Trade Show News

January 8, 2020 •
Gifts, stationery and books complement each other at BookExpo 2020

{Sponsored} Gift and stationery shops are already stocking book-related merchandise, but the books that inspire those imprint T-shirts, journals, jewelry and games are often hard to find. “The gift industry seems afraid of bringing books into the store,” said Kim Saltzstein, head gift buyer at Changing Hands in Tempe, Arizona. However, books can be top sellers for gift and stationery stores.

“Most of these retailers rely on gift shows for their book buying. This means they are seeing only a fraction of the books available, missing the chance to meet the key players in publishing — and likely are not meeting authors, hearing from the editors and other industry personalities who are responsible for and excited about these new fall titles.” said Jenny Martin, BookExpo Event Manager. “What’s more, at gift shows, they can’t access coveted Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) and the many other early releases unveiled at BookExpo.”

When working on a gift display to complement books at Changing Hands, Saltzstein appreciates how BookExpo and the new co-located UnBound, which features lifestyle bookish goods, showcase the items that allow her to tie together the books with on-trend gifts

Author panel at BookExpo 2019

After BookExpo 2019, Saltzstein added items back into stock that were previously discontinued — and they sold out. “Getting to see the incredible publishers, gift books, and to be able to see how they tied into whatever genre story you have was really eye-opening,” Saltzstein said.

Saltzstein also appreciates the networking opportunities she has at BookExpo with all of the major publishers and vendors. They provide insight into trends they are seeing in book buying and what may be the next hot title. Plus, they offer merchandising inspiration based on how they’ve designed their booth.

Norman Laurila, book manager for retail at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, shares in the appreciation for the time spent with book representatives. “We really enjoy seeing all of our vendors in a couple days and visiting and catching up. We see representatives from 90% of our vendors season by season,” Laurila said.

Book-related products at BookExpo2019

With this close contact, Laurila enjoys individual attention from book representatives throughout the year. Since he is local to the show, it is a great opportunity to get in front of publishers he works with annually, as well as to keep an eye out for new publishers.

“Those who have never been [to BookExpo] need to stop and think about how many representatives visit them, how they discover new things, are all publishers sending catalogs? Are they seeing reps? Otherwise, they’re missing out on a lot,” Laurila said.

Outside of the exhibits, BookExpo presents important educational sessions on and off the show floor with exciting speakers. Saltzstein appreciates the

An intimate conversation with Justice Sonia Sotomayor at BookExpo 2019

interactive style of the sessions, as the panelists keep the discussion organized and the audience feels they are part of the conversation, even when not asking questions directly. With stages for some of these discussions housed directly in the exhibit hall, “BookExpo has an open format, so no matter where you are at show, you were able to hear or sneak a peek at [the educational sessions]. You don’t have to go off into another area,” Saltzstein said.

With the great depth and variety of books to see and publishers to meet, as well as stimulating educational sessions and events, a trip to BookExpo is sure to bring opportunities for gift and stationery retailers to find their new top sellers.

For more information about BookExpo, visit


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