During one of the most important and prestigious events of its kind in the publishing industry, more than 1,300 exhibitors took part in the 2017 BookExpo America, which was held in New York City from May 31-June 2.

As the largest book fair in North America, a wide variety of products were being showcased from across the world, from traditional books and magazines to digital educational aids and educator-friendly software and everything in-between. Exhibitors also covered library-friendly services, museum maintenance services, industrial services and supplies, music, video and media products.

BookExpo provides a focused professional environment to discover emerging authors and the next blockbuster titles, engage with the world’s most influential publishers and learn from industry leaders and peers. It is followed by BookCon, a two day public event for fans of storytelling and pop culture.

Book Expo also aims to conduct business and network opportunities and analyse the latest trends through insights from booksellers, librarians, retailers, publishers, rights lawyers, licensing agents and associated industry professionals across the five continents and beyond, including Sharjah Book Authority, which represented a presence from the Middle East.

One of the main messages at the event was that the publishing industry is anxious to remain stable during otherwise turbulent times in terms of economics and potentially volatile demand. Delegates were given the optimistic news that sales of printed books are up modestly for the year so far and independent booksellers are expanding after decades of decline. Audiobooks are reaching new levels of popularity but the e-book market has softened to a degree where fewer people consider there to be a real danger of the written word dying out.
“When digital books were new, they were the shining penny. Everybody enjoyed them and bought stuff they never actually read,” said Simon & Schuster CEO, Carolyn Reidy. “The idea that everyone’s only going to read digital has kind of faded away.”

Shortly afterwards, Ms. Reidy introduced VIP speaker and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to talk to renowned American author Cheryl Strayed about politics, reading and what audiences can expect from her forthcoming book, which will be published by Simon & Schuster in the fall – Mrs. Clinton has written her latest memoirs but is still undecided on a title.

When asked at the end of the session what advice she might have for the first female president, she said: “Read my book. I want her to fully understand what she is getting herself into.”