Toy Fair, BookExpo to Cross-promote Shows

The American Booksellers Association and the Toy Industry Association (TIA) have agreed to cross-market their major annual exhibitions, BookExpo America and American International Toy Fair.

The next Toy Fair will take place Feb. 16-19 and the next BookExpo May28-31, both at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. Organizers at both shows say there is increasing crossover in their respective markets, with book retailers often carrying a wide variety of toys and games and toy stores typically having a large selection of children’s books.

“What book store does not carry toys, puzzles and games,” asks BookExpo Event Director Steven Rosato. "And the same for any toy store. They always have dedicated sections for books."

“The intention and spirit of the agreement is that this is a retail buyer expansion effort for each marketplace,” Rosato adds.

Cross-promotional efforts described in a statement include combined advertising and direct mail marketing to encourage participation in each show as well as admission privileges to the membership of the partnering association.

Both the toy and book industry have faced consolidation in recent years with different impacts on each show.

BookExpo has seen its showfloor and number of exhibitors decline—from about 250,000 net square feet and 1,600 exhibiting firms in 2008 to about 150,000 net sq. ft. and 1,000 exhibitors last year. However, it has managed to maintain attendance at around 10,000 to 11,000 qualified attendees.

Toy Fair, on the other hand, has seen some decline in qualified attendance—from around 18,000 in 2008 to 15,000 last year—but seems to have held steady on the size of its showfloor—at around 350,000 net sq. ft. and 1,000 exhibiting firms.

Rosato says there is no intention of ever collocating the two shows.

"The optimal timing on the calendar for both events and the fact that core needs of each show are vastly different," he says. "Any thought of collocating would be highly detrimental to the overall events."

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Posted by Michael Hart

Michael Hart is the executive editor of Expo. Reach him at mhart@accessintel.com.... View all articles by Michael Hart →