UK publishers report 'good business' at BEA

British publishers reported good business for the most part at Book Expo America, which concluded on Friday (31st).

Matthew Fry of Ryland Peters & Small said his craft and interiors books were well-suited to the fair. "London Book Fair was largely an expensive waste of time, full of jaded people. There's less cynicism at BEA, more focus. I found a French distributor here for our books. We've had meetings with customers from the Caribbean, Mexico, Panama, Brazil, etc. In the US, we spend a lot of time trying to break into special markets that other publishers might not try. This trip has been revenue-generating."

Carlton's Jonathan Goodman [pictured], a long-time regular, said BEA was "a miniature of what it was 10 years ago, with a lot of overseas fringe players. The Saudis have one of the biggest stands. The fair's purpose used to be very clear, but I'm not sure what's at the heart of it now."

However Carlton said business had been "very good" compared with the last few years. "We've had productive meetings with American publishers and retailers and wholesalers who still carry a lot of buying power. We've tailored our publishing to opportunities here.  Barnes & Noble is doing its best to reconstitute themselves in the face of clear and present danger."

This BEA, Flame Tree Publishing moved from the rights centre to a booth. The company sells direct to B&N, Books-a-Million, and other chains.  Although the booth, tucked away, lacked a lot of floor traffic, Frances Bodiam, Flame Tree m.d., said that "it was worth coming, to follow up on LIBF, and for people here to be able to see and feel our foiled and embossed journals. They've been a real hit."

This was Quercus' first BEA with its US subsidiary. Associate publisher Nathaniel Marunas said one purpose was "to show our seriousness about publishing North American titles as well as taking the best, most appropriate books from the UK."

A booth signing showed off bestselling US novelist Richard North Patterson, whom Quercus previously published in the UK and are now publishing in America. Stephen Brumwell's George Washington: Gentleman Warrior, which just won the George Washington Book Prize, came from Quercus UK and will be published in the US this autumn. By 2016 the hope is to originate 25% of the list in the US; the "ultimate goal" is 50/50.