Book Expo America is still the largest gathering of publishing industry personnel in North America, if not the world (more than 1,300 exhibitors this year), and there are always interesting panels, discussions, news and announcements that go along with it. Already we've learned that:
- Tor Books and Forge Books, imprints of Macmillan, are launching a DRM-free e-book store for their titles. Readers will be able to buy and download e-books there without embedded digital rights management restrictions, so they can be transferred from one reading device to another. DRM has been a sticking point with many book fans, and to have publishers like Tor switch tactics in this regard signals a newer approach for legacy publishers. Tor/Forge publishes a wide range of mystery, suspense and thriller titles.
- Kobo is launching a self-publishing platform for authors, promising better royalties, improved data and statistics reporting, as well as the ability to sell e-books through a variety of vendors. Authors will also be able to publish their books as "free" without any exclusives, unlike with Amazon's Kindle Select program.
- Amazon just bought the romance and mystery publisher Avalon Books, including its more than 3,000 back-list titles. The publisher of the 62-year-old company said that she "chose Amazon Publishing because they care deeply about the writers, readers, and categories that have long mattered to our family business and they are uniquely positioned to assure that our titles make the leap forward into the digital future."
- Despite the increase in e-book sales, the American Booksellers Association reports their membership of independent booksellers rose 3.5%, or 55 stores, in the past year, which sounds like a win-win scenario to me.
For each day's event schedule, and a live webcam (where you might even see somebody you know), check out the BEA's Happening page. You can also follow updates via the Twitter hashtag #BookExpoAmerica, where they also have announcements such as a live-streaming interview with author Michael Connelly today.