I look forward every year to attending Book Expo America at the Javitz Center in NYC. I love books, reading and everything related to the publishing industry. Walking around a giant convention center filled with new books and authors is like a dream. Yet it, at times, is also a nightmare. Luckily, there was so much more good.
The Good at BEA14
This was the first year that I attended any panels in the Special Events Hall. The first two were ticketed, the third was free. They were all fantastic.
1 Jonathan Tropper’s 2009 novel, This Is Where I Leave You, has been turned into a movie that is being released this September. Tropper, director Shawn Levy, and two of the movies’ stars, Tina Fey and Jason Bateman, discussed the movie, book and the adaptation. We saw clips from the film and it looks hilarious. I read the book and highly recommend it.
2 Each day of BEA, an author’s breakfast is held. I’ve never attended any before because they begin at 8am and I am not a morning person. However, one of the panels this year looked too good to miss, so I bought a ticket and pulled myself out of bed in time to hear Alan Cumming, Martin Short, Lena Dunham and Colm Toibin speak about their new or upcoming books. I took videos of parts or each of their speeches and then realized when I got home that I didn’t have any sound on. However, I was so happy when I found that you can find the full speech for all 12 authors over the three days of breakfasts on YouTube (the 2nd day was for author’s of children’s books). Just search “Book Expo America 2014” and they will all show up with a few other BEA videos also.
Because Martin Short was so funny, I have to include his talk here:
3. There was a free panel, that was part of BookCon (an expo on Saturday for the public), in which Veronica Roth, author of the highly successful Divergent series, and Alex London author of the Proxy
and Guardian YA books of a similar nature, spoke about their writing and books to an audience filled with many teen and tween girls. Roth has a new book coming out titled Four: A Divergent Collection, stories told from Four’s point of view.
Every year that I go to Book Expo, I find so many wonderful new books of all types. I look for and always find wonderful YA books, literary novels, pop culture books, technology books and more. I am never let down.
Part of the BEA experience is autograph lines. It seems that if you are willing to wait in line, when you finally reach the author, you get a book for free and they autograph it for you. However, this leads to extremely long lines. Some are so long that those in line are sitting because they know they aren’t going to be moving for a long time.
I don’t participate in this, because I hate waiting on lines. So why does it bother me? Because the lines snake through the expo floor making it difficult for everyone else to walk through the showroom. Often I have to skip booths I wanted to see because people waiting on lines were in the way.
BEA is only open to people in the book industry and press. During the last year or two, maybe longer, they sold tickets to the public for Saturday only (BEA runs from Thursday – Saturday). It seemed to work fine and I never heard any complaints. This year a decision was made to create BookCon, a separate expo for the public on Saturday. On paper it looked great. Many celebrity authors would be signing books and speaking on panels, top publishers would be there, and the panels all sounded very interesting. Since BEA tickets allowed you to attend BookCon also, I thought I would probably spend a good part of Saturday there.
BookCon might have worked had they limited the amount of tickets sold. However, It was complete and utter chaos. The autograph lines I mentioned above; in BookCon they made it impossible for anyone to move. Those fantastic panels; unless you were willing to wait on very long lines, forget it. The panels in smaller rooms left many closed out. The panels in large rooms had people waiting in line for an hour to get in. BookCon seemed to made of lines. I think this experiment should not be repeated unless they severely limit the ticket count.
If you could get a ticket to Book Expo America, would you go?