#BEA14: A Book Expo Recap

You guys, it has been one hell of a week (and then some). I started last weekend in Alabama, returned home via Nashville, and less than twelve hours later, turned around to get on a train up to New York City for Book Expo. Suffice it to say I am exhausted, though the travel was all more than worth it.

I arrived in New York on Tuesday but did not attend the Blogger Con on Wednesday; I've heard so many mixed things about this conference in years past that I decided I'd prefer a day of wandering New York and visiting old haunts to a day of blogging panels. From the Blogger Con recaps now up from Shannon at River City Reading, Leah at Books Speak Volumes, and Rory at 4th Street Review, I think I made the right choice.
Some of my favorite New York City haunts
Thursday and Friday I spent at Javits, an over-airconditioned glass box of a conference center that looks sort of like an alien spaceship that tried to visit Manhattan but landed closer to New Jersey than it had intended. The lines were long and the aisles crowded, but say what you will, BEA boasted an amazing energy of readers and booklovers. No matter how many people toll the death of the book and the end of reading, it is impossible to attend a show like this and doubt for one second that books are still a big deal. People stood in line for hours to meet a certain author or nab a certain galley (or, in some cases, a Big Red McGraw Hill bag in which to tote said certain galleys).

Crowds, crowds, crowds.

Lev Grossman signs The Magician's Land

Oyster showed up with free iced coffee and cookies.
Penguin Book Truck!

I'll be posting in more detail about the books from the show I'm most looking forward to, the catalogs that carry the most promise (I left with more catalogs than galleys, for which my shoulders and back are eternally grateful...), and the best bookish goodies I saw on the floor. There are lots of those, and that's what exhibitors are there for. But more than the stuff, what is most exciting about Book Expo to me is the chance to meet a community of readers, writers, publishers, editors, and other booklovers who are just as excited about reading as I am. That and watching my Twitter feed come to life, as I met person after person in the real life that I've previously known only online.

The Book Stack
The Frying Pan Boat Basin, which may be the coolest spot for post-BEA cocktails and sunshine.
And you can climb inside a previously sunken ship and walk around, so that's awesome.


  1. SO happy I was able to meet you! And you definitely didn't miss out on BloggerCon...

  2. Haha, I love your description of Javits, "an over-airconditioned glass box of a conference center that looks sort of like an alien spaceship that tried to visit Manhattan". BEA definitely reaffirms my belief that books are still alive and kicking. Very cool that you got to meet Lev Grossman!

  3. How did we not meet each other?! I had no idea you were going - let's plan this better next time! I'm surprised - I expected your books stack to be double that (because it's everybody's?) but how smart you were to take only as much books as you could read!

  4. Did you visit Tin House? I haven't looked at their fall catalog yet.

  5. I think the most energizing part of BEA must have been being surrounded by so many other book lovers. I'm really excited for you and glad you had a good time.

  6. I did! I only left with one galley, but also grabbed their catalog and there are definitely some interesting titles in there.

  7. Yes! All that book love makes it hard to believe any of the doom or gloom about how no one reads anymore. And thank you!

  8. You definitely didn't miss anything by skipping the Blogger Conference. Besides the panels being mostly disappointing, I met way more people I know from blogs/Twitter while just walking the show floor and attending parties. And that really was the best part of BEA -- making real-life connections with the people I talk to online, and making new friends that I hadn't yet interacted with on the internet!

    It was so nice to meet you!

  9. That was what I was most disappointed to miss at Blogger Con--the chance to meet other bloggers--but at the end of the day, you're absolutely right that the aisles/show floor/parties were as much, if not more, of an opportunity to meet people. And it was so nice to meet you too!


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