Technicians are taping speaker Chelsea Handler at the Authors Breakfast while the women at my table bury their noses in the free books. "BEA is a book lover's dream," says Sue Hartley, one of the enthusiastic librarians at the table.
BookExpo America is a great place to be if you're interested in anything to do with books and publishing. I go every year because I'm a book reviewer. While I'm there, I try to get the most out of it. And there's a lot you can learn.
It can be daunting. The Javits Center is big and ugly and the antithesis of what a business center should be. It's inhospitable, without access to free Wifi and cell phone service. Women have to wait in long lines to use the bathroom and almost everybody has to wait in long lines for coffee. Food is expensive and mostly unhealthy. Sometimes you can't hear a speaker because the speaker in the adjacent room is louder. This year I looked up and saw sparks and burning ash drifting down from the ceiling of the entrance to the packed room where an Authors Breakfasts was about to begin. Yipes!
And then there are the enormous, crushing crowds surging to meet an author and get a free book or cramming into a conference room. Between the vendors on the one hand and all the publishing-related concerns on the other, I've read that there were more than 30,000 attendees this year — a 7% increase over last year.
So I've done the legwork for you. But who are you? Who might want to go to the trouble to read through these notes I've taken and finessed (just a bit)?
- Published authors looking to improve sales and writers planning to publish
- Those who work with independent bookstores
- Book reviewers and book bloggers