Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Baffling Decision by RootsTech 2012

In a totally baffling move, RootsTech 2012 has apparently banned genealogical studies, book publishers, book resellers or arts and crafts dealers from being represented at the RootsTech Conference. This includes long-time genealogy supporter and book seller Family Roots Publishing Company. See Leland Meitzler's blog post Book Venders Banned from the RootsTech Exhibit Hall.

I assume this also applies to BYU Bookstore's print-on-demand Express Book Machine that was represented last year. What about Software vendors that also sell books? Does this mean that Legacy Family Tree, RootsMagic and Ancestral Quest, all of whom both publish and sell books, will not be able to sell their books? Because Family Roots Publishing that sells both books and software, has the word "publishing" in its name, does that make it less of a "tech" seller than Legacy Family Tree and RootsMagic who both sell books as well as software?

Apparently, book selling, publishing and genealogy are not high tech enough for RootsTech. They are forgetting the "Roots" part of RootsTech. It is looking less and less about genealogy and more and more about Technology. As Leland points out in his blog post, many of the books he sells deal directly with technology. For my own part, since Family Roots Publishing has been selling my own book, The Guide to FamilySearch Online, it means that this book will not be available at the conference. The application for being an exhibitor at RootsTech says, "RootsTech exhibit hall is for technically related products and services. We are purposefully not accepting applications from book publishers or arts and crafts dealers." This statement is interesting given the fact that there are presentations listed in the schedule about publishing eBook online and self-publishing. If you do the publishing yourself it is "techy" but if you have someone help you it is not?

I guess I am extremely puzzled at the logic behind limiting vendors at all at the Conference. Does that mean that there will be no genealogy related booths at the conference at all?

I hope I am not endangering my status as a RootsTech Official Blogger by speaking out, but I am baffled by the distinction being made.


  1. We had the same experienceLeland describes! On Friday we finally received an email from Gordon Clark of Roots Tech, almost identical to the one you got. We were equally shocked.
    First, because our firm, Stories To Tell, provides editing and book design services, not book publishing – a technical service requiring book design software. Second, because RootsTech thought we were “technical” enough to have us teach a class “Self Publish Your MS Word Book Like a Pro” In addition, the RootsTech Program Committee contacted us November 15th to see if we would be willing to present another class as a lab. We said we would.
    We had sent in an exhibitor application at the RootsTech Booth at the California Family History Expo in early October. The RootsTech staffer at the Expo told us that we would hear from somebody from RootsTech within “a couple of weeks.” When we didn’t hear from anyone, we sent an inquiry on October 26th. We got no response. Finally, on December 8th, we sent another email inquiry and got Mr. Clark’s curt and dismissive reply the next day. We immediately telephoned to discuss the situation as Mr. Clark had invited us to do. Guess what. No reply. We are still hoping to speak with Mr. Clark.
    We, like you, are shocked by RootsTech’s misguided policy. To suggest that books aren’t an essential part of the tech world is simply to deny reality.
    Let’s hope that reason will prevail and RootsTech will reverse this ill-considered decision.
    Good luck Leland!
    Is there anyone else at RootsTech to appeal to? There must be a more sympathetic and knowledgeable person at Family Search who understands the importance of written information!

  2. Reminds me of the library I heard of that was dumping all the books getting computers and only having computers and on line sources no books.

    Someones lost a few screws it seems. Or more like lost a few words.