So, last week, I flew up to the Chicago area to attend and speak at RBTE – the Religious Bookseller’s Trade Exhibition.
- Shrinkage. I haven’t been to this show in perhaps five years, but boy, has it shrunk. I’d say it’s 2/3 the size it used to be.
- Which is not surprising. Even the massive CBA has downsized in recent years.
- Why? Same problems, rehashed here and elsewhere endlessly. No one knows how to sell books anymore – everyone’s at sea – publishers and booksellers alike. What will people pay to read anymore? Who knows? Also: a bad economy discourages booksellers from spending the money to attend a trade show when they can just browse a publisher’s web catalog and save a lot of money. It’s not the same, I know, but when you are barely making it, that’s the choice you’ve got to make.
- Saw many old friends and acquaintances from OSV and Loyola and met folks I’d previously only met online: Patty Mitchell of Word Among Us, Barbara Baker and Mark Lombard of Franciscan, one of my Living Faith and Creative Communications editors, Paul Pennick, and, of course...Hallie Lord!
- Spent some pleasant hours conversation and a meal with the good folks from Image Catholic, including my intrepid and patient editor, Gary Jansen, who introduced me at my luncheon talk.
- Life goes on.
Every day this week, I’ll highlight one of the books or other resources that struck me as particularly good…so come back and check that out!