"Stacks of unsold books and glum publishers stood for three days inside the cavernous Dallas Convention Center this past weekend at the Christian Book Expo," reports book trade journal Publishers Weekly. The event, which organizers had hoped would draw 15,000 to 20,000 consumer attendees instead attracted only about 1,500.
The Christian Book Expo was a first-of-its-kind event. According to PW it was "designed to connect publishers and authors directly with readers in the evangelical Christian market." The intention was to increase awareness about the work of 238 Christian writers.
The event was two years in the planning – conceived long before the recent economic downturn.
But the PW piece also raises questions about the group's marketing strategy. Apparently there was a "minimal marketing budget" and the group relied instead on relationship building with "influential religious leaders" in Dallas.
It's not clear whether the show's planners will try again next year. “Viewed in total, the event was a major disappointment," Jeff Crosby associate publisher of evangelical publisher InterVarsity Press told PW.