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Congress Expo: First impressions last forever

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Jessica Clark, with contributions from Emily Rothwell, Christina Vecchiato, and Aleks Wrobel

I still remember the first time I participated in Congress Expo. It was 2008, and I was exhibiting with the University of Ottawa Press. Congress was at the University of British Columbia that year and it was only my second time visiting Vancouver.

Needless to say, I was awed. Rows upon rows of books to peruse. Publishing colleagues from all over the country to meet. Scholars and authors to talk to.

This year, as the coordinator of the Expo I had the pleasure to meet three young publishers from Penguin Random House and Harper Collins who were all attending Congress for the first time.

After everything was over, I wondered how they found their first Congress. Here’s what they told me:

“Congress was such a great opportunity to speak with professors directly. I was surprised by how many academics took the time simply to chat with me about our books – thanks to these talks, I wrote down nearly as many titles to read myself as I recommended to others! As someone new to academic conferences, I was curious to see which books would get the most attention. One of our bestselling titles was J.R.R. Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf, thanks to the enthusiastic Medievalists.”
— Emily Rothwell, Academic Sales Coordinator, HarperCollins

“I had such a fantastic time at Congress 2014. Working with the Brock University Bookstore to connect with professors and students over the week was such a great experience. As a trade publisher, we sort of stand out among the more academic and university presses. With the prices of text and reference books, trade publishers can help to keep the market competitive, while still providing affordable and relevant alternatives to students and professors. I can't wait for Congress 2015! I'm so looking forward to sharing more fantastic books and ideas with the delegates.”
— Christina Vecchiato, Field Sales Representative, Penguin Random House

“This year marked my introduction to the world of Congress. As a representative from Penguin Random House I was really looking forward to meeting with academics and find out what they were reading and assigning their students to read. In turn, I was excited to talk about the new books I thought had great academic potential. And with academics the topic of ‘new and exciting books’ is never a difficult one to broach.  I think that trade publishers have an amazing opportunity at academic conferences to share new voices from the publishing world. I’m looking forward to my next Congress where I can meet even more people.”
— Aleks Wrobel, Sales Coordinator, Penguin Random House

Thanks ladies! I’m glad that you had a great experience at Congress 2014, and that you’re already looking forward to Congress 2015 at the University of Ottawa.

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Congress of the Humanities and Social SciencesCongress 2014