FOLIO Show 2010 Review • Nxtbook Media

FOLIO Show 2010 Review

Written by Nxtbook Media

Just like that, the biggest magazine publishing show in the US is history, and much like the Holidays, you’re exhausted but fulfilled when it’s over. In no particular order, here’s what I learned at FOLIO 2010:

1) The industry is down but it’s far from out.
After skipping the show in 2009, FOLIO returned to New York this year. My back of the napkin math put traffic about 20% off from 2008, but as Tony Silber was quick to quip to anyone who’d listen, “It’s up 100% from 2009,” and you know what? He’s right.

The reality is that a FOLIO show that’s off by 20% still beats anything else the industry has to offer. As important, FOLIO coupled it with Audience Development, which for our money, was their weakest show. Call it a win-win.

So while some publishers stayed home, many more came and those that did were eager for answers and solutions. Once bright fellow I spoke with told me this was the first he’d come down in five or six years and he was learning a ton. Meanwhile we saw some other names and faced we hadn’t seen before showing up with teams of talent. Clearly, it was a very motivated and motivating crowd.

2) The line between editorial and sales is out. Integrated marketing services is in. Whether technology or an economy that requires creativity deserve the credit, there was mucho discussion about how to effectively involve sponsors in or around your content. This is a huge opportunity for everyone in our opinion, and truth is, Nxtbook Media’s been watching this shift for some time. Expect a special announcement about this in the coming weeks but it was good to see our hunch about the next big thing show up in many presentations.

3) Twitter. Twitter. Twitter. Not much to say about it other than a lot of people say you should do it. If you do, follow me.

4) City Running Tours is awesome, even at seven in the morning. This was the 2nd time Nxtbook Media sponsored this event, which gave industry professionals a 3-5 mile guided tour of New York’s finer sights. Though the nightlife made for some bleary eyes, we had a blast sponsoring the event and were thrilled to see so many of you there.

5) The iPad might be too good for it’s own good. This was the first time we took an iPad to an event and for many publishers, it was the first time they’d seen one. It was interesting how a publisher could go over mildly interested in being on the device to gotta-do-it-now after playing with it for a few minutes. On one hand, this is good: you can easily get your Nxtbook on it and most customers have it bundled with their package. On the other hand, iPad enjoyment seems to be a slippery slope toward app over-investment and it’s one that we want to help publishers accomplish in a way that makes sense for their business model.

6) When NYC union workers say not to take your booth apart until union labor shows up, they’re not kidding. Really.

7) I knew that Dan Blank was at FOLIO and I hoped to meet him. I never did, though someone told we were sitting at the same table once and I didn’t even realize it, probably because I’ve never seen him in real life size.

 8) Lab coats inspire conversation. We knew that choosing to wear lab coats in our “eReader lab” would be interesting, but I didn’t realize how many medical questions you get when you put them on. Plus, did you know there are slits in the side to get to your pants pockets? I had no idea.

9) Either we have the coolest customers or only our cool customers go to FOLIO. I love — LOVE — when a publisher walks up to our booth and says they’re a customer and they like working with us, and then getting to learn about what they’re doing to grow readership and revenue and what they’re looking to do next. While finding new business is a critical element to any tradeshow, FOLIO has always been our best place to see existing customers, too, and this was a major reason we were sad to see the show cancelled last year.

10) You’re confused about a lot of this mobile stuff. Don’t worry, so are we but we can figure this out together. I was fortunate enough to give a presentation where I outlined 7 up and coming eReader devices and where they may or may not fit into your mix depending on the realities of your organization. Though we’ve riffed about each of these devices in the blog or in our eReader guide, this seemed to be the best way we’ve found to make this conversation most relevant for you.  That being the case, we’d like to welcome you to a special webinar presentation of Screen Wars Thursday June 17th at 2pm. Many of the publishers who attended this presentation felt it really gave them a great view of the eReader landscape, so we’re going to take the same presentation and go online with it.

Please note: this particular presentation is intended for existing customers who are invited to monthly webinars. Typically, we don’t open these up to prospects, but because we really feel this content struck an important nerve, we’re going to let anyone who wants beyond the Nxtbook customer curtain.