The recent cancellation of BookExpo Canada (BEC) in Toronto has rocked the Canadian publishing industry. Scheduled for June 19-22, 2009, the event has been closed in an unprecedented move for the Toronto book fair. Hajni Blasko, an online book publicist and president of Substance Books Online Book Publicity, has cited the annulment as evidence of the decline in print media and the increasing dominance of online publications.
"The BEC cancellation really shows the rocky state of the Canadian publishing industry," Blasko said. "Authors, publishers, and booksellers can't rely on traditional promotional avenues anymore. Online book publicity is fast becoming the norm."
The cancellation was precipitated by the withdrawal of three major publishers from the Toronto book fair, forcing the close of BookExpo Canada. Formally announced in February, many speculate that the cancellation of the Toronto book fair will increase attendance to the upcoming BookExpo America, held in New York in May.
"The decision to close BEA Canada was not easy," said Greg Topalian, Senior Vice President of Reed Exhibitions. "But our primary focus has always been serving the needs of our customers and the market. Over the last 18 months, it has become clear that the dynamics of the publishing industry in Canada is no longer best served by a traditional trade event. Our focus on the publishing industry now centers on our event in New York and we look forward to serving the needs of our customers in North America most effectively with a singular event."
Blasko will be exhibiting at the New York book fair, but remains skeptical of the overall long-term effectiveness of events like BookExpo Canada (BEC) and BookExpo America (BEA). For Canadians and Americans alike, she asserts that promotional networks like Substance Books are stepping in as the next wave of online book publicity with Search Engine and Social Media Marketing. Blasko's company offers a variety of services, including promotional web design and site makeovers, search engine optimization, and a variety of other web-related services specifically geared towards authors and small publishers.
"Book expos are great for networking, and generally an important part of book publicity," Blasko said.
"But the real action nowadays is in online book publicity."
Hajni Blasko is an online book publicist specializing in Search Engine Marketing and Social Media marketing. She is president of Substance Books, Authors' Web Design, and Top Site Makeover.
For further information, see http://www.substancebooks.com/