2009 Denver Christian Retail Show (ICRS)

For those who follow Christian publishing, some news about ICRS  (International Christian Retail Show) 2009, held July 12-15 in Denver.

Publishers Weekly reported,

A lot of cards got exchanged as people got down to business at the 60th annual show for the Christian publishing and retail industry, despite a 20% drop in attendance from 2008. Professionals (non-exhibitors) in attendance numbered 1,903; international attendees from 56 countries totaled 534, down 28% from last year.

Next year ICRS will be held June 27-30 in St. Louis. [CBA president Bill] Anderson said the Midwestern location would make it more accessible for a majority of Christian retailers; he also estimated that 40 to 50 companies not at this year’s show would attend next year; this year’s dates conflicted with a gift show in Atlanta. And at least one publisher exhibitor plans to increase space next year. “We are planning our biggest year ever in 2010 and will need a larger presence to showcase our upcoming products,” Rolf Zettersten, publisher at FaithWords, told PW in a post-show e-mail. “The Denver show was a positive experience and encourages me about the future.

For authors and potential authors, these observations by literary agent Rachelle Gardner are informative:

- In fiction, regardless of genre, almost every editor told me they’re looking for strong female protagonists. This is particularly true in historical and historical romance. No wimpy women!

- Also in fiction, they seem to want characters in interesting locations and unique occupations that will add to the story.

- In non-fiction, the platform issue is important to all publishers but they don’t all treat it the same. Some look at platform as the primary consideration; others are more willing to consider an author with a beginning platform if they have a terrific concept and great writing.

- In fiction and non-fiction, many publishers are actively looking to publish more “fresh voices” which means new authors.

- It looks like the CBA is finally opening up to more memoir (catching up with the general market). I had great response to a couple of the memoirs I’m representing, which makes me really happy because I love memoir!

- While the ICRS show (like BEA) is shrinking, the atmosphere seemed really positive across the board. All the publishers I met with are eager to see new projects. While they seem to be acquiring slightly fewer projects than, say, two years ago, they’re still excited about whatever’s next.

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What Went Wrong with General Motors – A Short History

GM F platform
Image via Wikipedia

Here’s a nice piece from The Week describing how GM slid from industry dominance to near bankruptcy.  One early success was appealing to every segment of the market.

Chevrolet, said a GM executive, was “for the hoi polloi, Pontiac for the poor but proud, Oldsmobile for the comfortable but discreet, Buick for the striving, and Cadillac for the rich.” GM also produced many of the innovations that would come to define the modern automobile, including power steering and power brakes, independent suspension, and automatic transmission. And significantly, GM was the first auto company to change its cars’ features and styling almost annually—instilling in Americans the habit of replacing their cars every few years. With GM factories turning out cars in virtually every price range, sales soared, and by the 1950s, more than half the vehicles on America’s roads were GM-made.

The unions played a significant role in the eventual downfall.

The unions were slow to moderate their demands in response to competitive challenges. They resisted the closure of unneeded factories and pressured GM to create a “jobs bank” that paid laid-off workers up to 95 percent of their salary and benefits. But you can’t blame the workers for management’s arrogance and complacency. Finance executive Nancy Rottering, who quit in frustration in 1987, said the attitude at headquarters was, “We’re GM. We know everything, we don’t need to change.” Executives were literally walled off from the rest of the company behind the double electronic doors to the 14th floor of GM’s Detroit headquarters. They entered the building through a private basement garage and took their gourmet meals in private dining rooms. They rarely interacted with customers or even their own dealers, who knew firsthand their customers’ likes and dislikes.

The entire story is interesting, and unfortunate.

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