The Western Publishing Association tried a new approach, but got the same result.

The group announced that it has postponed its annual conference originally scheduled for April 26 in Los Angeles. Jane Silbering, executive director of the WPA, cites lagging registration as the primary reason for the decision.

"We felt that we were not getting significant enough registration to warrant moving forward," she says. "The signs led us to believe we would not reach the goals we had set."

Organizers relaunched the event as a one-day conference in 2012 after a three-year hiatus, but attendance was sparse, according to a report from the conference. Silbering says about 100 industry professionals came last year and that fewer were expected in 2013. Prior WPA conferences, held over two days, had attracted a "significantly higher" amount of attendees and sponsors, she adds.

The Maggie Banquet, the WPA’s annual awards program typically following the day-long conference, will be held as scheduled.

Plans for rescheduling the conference are undetermined, but Silbering hopes to hold it later this year. Decisions are pending approval of the WPA board which meets next in May.

"We hope to come back this year," she says, "but there’s nothing positive yet."

The association had changed its conference format this year by adding more education sessions in accordance with industry research and survey data, but potential registrants were unresponsive.

"The on-site conference market and the new generation that an association like ours is trying to reach are not connecting," she says. "The way that they obtain education and the time they have and the resources that are available to them are so widely different than they were five years ago."

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