A Parallel Between Wireless Connectivity And Publishing

May 19th, 2006 · 4 Comments
by Booksquare

Not that we’re the type to complain*, and we’re going to be talking more about this as we get our thoughts in order (one thought, we have discovered, got on the wrong train last night and is somewhere in Virginia — as the rest of the thoughts are safe in Maryland [it turns out the states on this side of the country are really close together], we need to wait for its arrival)..where were we?…ah, thoughts, thinking, complaining.

Okay, so we are at BookExpo America. It is, and there is no other way to describe this, a big-ass conference. You cannot, from the safety of your home, totally comprehend the size of this event. We cannot, from the Washington D.C. Convention Center, totally comprehend the size of this event. By all accounts, it’s only going to get bigger before it gets smaller.

Now for our complaint — as you all know, the year is 2006, and it is reasonable in this day and age to expect instant and, well, free access to wireless at trade events. Yet — and we kid you not — the Convention Center seems to think that $49.95 a day is a reasonable price to pay for a wireless Internet connection. Seriously. $49.95.

Sure, you can go by the hour ($4.95), but what planet are we on here, people? That’s an outrageous amount to charge. Obscene, really. We have heard rumors that nearby hotels are having wireless issues; we’re happy to report that things seem to be quite stable in Maryland.

Why should you be thinking about this when you are safely at home, reading this via your speedy wireless connection? Because, in a way, the expensive and sometimes iffy wireless connection being suffered by conference attendees offers a cool parallel to the publishing industry’s approach to the Internet.

Though we all long for a return to a simpler time (no, we don’t know what this means — it’s like the crack of dawn or something), the fact of the matter is that the Internet is a part of how Americans today do business and conduct their personal lives. It is no longer a novelty. Which means the Washington D.C. Convention Center and the publishing industry need to wake up and realize that easy access to information is not a dream of the future. It’s now.

* – Lie. Total and complete fabrication.

[tags]BEA, BookExpo America, wireless, publishing[/tags]

File Under: The Future of Publishing

4 responses so far ↓

  • SusanGable // May 19, 2006 at 5:41 am

    Holy moly, that IS outrageous! I guess they feel like they have you over a barrel, so you’ll pay what they demand. But wow.

    Can’t wait to hear more from you on the BEA. Miss Snark said authors should NOT attend BEA, so I’ll be interested to know what your take is on that after being there.

  • Tom Barllow // May 21, 2006 at 7:15 am

    Unfortunately, when you enter the world of exposition halls you find a long line of people with their hands out. A vendor can’t carry much other than their briefcases into the Javits Center in NY without being stopped by the union. An electrician has to hook up your overhead lights. If you arrange landline services for credit card processing or internet access, you pay through the nose.
    No wonder the cell phone companies are doing so well selling internet access.

  • Booksquare // May 21, 2006 at 2:38 pm

    We were recently in Austin for South By Southwest, and not only did the convention center have free and easy wireless, but the entire city has an initiative to create a wireless network (this, I believe is a grassroots project, not an official one).

    But you’re right that there’s a long line of hands out for money in these endeavours. Which is a shame.

    Susan — more on the authors attending idea later, but Miss Snark has never been wrong.

  • Mia Zachary // May 21, 2006 at 5:59 pm

    Hi, k2

    I was at BEA yesterday, signing at the Harlequin booth. I/Hq gave away about a box and a half of my books, I met some new people that I hope will read said book and turn into readers of my next book- for which I handed out postcards with the website address duly noted onthe bottom.

    Because I was one of the few autors in the lines she edits who attended, I ended up having a very pleasant 2.5 hour lunch with an Hq Executive Director. She offerd some career advice, I bluntly asked some questions and got answers and we left on quite good terms.

    So, I feel that attending was a good idea and more than worth spending my day and $22.00 for an Amtrak ticket. Not sure why some people think authors shouldn’t go?