Despite spotty Wi-Fi, anxiety about publishing's future, and the appearance of an aged Rick Springfield, BEA was bustling on Wednesday. In the cavernous Javits center, galleys were distributed, deals were struck, catalogs thumbed through, and business cards swapped, with Wiley providing cups of free beer to help grease the wheels. The New York Times noticed a "certain frenzied feel," about the conference, while GalleyCat made the rounds at the day's book parties, affirming Harold Underdown's much repeated tweet: "After two hours of pushing through the crowds at #bea10, I have reached a simple conclusion: print book publishing is far from dead."
Folksy raconteur Garrison Keillor holds the opposite view: "Call me a pessimist, call me Ishmael, but I think that book publishing is about to slide into the sea;" Flavorwire has collected quotes responding to Keillor's Chicken Little moment.
"Some of us have wondered whether university presses were going to survive in the digital age," writes Stan Katz in The Chronicle of Higher Education, "but most universities have not abandoned their presses." Southern Methodist University Press suspended its operations, but others, such as Princeton University Press, are thriving. Inside Higher Ed's Scott McLemee reports that while many university presses are at this year's BookExpo, others are "rethinking how they approach the publishing industry's biggest shindig," noting that The University of California Press, Temple University Press, MIT Press, and The University of Chicago Press (among others) don't have booths this year.