By Paul Russo
The unexpected arrival and popularity of e-books within the past decade has caused many people to estimate that book fairs would become a thing of the past. However, e-books have not rendered book fairs entirely useless, nor have they completely eliminated the use of these unique meetings due to the continued use of technology. Instead, book fairs have had to essentially evolve in their methodology throughout the past few years. Generally speaking, individuals who love to read will continue to gather at these types of events regardless of what type of format they may be reading their content on.
What Sort of Content to Expect
In order to truly understand the role that e-books are able to fill within a book fair, it’s important to have some initial understanding of the industry in terms of writing and publishing. Although you’re not likely to see some of the top leading best sellers for e-books available at your local book fair, what you are more likely to encounter is a lot of e-books provided by start-up publishing companies and other related businesses.
A large majority of the releases that go immediately to e-book format are generally works that have been created and released by individual writers. The demand to create self-published work has increased greatly over the years because people have begun to realize that the writing industry is incredibly competitive; therefore, even if you have a wonderfully rich and thought-provoking story to tell, it’s highly unlikely that one of the more popular traditional publishing companies is going to pick it up and market it for you. As a result, most writers and amateurs have lent themselves to the use of self-publishing companies, which almost always (if not ‘usually’) prefer to publish these works in e-book format.
At a book fair, it’s not uncommon to see self-publishing companies themselves being exhibited at a nearby booth. The issue with many self-publishing companies is that they’re purely independent and will likely never become mainstream in comparison to more popularly advertised options; therefore, the only way that these types of companies are able to continue with their success and stay afloat is to market themselves to their main audience of writers and readers. For companies that have not yet been able to transcend into having their e-books sold for formats like Nook or Kindle, being able to provide their presence at local book fairs is a more solid way for them to promote the more popular works of their best authors while also helping to get their own name out to the rest of the crowd.
As an alternative, e-books also garner a presence at book fairs where individuals are seeking a more convenient and high-tech method for keeping track of their latest literary finds and purchases. Those who are more prone towards reading e-books may naturally dread the idea of having to carry the deadweight of heavier, traditional books. The decision to make e-books available at book fairs means that potential readers can visit the booths of promising authors, talk with other readers or writers, download their book of choice for a price lower than any paperback novel, and then proceed to repeat the process as many times as they want. The option is quicker, cheaper, more convenient, and ultimately more sustainable in a world that is aiming to become increasingly more paperless in order to focus on the positive impact of technology.
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Paul Russo has been writing articles about trade shows, book fairs, and displays  for over 15 years. When not writing, you can find Paul at home with his family or working on his upcoming e-book about how to network at trade shows.