Last weekend, I attended BookExpo America in New York City. BEA is the premier book publishing event in North America, bringing together 20,000 publishers, authors, agents, bookstore owners, and librarians. The original purpose of the event was to give bookstores a chance to order books for the upcoming season. Now, the event has grown tremendously and serves as an opportunity for publishers to strike deals with buyers, create buzz about new and forthcoming titles, and showcase their authors. It was my first time attending, and only one of the few professional book events I’ve ever attended.
Spanning three levels, plus conference rooms, industry professionals stuffed themselves beneath the roof of the Javits Center. Between meetings and conferences, much of the day was spent waiting in winding lines between exhibits for galleys or advanced reading copies (ARCS) of highly anticipated new titles, hoping there will be enough left, and that the author will be there to sign.
For me, this event was a great opportunity to talk with other members of the book industry, but mostly to meet book lovers from all over the country. Highlights from my trip include:
This billboard, upon arrival. Thank you, Penguin.
Walking around the city and browsing an outdoor market (another item on my bucket list).
Finding this awesome, antique cigarette tin at the market.
And this is, overall, measures the success of my day.
We all know about the news in recent years about the dying book business. However, in this Forbes article, Steve Cohen discusses the “contagious optimism” that radiated throughout the conference, claiming that with its embrace of technology and innovation, the book industry might just save itself. I am hopeful for my industry as well, and looking forward to attending BEA next year!