CBC/CRE: If you can’t be there, follow the event stream #CBC09 #CRE09



This year’s Christian Booksellers Convention (May 12th – 15th 2009) combines with CRE (Christian Resources Exhibition) to explore the theme “Breaking the Mould – Embracing the Challenges of Change”. Can a trade show and a consumer show truly work side by side? One way to find out: be there!

But if you can’t be there, this year — for the first time in CBC’s history — you’ll still be able to follow some of what’s happening and join in live behind-the-scenes conversations via twitter.

To the best of my knowledge there is no ‘official’ CBC or CRE twitter presence, but as an increasing number of us embrace the challenge of this particular change, anyone can follow: either via twitter search (where you’ll find the odd post from the Craft Brewers Convention mixed in for good measure: they’re using the same hashtag) or via this tinker event stream, fed from twitter but with the Craft Brewers filtered out (just wish it was that easy to filter out another type of Brewer!!).

Tuesday’s Programme at CBC includes, amongst other things, Krish Kandiah from the Evangelical Alliance giving a keynote talk (whatever that is: I don’t think Krish knows either) at 2pm followed by a series of seminars and workshops and, to finish the day off, a Banquet and Awards Evening where the winners of this year’s CBC Awards will be revealed.

For those who are around during the day, I look forward to meeting and tweeting. Unfortunately I won’t be around for the evening: any fellow twitterers attending, I’m relying on you to tweet the results out, please!

5 thoughts on “CBC/CRE: If you can’t be there, follow the event stream #CBC09 #CRE09

  1. I’m probably wrong but I thought I had read somewhere that the CBC area at CRE was going to be upstairs in a badge only entry area for the first 2 days so that it was open to retailers only. I appreciate that other publishers would be in the normal exhibition areas but I thought the rest of the CBC publishers would be in a trade only section – at least for the first two days. Must have been wrong.
    My experience on Tuesday was of general confusion and lack of signage by any of the stairways. The upstairs CBC area was a mix of publishers and un-related services and when you approached a publisher stand they were often unsure how to react to us and seemed surprised to see a bookseller (and didn’t recognise the badge colour). (This isn’t just my comment but that of several booksellers I talked to on the day). Several stands upstairs were unattended at various times(probably because they were too busy selling books to the general public downstairs). This wasn’t true of all the publishers and some were genuinely pleased to see you and very pleased to show you product and take orders. And several publishers did offer to match all the promoted CRE prices being offered to the public. I missed the free books that we used to get at CBC. These used to be the ones that I ended up reading and then promoting in the shop. And I did miss the morning devotion and worhip at the start of the day that we used to have. (I went on Tuesday)
    Sorry to Cedar, Ritchie and Penfold – we didn’t find your display rooms (my poor sense of direction and lack of signs). When Jayne went yesterday she was stopped by an official at the bottom of the stairs who said there was nothing up there, only meeting rooms. However she persisted and eventually got up there and found them.
    On the plus side it was free and there was a free book on entry, but I don’t remember taking an hour to drive the last mile into Doncaster or Telford.
    It was good to see that Paul Walker has a new role.

    • It’s not your memory that’s playing up, Geoff: a separate trade-only area was definitely mentioned. Those higher up presumably changed their minds; but perhaps that was as well for the exhibitors: were there ever enough retailers there on any given day to have made it viable?

      Badges and signage: as you say. I didn’t find the hidden hospitality suites either, and I only found my way to the Steve Chalke’s Apprentice event because Ian Matthews kindly came and fetched me from the Zondervan stand. That said, it was an invitation-only do so wouldn’t have expected specific signage!

  2. I have to admit I pretty much agree with all Geoff says.
    It was disorganised and a mess. I twittered my first feelings on the way home from it, and a day later they remain the same.
    I don’t think I will be attending again if it’s in this style and format, nor to be honest it it’s in Esher as it just wasn’t worth it on the whole.

    I did go with an open mind as I love trade shows and CRE always seems interesting – a bit like a giant vocations day such as used to have at school in the gym, but this one just did not work.

    I was made to feel at times as if being trade was an anomoly and they weren’t quite sure what to do with us, and it felt very much on some stands that the important people were the punters buying the mega cheap deals from the tables on the day.

