According to Christian Retailing, the number of suppliers attending ICRS this July is up since last year. At the same time numerous vendors have downsized their exhibit space, so that overall the space is down. For example, Provident-Integrity has downsized from 10 booth spaces to one. Destiny Image has gone from eight in years past to four.
Of course there's also Thomas Nelson, who won't be there at all.
Stats: 300 returning exibitors in 922 booths. 17 new vendors in 27 booths. (These include gift vendors as well as publishers.)
I've not heard of any other large publishers saying they won't attend ICRS. It will be interesting to see what happens in 2009, with ECPA's first Christian Book Expo next March in Dallas. Many publishers are attending that reader-based event, including Nelson. If the Expo goes off as successfully as predicted, will publishers continue to attend both it in the spring and ICRS just a few months later? (Here's the blog from ECPA regarding the event.)
ECPA's Gold Medallion awards, formerly announced at ICRS, will move to the Expo next year. Makes sense, since the EXPO is ECPA's shindig. I am wondering about the Christy Awards. Will they end up switching?
As for me, I'll be attending ICRS and proudly seeing Zondervan's booth on the floor. I'll be signing copies of Amber Morn from 12 noon to 1:00 on Monday. I love the signings. It's a great opportunity to see the booksellers face to face. I may be paired with someone again this year. (I've heard rumors but no confirmation.) I hope so. Teaming up with another Z novelist is twice the fun. One year they had me sign with Jim Bell. I put up a large sign--"Please don't feed the lawyer." Last year I signed with Camy Tang--until I strangled her.
You'd think Z would learn.
Mid-day addendum to post: ECPA's Michael Covington, ever vigilant even on Memorial Day, left a comment that I don't want any reader to miss. (Michael, why aren't you out playing?) We have talked about the Book Expo before, and I think it's going to be a fabulous event. (I'm already planning to attend.) But for those of you who may have missed those posts (here and here), have a look at Michael's comment about the intent of that event:
Just wanted to remind everyone that the purpose of the Christian Book Expo is not to compete with any existing trade show, as it is NOT a trade show, it is a consumer-focused book fair.
However, many people involved with books, including authors, agents, writer's groups, subsidiary rights managers, and retailers (to name a few) will also be present. With more than 150 author workshops, readings, panel discussions, etc. as well as an exhibit floor with over 100k square feet this will be a unique opportunity for anyone involved in the book purchasing life cycle to engage with the brand - the author.
This event is also ALL ABOUT THE BOOK, no gifts, and the only music feature will be incorporated into the evening programing, but will have strong ties to books (i.e., artists who are also authors).
Finally, the Christian Book Awards (which you referred to as the Gold Medallion Awards), are being moved simply because the purpose of the awards is to raise awareness of the books which are judged worthy for excellence and quality in Christian literature. In the past, the awards ceremony has been attended by a diminishing group of publishers, authors and retailers - hardly an opportunity to raise awareness. With the new Christian Book Expo, the general reading public will be able to attend, and learn about, the best of the best books in Christian publishing, achieving the goal of the program.
Thanks for keeping an eye on things for everyone, hope to see you in Orlando!