First Christian Book Expo Confirms Over 150 Authors

Over 150 authors are confirmed to attend a first-of-its-kind event for the Christian publishing industry that will be held next year in Dallas.

Authors including Henry Blackaby, Ruth Graham, Max Lucado, and Lee Strobel will be among the thousands expected to attend the inaugural Christian Book Expo, sponsored by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) and slated for Mar. 19-22, 2009. The open-to-the-public event, first announced last May, is inviting publishers, ministries, authors and booksellers to take part in the exhibition and will include author-led workshops, seminars, mini-events and evening programming.

"We're delighted to have passed the milestone of 100 authors committed to attend Christian Book Expo 2009," expressed ECPA President Mark Kuyper in an announcement. "The breadth of genres represented by these authors – from fiction to theology to children's books and business titles – hints at the variety of experiences book lovers will enjoy at CBE."

ECPA created the Christian Book Expo to directly connect with their core market – anybody making or influencing book buying decisions. Though Christian products will be sold to consumers at the Christian Book Expo, Kuyper says event sales are not the goal of Christian Book Expo Dallas 2009.

"We are trying to build future retail sales," he reported. "Our goal is for awareness and exposure."

"Reaching the consumer is essential to the future of Christian publishing," Kuyper continued. "Our goal with the Christian Book Expo is to connect the top authors from across the country with core customers from the region. We are dedicated to reaching the largest audience possible with the life-changing message in books, Bibles and other Christian resources."

Support for the event is widespread across the industry.

Michael S. Hyatt, president and chief executive officer at Thomas Nelson and chairman of the ECPA Board, believes this consumer-oriented event will provide significant opportunities to enhance the audience for religious books.

"I think that ECPA's Christian Book Expo will provide a[n] … opportunity for authors, retailers, and consumers to come together in a way that creates excitement for anyone who loves books," Hyatt said. "And for Thomas Nelson, we believe this event will be a positive experience for both our authors and our retail partners. We are committed to making this event a success."

Bob Hawkins, president of Harvest House Publishers, meanwhile believes the Christian Book Expo "presents an ideal venue for evangelical book enthusiasts (professional and end users, alike) to connect with one another and a great many authors."

More than 20 Harvest House authors will attend Christian Book Expo.

ECPA is marketing the three-day Expo to Dallas-area pastors, lay leaders, Christian ministry workers, counselors, retailers and influential consumers.

"Dallas was the natural choice for the first-ever Christian Book Expo," explained Kuyper. "There are more mega churches in the Dallas metropolitan area than any other city in the country and thousands of Christian book buyers call Dallas home."

Many author groups will be represented at CBE, including Chi Libris, American Christian Fiction Writers, Advance Writers and Speakers Association, the Christian Writers Guild, and scores of self-published authors as well as agents.

ECPA's Kuyper is urging exhibitors to confirm booth space early so they don't miss out.

"If the trend continues we will have to go back and book more space," he reported.

For the Christian Book Expo, ECPA has secured more than 389,000 square feet at the Dallas Convention Center, 100,000 of which is designated for exhibit floor space.

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