As a librarian in a municipal library setting, I very much look forward to the Book Expo of America (BEA) in New York City, New York each year. It is the largest industry wide convention of book publishers, vendors, literary agents, literature bloggers, librarians and retail bookshoppe owners in North America. It is a place to network and learn about what is new and up and coming trends in the literary world for the coming year. Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) are abound here. Give away promotional items are all but thrown at participants in the efforts to market the latest books coming to the market. Dare I suggest that it can be a carnival atmosphere?
While BEA is open for three days to those in the book industry , such as librarians, the following weekend it is open to the public under the umbrella of BookCon.
My staff and I are eager for Book Expo of America in New York City. We view it as a professional development activity. We learn about newly released books for our library collection, we speak to authors, have books signed. It is a celebrity nerd fest for those in the literary world. Thank you to the New York Library Association for providing bus transportation into the city for this event.
A handful of my staff attended the Expo with me. Lisa, my programmer (who treated the whole event as if it were Christmas), my Children’s programmer, Mary and a former employee, Jenn, took the day off from her school librarian job to enjoy the event with us.
Honestly. I have never seen anyone so excited about a professional development opportunity. Not only did Lisa bring a rolling suitcase, but bought a new outfit. Yes, indeed, this was her Christmas.
Upon picking up our expo badges, we then entered the exhibition hall of the Javitts Center. Lisa, pinched my arm and made a contorted face, motioning to the gentleman who passed us. As we followed , I realized who it was: adult fiction writer James Patterson. He graciously agreed to an impromptu photo.
We stopped in the Librarian’s Lounge area, to get our bearings and have a nosh on a bagel while we plotted out our plan of attack. Schedules were drawn up of which author was appearing when and where and which of our group was to go off and where to meet up. Logistics planned out. Our day’s timetable was akin to military strategy. While we accepted that we would not be able to see and do everything, we voted on the important signings to attend.
Below are some of the expo’s highlights.
Apparently, adult coloring books are hugely popular this year, with many publishing houses offering a variety of designs. The interest in adult coloring books is driven by a desire to foster creativity and a recognized need to ‘unplug’ from technology.
Jenn was tickled to visit a Pete the Cat display, because who doesn’t love Pete the Cat?
We found the Monstrous Book of Monsters on display. It was ferocious. (This is a Hogwarts reference that only Harry Potter fans will truly appreciate.)
I was tickled to meet up with Phil Springstead, of Feather Ink Press, a division of IPG. Not only is Phil a talented publisher of and including sports books, he is also a fellow Canuck and father to three of my of my former Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School students in Bradenton, Florida.
I then toured the exhibition area, wandering around judiciously picking up items and ARCs , limiting myself to only what I can carry.
Lisa and I loved this young adult literature publisher’s booth. It was pink and very girly, reflecting the new Madison K. book series they were promoting. Lisa was enamored with the purses on display. And I found a book which my Miss Lilly (the Potwin kitty) would approve of at a neighboring publisher’s booth.
I was particularly excited to find cut outs of the Potwin’s favorite football team Super Bowl members. I am even more excited to know that both Gronkie and Tom Brady have books out, though wonder if they will be appropriate in our Lagrange Library collection……we live in New York Giant’s territory after all. However, Good to be Gronk would be a fun Christmas gift for Mr. Potwin.
We popped out to Dean and Deluca for a quick bite. It was a taxi cab ride there and a walk back in the lovely afternoon sunshine.
I was fortunate to meet Oliver Jeffers, Caldecott winner and illustrator of the upcoming Eoin Colfer book , Imaginary Fred.
There were periodic returns to the baggage check to dump collected items into Lisa’s suitcase. Many other participants brought their rolling suitcases to manage their collected books and other items.
Yes, it truly was a carnival atmosphere. While we did not meet Jeff Kinney this year, we did enjoy the photo booth at the Abrams Publishing booth. After meeting him last year , by happens chance, we knew that it would be pushing our luck to meet him two years running.
We also met Brandon Mull ( of the Fablehaven series), Marc Brown, (who needs no introduction) and Elin Hilderbrand (author of Winter Street and The Rumor.) These photos were taken just after our visit to the Random House booth, where we picked up three dictionaries. Jenn’s elation was amusing. I have never seen anyone become so excited about dictionaries, though she explained that they could supplement an exercise she is assigning in her media studies class at the local elementary school.
The Javitts Center is a very pretty building to photograph with its steel and glass atrium. displaying the many colorful advertising banners.
After getting home, I had several bags and a knapsack full of treasures to go through. Some will be books added to my personal summer reading list, others will be given away to staff members or as prizes in our library’s reading program. Promo material will be sorted out, titles added to our purchase list with Baker and Taylor. All in all, it was a good day.
See you at BEA in Chicago, IL, May 11-13, 2016. Let the carnival continue.