    NOW i know from good experience and essential livelihood that the important people are the punters buying the books on the table, they are important to the publisher as thats who they publish and produce the book for, the end user, the reader, -But they are really really important to me as they are my customers. It would be nice if some of the publishers and book suppliers felt that way about us – the booksellers, their customers – but what became much much clearer to me yesterday is that an awful lot of them don’t care about us at all really, we are in the way of the end user and they want all the share not just some.

    I do have to admit what keeps coming back to me was something that had bemused me about the last posting I read on the STLD blog dated exactly a week before my visit to CBC, it was the posting about them attending CBC. In it there was a slight mixed message, at the top they said they wanted to touch base with their customers,wanted to see them and talk over issues effecting our(their?the?) trade and more particularly talk about what STL have to offer, etc and as this was a very different CBC they wanted it to work for our benefit, so with trade in the middle of consumer they were taking a much smaller stand (and by gum they were not joking on that one!) but here’s where it got fun (or not) the reason for taking the much smaller stand?…’as we’ve no need or desire to promote ourselves to the retail customer.’

    erm sure but actually you aren’t promoting yourselves to me either like this – you could have put up a notice saying we only deal with BOOKSHOP TRADE ACCOUNTS! websites do it all the while! or like Cedar Trading and others you could have rented a hopsitality suite just for trade customers with all the usual stuff and selling and promotion we (well alright possibly it’s just I) expect and like at trade shows.

    Thanks for not wanting to sell to the end user but I actaully expect at a trade show to be engaged with, to trade and be encouraged and incentivised to trade and buy.

    And that is what was missing from this CBC.
    I was in one way or another majoratively sidelined for the end user, my customer. Just like in piggy in the middle I was left standing bemusedly whilst I watched the ball being tossed out and over my head and tried desperately to work out how to catch it and get back in the game.

    Now excuse me but is that a pink elephant in the room with us or what!

    Like Geoff I missed the free books and gifty bits – I am after all a bookseller because I love books and reading, and one on entrance just doesn’t quite hit the spot.

    Other than the fun of seeing friends and catching up with a few folks, it just doesn’t balance in the books of cost and time.

    A few honorable mentions though from me –
    The Authentic team and stand – I went past going to the goodbookstall.org.uk stand and to try to find mission nearly impossible places a fair few times and to pick up my freebies and they were always buzzing and smiling and welcoming.

    Cedar Tree (who after 3 losts I found!), friendly downstairs and kudos on the expense of a hospitality room for trade folk.

    CWR (and integrity in the trade area), Duncan was great, and the fact again that CWR went to the expense of having general and trade stands is also to be commended.

    Josie on CHP was also friendly and again made trade feel very welcome and not a hindrance, same goes for Raymond at SPCK.

    Mike on Redemptorist was perhaps the best, fully welcoming and totally receptive to trade even making good offers to continue after the show but then RP has always been pretty good in my books for their willingness to trade!

    Some of the gift and card people were also great, and the surprise of the day for me was a stand that wasn’t a CBC stand but do trade – infinite Crafts and Jewellery.
    Very welcoming and positive when asked about trade terms etc and they gave me my only other proper freebie of the day!

    So there we go that’s my feelings, on the whole I think I am better off just buying a show catalogue with all the ad’s and details in and making sure I am on everyones database for mail out and information and seeing or hearing from their reps, because believe me you need the reps as you aren’t doing so well at trade shows if this is anything to go by.

    As to networking well I think my money would be better spent meeting up in groups of bookshop managers over food and drink and hashing out lifes ill’s!
    So what say you all? manager meals perhaps twice a year, maybe on a bank holiday, we can even invite some publishers along?
    Alternatively I’ll keep twitter and blogs, after all that gives me information, a forum to discuss things, and instant support and understanding via twitter on the god/bad days.

    Talking of Blogs, mixed messages and CBC.
    Has anyone else noted that the STLD blog link on the STLD homepage now leads just to the latest news section?? and not to the blog? anyone know why that is, as if its because no one is there to deal at the minute all it really needs is a blog message to say that, rather than a total redirect away from the blog entirely.

    Ok thoughts purged, disengaging systems now.

  3. Pingback: CBC09: Worth its Weight in People #CBC09 #CRE09 « UKCBD: The Christian Bookshops Blog

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