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Are Book Festivals Becoming a Thing of the Past?


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While updating my Book Fair Events Calendar, I was surprised to discover several book festivals have ended

The Blue Ridge Bookfest, called it quits after 8 years provided three main reasons for ceasing their book festival:

  • Attendance has not lived up to expectations. The public seems less interested in meeting authors than in the early years. Internet, e-books and audio books have grown strong.
  • Donor and sponsor funding have declined while the expense of bringing in authors has increased. The financial gap grew each year. The event did not charge admission.
  • Volunteers have not come forward in sufficient numbers.

The Buffalo Small Press Book Fair ran from 2007 to 2016, but it appeared to be successful and the organizer apparently just decided to "move on."

These are two that have definitely ended but several others are likely to end, simply because they has already passed their anniversaries and they have not updated their websites, or their websites are down altogether.

The First Read Expo is an event I participated in last year, and actually hoped to participate in this year, but their domain has expired, and I'm unable to reach the organizer.  Maybe they will come back in 2017.

Of course some of the remaining festivals are struggling.  But fortunately, there are many fairs that are thriving. 

Do you go to book festivals?  If so, which ones do you enjoy?


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The industry has done this to itself. When I attended book expos there was a feeling of intimidation, isolation and arrogance that was fine when there wasn't much to do. Now people have to be treated like they matter. I no longer need an agent to get a book out there. I don't need to sit and listen to someone, I can look at YouTube. My last "book festival" was the  San Diego State Writer's Conference which is one of the biggest in the country. That was forever ago. Since I've been here in Memphis most expos and conventions are centered around women and I haven't felt any desire to participate.

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I just added the the event you attended to the site: https://aalbc.com/events/index.php?st=California#SDSU+Writers%26rsquo%3B+Conference The personality of events are just like people.  Some events I really like and others get on my nerves, because they constrain the growth and even hurt themselves because they alienate people. I think events reflect the sensibilities of their organizers.  

Book festivals and fairs are completely different animals than conferences.  I think conferences, who usually charge, are more likely to generate a feeling of intimidation especially among newbies.  

The BWABC is taking place in Memphis next month. There are going to be 100 authors in attendance.  These are the types of events I like to do, there are not too many events where you'll encounter 100 Black authors, actively promoting their books in one place ;-)


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Man I knew about this, but I didn't know about this. LOL. One of the people I mentor is actually a sponsor for the event. In my skepticism I completely ignored it and thought possibly because I can't see how it turned out in previous years that it couldn't have been very good so I just overlooked it. As positive as I am, I have to think better of us and actually participate.  Maybe I will sign up as a vendor. Good looking out on making me check for it. I will let you know if I do the event.

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