Do Book Fests Translate to Significant Sales for Publishers?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

Today’s lead article looks at the upcoming Brooklyn Book Festival and its embrace of international authors. In the past decade book festivals have become a featured event of the calendar year in many communities, particularly around the United States. But as the number of festivals proliferate, authors are increasingly in-demand to make appearances around the country. Sometimes festivals pay an honorarium for appearances of travel expenses, but more often than not, the author is asked to appear for free and the publisher to shoulder the promotional burden (many festivals are limited to including authors already on tour).

From the publishers side, festivals can be a mixed-blessing. The authors may attract a new audience, unfamiliar with their work, but unlike a stand-alone event where the author is the sole featured attraction, at a festival they are one among many — sometimes hundreds — of others. With so many author events — and, consequently, books — to choose from, it can be difficult for a festival goer to decide what to commit to see or buy.

Personally speaking, my experience has been that I often end up purchasing more books than I anticipated. Others I know, having experienced a bit of “author overload” limit themselves to one or two titles they want to have signed.

What do you think: Do book fests translate into significant sales for publishers?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.