Friday, May 22, 2009

Why BookExpo America is not going greener? is going green only a luxury of the (relatively) good days?

BookExpo America (BEA) will begin next Thursday (May 28) in NYC. This is the largest book industry event in North America with over 1,500 exhibitors from 37 countries, and one of the largest gatherings of English language publishers in the world. We'll be there as well!

The BEA will also have special industry and author events, including some green content. But this year the green content is much more limited in comparison with last year, and we're wondering why is that? is going green only a luxury of the (relatively) good days? is no longer relevant during economic recession?

If you recall Eylon's reports from last the 2008 BEA in Los Angeles, there were several panels about green issues, including Buying, Packaging & Publishing Green Books: The Publishers' Perspective,
Environmental Trends: Where Does the U.S. Book Industry Stand Today?, Investing in a Sustainable World: How the Green Revolution will Create New Industries, Opportunities, Economies and Fortunes, and so on.

This year there's only one - Publishing Green: A Recipe for Success in Tough Times. This panel will be held on Saturday, May 30 between 9:30-10:30. The participants will be
Todd Pollak, Program Manager, Green Press Initiative (moderator), Steve Geck, Exec Editor, Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins, Charles Melcher, founder, Melcher Media and Pete Datos, Vice President, Strategic Planning & Publishing Operations, Hachette Book Group.

So why we see a reduction in the number of the panels? what happened to the green spirit that we thought was ruling last year's BEA? my guestimation is that in times where the industry is struggling to keep its head above the water, discussions on green issues look a little bit less relevant or maybe even unrealistic, as going green may be associated with increased costs.

BUT, is it true?

Well I guess the participants in the panel will provide some answers from their own experience, so it would definitely be worthwhile to attend the panel. Other than that the book industry in many ways is no different than most of the industries, and therefore the basics of how going green can benefit a business apply here.

And these benefits include:

Driving revenues up

2. Enhancing intangible value

3. Cutting costs

4. Reducing risk

It actually looks like in times like these, such benefits are actually more important and more attractive. Who wouldn't like now to drive revenues up of cut costs? and if it helps the environment at the same time, creating win-win solutions that's even better! That's I guess the same logic President Obama sees in his policy to promote green solutions.

So in all, it seems like going green can be the remedy or at least a significant part of it. And with the upcoming regulation that will put price tag on carbon emissions, it looks like there will be even more economic reasoning why going green and reducing your carbon footprint is the right thing to do. Some in the industry already move forward in this direction.

But general observation is not enough and the burden of proof is still on our shoulders - can you do well by doing good? can you create shared value benefiting both your business and the environment/society? we think the answers are YES and following the BEA we intend to get more into the benefits we presented above and provide you with more specifics on how you can gain them by going green.

We will start with bringing you updates and news from the BEA and of course from the green panel we mentioned. So stay tuned and let us know what you think about this issue. We'll be happy to receive your feedback!

Raz @ Eco-Libris