The U.S. Needs Its Own Book Fair (

Should there be an international conference for publishing professionals in the United States? It is a question numerous people have asked since the demise of BookExpo in 2020. It’s no secret that the bright-lights-big-city buzz that made BookExpo so much fun and so essential for so many years had fizzled out, and booksellers and publishers alike were finding it of limited value. When BookExpo and BookCon were “retired,” parent company Reed Exhibitions made it clear that it was cutting its losses; the company had previously ended production of the Tokyo International Book Fair and subsequently shut down the Salon du Livre in Paris. Reed continues to run the London Book Fair—but should it remain the primary book publishing conference for the English-speaking world?

The simple answer is no. The U.S. is the biggest English-language publishing market it the world, yet it’s one of the few large countries without an industrywide conference. Book fairs held abroad attract dignitaries and celebrities who help put a spotlight on literature, at least for a few days: the Frankfurt Book Fair routinely hosts prime ministers, presidents, and Nobel Prize winners, and the Queen of Spain is a frequent guest of the Madrid Book Fair.
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