Over 75 years of book promotion experience.
Learn more about the history of this 75 year old book marketing company. Book promotions has been the most popular service provided by Combined Book Exhibit, Inc.
THE COMBINED BOOK EXHIBIT® is one of the most widely recognized and highly respected names in the publishing community. Working hard for over 70 years, CBE has earned a reputation based on an unconditional dedication to both the publishers it serves and the librarians and educators who depend upon it.
THE COMBINED BOOK EXHIBIT® was a concept born during the years of the Great Depression. This revolutionary concept thrived, and eventually it took the form of the company that would grow to become the industry’s premier showcase for an ever-expanding scope of publications to include not only books and periodicals, but also multi-media publications such as audio, video, and e-books.
Even though THE COMBINED BOOK EXHIBIT® has changed along with the industry and the market place from the days of the Depression to the hi-tech society of today, one thing has remained constant: its dedication to the philosophy behind the concept. CBE philosophy of providing publishers a means to reach potential purchasers and those potential purchasers with hands-on access to books and publications of all types proved to be strong enough to allow the company to change with the times and still be successful. But more importantly, it allowed CBE to stay focused on its main goal: providing a necessary link between publishers and the library industry.
During the Great Depression, books were precious and expensive commodities. Librarians were faced with the dilemma of increased demand from their patrons but severely decreased funds for new acquisitions. They were understandably reluctant to purchase newly published works sight unseen. What they needed was a way to see what was new, so they could make informed decisions in order to get the best works to help take their customer’s minds off of the troubling time.
Enter the first stage of the CBE. With the books of just a few generous publishers, a bus was loaded up to bring the books to the libraries. Now, those same reluctant and unfortunately uninformed librarians had an assortment of books at their fingertips. It wasn’t long before this ‘bookmobile’ got bigger and bigger, and traveled further and further. It logged more than 80,000 miles in its first four years alone, carrying its collections to libraries, schools, colleges, universities, and even booksellers throughout the country. Along the way, the bookmobile enlisted the active participation and support of some of the country’s most prestigious publishers and publishing associations who shared the dedication to the continuing development of the nation’s libraries. By 1933, there were no more “seats” on the bus! The traveling collection had outgrown the capacity of the bookmobile, and THE COMBINED BOOK EXHIBIT® as we know it today was born.
THE COMBINED BOOK EXHIBIT® made its debut at the American Library Association’s annual convention. In keeping with its name, the company took responsibility for exhibiting an extensive collection of books representing dozens of publishers. The publishers needed only to submit their books to CBE staff, and then the staff took over. Arrangements with the sponsoring body of the show, getting all of the books to the show, and the organization and staffing of the exhibit was handled by the CBE team. Each exhibit is set up fairly and organized logically so no favoritism is shown to any publishers, proving that all publishers are important, and welcome.
Showing the tremendous respect and knowledge the CBE had for libraries, that first show introduced another concept that would become a tradition and trademark that is still employed by THE COMBINED BOOK EXHIBIT’S staff today. Each exhibit that the CBE creates is not only attractive and convenient, but also comfortable. As if in a library, each THE COMBINED BOOK EXHIBIT® is a place to experience books and other published works free from intrusion or unwanted solicitation. Books and journals are on bookcases and special displays, with tables and chairs to encourage browsing and reading. Materials are arranged either using the Dewey Classification System, or alphabetically, and listed in an accompanying exhibit catalogue. Visitors to any THE COMBINED BOOK EXHIBIT® are invited to take time with the books on display, to help them make smart and informed decisions. And with the catalogue, they have the tools to contact the publishers when they have made their decisions.
THE COMBINED BOOK EXHIBIT’S past is full of highlights for what it has done for the publishing and book industries. The future is looking bright as well, as the CBE is constantly exploring new ways to bring books and published works to those who want them. Teaming up with BookExpo America in the U.S, and The London Book Fair overseas, THE COMBINED BOOK EXHIBIT® has helped create The New Title Showcase, showcasing new and upcoming works. Publishers, authors, agents and distributors are all welcome to showoff their new titles. It’s just another way THE COMBINED BOOKEXHIBIT® is helping both those who buy, and those who sell books.
THE COMBINED BOOK EXHIBIT® has grown from a traveling ‘bookmobile’ for those struggling to find new books, to a reputable and reliable resource for publishers and book consumers alike. CBE is one of the largest (if not the largest) exhibits at any show it attends, and is usually located in prime exhibit space and is always busy with the flow of customers and clients. In its over 70 year history, THE COMBINED BOOK EXHIBIT® has made itself an important member of the publishing community, always being sure to stick to the original philosophy that it was born on: provide publishers a means to reach potential purchasers and those potential purchasers with hands-on access to books and publications of all types.