Panels held throughout the May 28 to 31 weekend will touch on topics including print-on-demand and graphic novels and comics, but social media is a major talking point at this year's session. Several social media experts presented panels on how to harness social media on Friday morning, including Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business; and the authors of Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust: Chris Brogan and Julien Smith.
"Social media is the world's largest focus group," Qualman said in a panel called "How Social Media is Transforming the Way We Create, Publish, and Sell Books." He also explained how marketers should take time to listen and embrace feedback—both positive and negative.
Brogan added to that at the "Becoming an Agent of Trust: Publisher and Retailer Strategies for Harnessing Social Media Tools to Grow Communities" panel, showing the crowd how to use Twitter, videos, Google search, and blogs to interact and listen to consumers.
"People who use Twitter to broadcast are not using Twitter," he said, explaining that they just use it as another avenue to push out a message. "Twitter is about relationship building. When you choose to market via Twitter, you have to be human."
Held in New York at the massive Jacob Javits convention center, BEA allows industry professionals to discuss upcoming titles, showcase authors, and learn more about trends in the industry. Throughout the weekend, the show will also feature panels on reaching Boomers online, independent bookstores using social media, and how to reach teens and tweens online.