Books · Publishing

Recap from Book Expo America 2014

Whew, May is finally over and Summer is just around the corner. May was a crazy month for me, starting with my sister’s college graduation and Mother’s Day (the same weekend), moving on to my mom and boyfriend’s birthday (on the same day) and ending with my working last weekend at Book Expo America (the same weekend of my mom and boyfriend’s birthday).

Between work and everything that’s been going on on the weekends, I feel like I haven’t had a moment to myself. And now that I finally do have some free time, I’m realizing the only thing to really discuss from this last month is my first experience at Book Expo America.

Book Expo America, as I tell my friends, is a large trade show that takes place annually and hosts book publishers, librarians, bloggers, booksellers and media industry professionals. This year’s BEA was in New York City at the Javit’s Center. The show lasted three full days, and I attended all three (plus an additional half day for set-up).

A life-sized Chewbacca Lego statue
A life-sized Chewbacca Lego statue

Day One: Thursday, May 29, 2014

I arrived early to help prepare our booth for the start of the Expo, which started at 9am. Once the day began, it went by in a blur. I got to sit in on some of my department’s meetings with media professionals, which was really interesting, to say the least.

When not meeting with people, I helped run the booth with two of my colleagues, Nicole and Allie. We spent most of our day talking to people who had stopped by to learn more about our upcoming Fall titles at Basic Books (I guess I should’ve mentioned that I was there with my full-time employer Basic Books/Perseus Books Group).

We were also giving away some of our upcoming titles to interested show-goers, including How Star Wars Conquered the Universe by Chris Taylor, Founders’ Son by Richard Brookhiser, The Big Ratchet by Ruth DeFries and The Half Has Never Been Told by Ed Baptist. I’m particularly excited about How Star Wars Conquered the Universe; our booth even had a Stormtrooper walking around to promote the giveaway.

One of the hardest parts of this day was fending off fellow bloggers! We all have grabby hands when it comes to galleys/ARCs for upcoming books. My colleagues and I found more than a few of our books accidentally being mistaken as giveaway items, but by the end of day one, we were seasoned veterans at keeping an eye on our books.

Unfortunately, because I was working so much on Thursday I didn’t get to walk around for more than a few minutes at a time, and didn’t really get any galleys to boast of.  But I did manage to get a show of the life-size Lego figures at the DK booth.

Don’t worry though, Day Two fared much better in terms of free books.

Day Two: Friday, May 30, 2014

Lev Grossman signing copies of THE MAGICIAN'S LAND at BEA
Lev Grossman signing copies of THE MAGICIAN’S LAND at BEA

Friday was less busy than Thursday in terms of booth visitors, and I managed to sneak out for an hour or two to roam the halls. Most notably, on Friday I managed to snag myself a copy of The Magician’s Land (The Magicians #3) by Lev Grossman, which comes out this fall. Grossman was pretty friendly, taking the time to chat with each of the people who had waited in line for a few moments. Though I waited in line for 40 minutes, the wait was ultimately worth it. I haven’t started the book yet (currently reading The Kiss of Deception (Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson).

Also on Friday, I managed to snag a lot of exciting galleys from some of my fellow publishers, though the only title that immediately comes to mind is the paperback Goodnight June by Sarah Jio (Plume, May 2014). I’ll add a full list of the books I acquired when I’m back at my apartment tomorrow.

After these two days, it’s safe to say I was completely exhausted, but still managed to drag myself and all of my books home.

The Crap Taxidermy fox (promoting the Crap Taxidermy book, coming soon from Octopus Books/Ten Speed Press
The Crap Taxidermy fox (promoting the Crap Taxidermy book, coming soon from Octopus Books/Ten Speed Press

Day Three: Saturday, May 31, 2014

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the final day of Book Expo America, and the first (and only) day of BookCon.

BookCon, by my account, was a horrible experience. While I love the idea of getting young, enthusiastic readers to come in and be excited about books, I feel like the scale of BookCon (which was thankfully not in the section my booth was in) went way beyond expectations of event organizers.

The event was sold out, with over 10,000 tickets sold, which is great. But BookCon was all lines. You could wait in one line for 40 minutes only to find out that they’d run out of books 10 people ahead of you and you’d waited for nothing. Then you could move to another line and have the exact same thing happen to you. 4,000 people waited in line to see a panel with John Green on it about the new The Fault In Our Stars movie, the remaining show goers were cut off an hour before the panel was set to begin.

Thankfully I could retreat back into the relative ghost-town of BEA, where we finished giving away copies of our books to excited show patrons, and headed out early to enjoy the rest of our Saturday.

That was it for my first experience at BEA. Did anyone else attend BEA and/or BookCon last week? I’m really excited for next year’s show already, though hopefully the BookCon organizers will do a bit more, er, organizing before then.

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