the bloggers that don't have as large followings if they base it off popularity. And I was hoping that I would be able to go to BEA next year or the year after. In the meantime, I hope you guys can all go and meet lots of people for me :)
    ~Brooke

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