Record Attendance at PrintMedia Expo
The economy is in a funk, ad sales are up marginally over last year, and publishing industry vendors are sweating every detail of every deal.
Yet against this gloomy backdrop, publishers and vendors remain surprisingly bullish on the future of print and publishing. That was the overriding buzz on the floor of the seventh annual PrintMedia Conference & Expo, which included the BookTech Conference & Expo, held at the New York Hilton in March.
Trade shows and events across industry sectors, including publishing, are struggling for survival. Some shut their doors. Others have dramatically cut back on the number of events they host.
Indeed, the promoter behind the computer industry's top show, Comdex, filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors last year. The same promoter, Key3Media Events Inc., also produces NetWorld+Interop, Seybold, and other events.
Bucking the trend: The PrintMedia/BookTech Conference & Expo, which saw attendance grow 10% over last year, to approximately 3,300. The number of exhibitors also increased 22%, to 153 total.
"The traffic was very good," says Mark Hertzog, group publisher for North American Publishing Company, in Philadelphia, the event's producer (NAPCO is the publisher of PrintMedia magazine). "The loyal exhibitors that have been with us for years were pleased, as were the new exhibitors."
Hertzog credits the show's better turnout to a new, broader agenda that incorporated three of NAPCO's other brands. This year, the show integrated the PrintMedia Conference & Expo, the BookTech Conference & Expo, the MagazineTech show, and the In-Plant Graphics Conference.
This combined approach took the established BookTech base, and further attracted people interested in print and advertising production, design, and workflow.
"[This] is one of the few shows that caters to the whole spectrum of the publishing and printing industries," says exhibitor Suzanne Mescan, VP of marketing for Progressive Information Technologies, in Emigsville, Pa. "It attracts the kind of publishing customers that printers, compositors, software, editorial, and other suppliers look for, more than any other trade show we go to."