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July 24 – July 31, 2008 Edition
Down By 17%
ORLANDO, FL/7/22/08–Attendance at the Christian Booksellers Association’s 2008 International Christian Retail Show this month fell by 17% over the previous year. Only 7,448 people attended the show, the lowest number since the 1980s. At its height in 1999, a record 14,694 people had participated. CBA membership has also fallen to 1,731 retail stores.
The number of exhibitors fell from 410 two years ago to 353 this year, despite strong Christian book sales. Thomas Nelson, the largest Christian publisher, and show regular Harlequin’s Steeple Hill and Love Inspired imprints, did not participate this year. Several publishers said they would not return next year because of low attendance and a lack of sales at the show.
CBA President Bill Anderson blamed the low turnout on the economy and high gas prices and airfares. He also said publishers needed to rethink their goals for the show, concentrating not so much on sales as on networking and exposure.
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