Written by Eric Tiansay   
Thursday, 06 June 2013 09:48 AM EDT




A session promoting Christian content and digital publishing trends were major highlights for Christian publishers during the U.S. book world’s biggest event, recently held in New York City.


Held May 29-June 1 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Book Expo America (BEA) drew about 20 Christian publishers, including Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, Tyndale House Publishers, B&H Publishing Group, Baker Publishing Group, Barbour Publishing, Harvest House Publishers, Charisma Media, Moody Publishers, Regal Books/Gospel Light and Oasis Audio.

ECPA President and CEO Mark Kuyper told Christian Retailing that the organization developed an education program at BEA "promoting Christian content as a way to meet the needs of retailers’ communities."

R.R. Bowker Senior Account Executive David Campbell presented consumer data, "which demonstrated that the majority of general trade consumers expressed an affiliation to Christianity," Kuyper said. "It also showed that those who bought Christian books spent more then the average shopper and did so in almost every other category of the store.

"Our panel of publishers talked about the best opportunities to connect with consumers through expanded offerings in key categories and promotional seasons," he added, noting the session drew more than 30 attendees. "It [went] very well according to the coordinator who reviewed the surveys shortly after the session. She has asked us to do another session next year."

BEA Education Director Sally Dedecker said expo officials are also working with ECPA on setting up a dedicated pavilion for its member publishers for next year’s show.

Moody Publishers Publicity Manager Janis Backing said the highlight of BEA was a digital book presentation.

"It was very informative about the new trends in digital publishing—an area we are very interested in investing in and learning how we can apply it to our publishing plans," she said. "It seemed like the show was well-attended. People were positive about our new products, especially our growth in fiction titles, the increase in available titles in e-book format and the continuing growth in sales for print books."

Gospel Light Director of Trade Sales Ken Lorenz said he "made a lot of digital and e-book contacts" at BEA.

"The best part was contacts with the major digital people like Apple, Sony and Amazon," he said. "It is hard to have one-on-one conversations with these companies. It was very productive."