So this Book Expo America post is long overdue, but here goes. If you’ve read my previous post A New York Remedy then you know my last trip to the Big Apple was less than stellar. Though good things eventually came out of it, my time there was spent braving New York’s winter at HI-NY. My June trip however, proved to me an emotionally rewarding experience.
What is Book Expo America?
Book Expo America is the Comic-Con for book professionals, publishing companies, and book bloggers. If you love books, then I recommend marking this event on your calendar. Everyone from authors to celebrities attend this yearly conference.
Book Expo began and ended for me on June 5. I opted for the Day Pass to avoid overwhelming my senses and missing too much school. I highly encourage BEA attendees to do the same. Honestly, the main draw for me was the BEA Education Panels, which publishing pros and newbies rely on for updates about the industry. It might be easier to digest if I divide my trip into three portions: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Adult Book & Author Breakfast - Bad breakfast. Great guests. So after getting less than five hours of sleep, the last thing I wanted to do was to eat cold bagels at 8AM. But Stephen Colbert helped me forget this minor annoyance. Or maybe I should credit Stephen Colbert’s penis, which he plugged about 20 times. Funny man! Still, my award for favorite speaker goes to Norwegian author Jo Nesbo. Talk about sexy and smart at 50. After Colbert’s naughty introduction, I was falling asleep. This is nothing against anyone, but I fell asleep at 1AM and woke at 5AM. So panelists keep it spicy, keep it funny, and keep me awake.
Clearly, Jo Nesbo was my fix. Not sure if it was the Norwegian accent or his stock trade/ rock star story, but I was mildly turned on by his delivery. More importantly, I was turned on to reading his books. What a great start to my morning!
Beyond The Hunger Games - At this point everyone knows The Hunger Games was pretty amazing! For a teen movie, you’re definitely getting you’re $15 worth. Seems everyone agreed because the session was jammed packed. Luckily, panelists anticipated this and fully delivered on my expectations. I honestly walked away with a clearer idea on how publishers successfully market YA titles. Next year, I highly encourage attendees to mark the Bookstores Today Track on their calendar.
Understanding Metadata In The Digital Age – Absolutely loved this panel! By far one of the most educational sessions I have ever attended (including my GWU courses). Bill Newlin of Avalon Travel and Fran Toolan of Firebrand Technologies explains the metadata basics:what it is, why it’s important, and how to make sure the metadata on your books effectively enables both discovery and transaction. If you’re interested in further teachings on this subject please reach out to Fran Toolan directly.
BEA Floor Plan – Not much to add here. Just shouting out sales reps at amazing booths. Here’s to you Slice Books, Libre Digital, and Typefi Publish. And a special shout to James Patterson’s In-Booth Autographing Session. I didn’t get an autograph, but I did have a great conversation w/ a movie producer. Fun times!
Discovery, Recommendation, Serendipity - My heart breaks to put this panel into this category. However, it was not good. While initially, I got grasped the idea of having emotions connect readers to new finds, I was lost in the last 30 minutes. Truthfully, I was not alone. In fact a librarian bluntly stated that the method was a waste of time and she would not recommend it to—anyone. Not sure I completely disagree with her. Discovering books through emotional book scenes sounds good, but I’m not convinced it’s realistic or profitable. If this panel reappears at 2013′s conference, I would be interested in seeing how panelists directly address its critics. Sadly, this year this session left me with me more questions than answers.
BEA Floor Plan - Advanced Reader Copies are easy to get, but hard to carry. Why can’t Book Expo America invest in wheel carriers? It’s so much easier to have a discussion with a sales rep or author if your back is not breaking.Yes, FedEx ships your books, but what if you’re planning to carry your stack back to your hotel? Not sure why this system hasn’t been updated, but next year I’m renting a wheel cart. I would have stayed longer if my shoulders and back didn’t hurt so badly.
Javits Center Wireless - Bad, it was very bad. Internet went in and out…all day. I wanted to upload so many pictures, but a las no service. Not sure what I can do next year to resolve this. Just disappointing.
- WATCH: Stephen Colbert: The Most Overrated Classic Book (huffingtonpost.com)