Christian Retailing

Positive reception for resurrected ECPA event Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 11:00 PM America/New_York

Resurrected after a four-year hiatus, Evangelical Christian Publishers Association's (ECPA) Publishing University (PUBu) received a positive reception this fall from Christian publishing professionals.

Held Oct. 22-23 at Wheaton College outside Chicago, PUBu12 drew 195 attendees.

Attendees were "very upbeat," ECPA President and CEO Mark Kuyper told Christian Retailing. "They seemed to be excited to connect with each other and learn."

Citing economic turbulence within the Christian product industry, ECPA moved PUBu from a physical event to multiple online webinars in 2009. The last time PUBu was held in Chicago was in 2008, attracting 175 professionals and featuring 10 tracks.

"We knew in 2008 that publishers would slash training and travel budgets when the economy fell apart, and [so we] waited until they told they were ready to send their staff to PUBu again," Kuyper said. "We relaunched with four key communities rather than 10, and we limited the event to an evening networking reception and a single day of sessions rather than two days of sessions.

"Most sessions were also led by community leaders rather than outside speakers," he added. "We also held the event at Wheaton College instead of a hotel, which provided an ideal classroom setting and reduced costs dramatically."

There was no overall theme for PUBu12, but its "four communities" focused on marketing, editorial, rights and licensing, and production.

"The expanded goal for the communities is that they will provide opportunities for our members to connect through our socially networked site to share articles, white papers, forums, pictures throughout the year, as well possible webinars or other creative learning options," Kuyper said.

Bailey Utecht, an editorial assistant at Moody Publishers, said the event was "a unique and invaluable resource for publishing professionals."

"For me, the highlight of PUBu was observing the differences in how different publishers do their work and evaluating our publishing house in light of those observations," she said.

Read the full report in the January issue of Christian Retailing.