Hi! So a couple weeks ago I was in NYC for few days. What for? BEA of course!
BEA, a.k.a. Book Expo America, is a yearly convention attended by sales representatives, editors, book buyers, book sellers, and many other people who work in publishing. And, of course, some of my favorite people ever–authors!
BEA has taken place in the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York for the last few years, and this year was no different. I have to say, the Javits Center was kind of overwhelming to walk into. Mostly because it’s huge and I was walking into Book Expo America. So, just a little overwhelming!
So anyway, as I was getting over the entire holy-crap-holy-crap-holy-crap-holy-crap-holy-crap phase (which took a while), we (that is, my parents and I) walked the floor.
Here’s basically what BEA looks like: Everywhere there are booths. Booths, booths, booths. HarperCollins booths, a McSweeney’s booth, Scholastic booths, here a booth, there a booth, everywhere a booth-booth. So yeah, there were A LOT of booths:
There were also a few stages for special presentations, etc. And then there was the Autograph Area, where authors would sign their new books (!!!):
Which, of course, didn’t make me happy at all. You can see some of said authors below!
There were also authors signing in their publishers’ booths, such as. . .
Of course, BEA isn’t just for freaking out about the authors there. Those attending it exchange business cards, talk about work, and, you know, actually DO work–that’s what most of the people there are sent to do! Of course, a lot of the time, people are also finding their friends and catching up.
This might seem kind of obvious, but there is just so much to see at BEA. SO MUCH. The presentations, the authors, the booths. (Which, by the way, I don’t even feel like I should be calling booths. Some of those things are HUGE. They’re like Booths 2.o.) Anyway, it’s A LOT.
Oh, yeah, and then there’s stuff like this:
A truck. Full of books. With penguins all over it.
Which is probably one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. It’s like someone just took everything awesome in this world, mashed it together, waved a magic wand over it and POOF! Book truck!
Also, BEA doesn’t always end when the center closes its doors for the day. Sometimes there are events set up for afterwards, too. One of these was We Are Young: Tumblr Does YA at BEA, a party and reading at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe featuring Eliot Schrefer, Ruth Baron, and. . .Rainbow Rowell! Who, if you’re not sure, is the amazing author who wrote the equally amazing Eleanor & Park. (Which you should go read. Like right now.)
Anyway, Eliot Schrefer was reading from his book Endangered, Ruth Baron was reading from her book Defriended, and Rainbow Rowell was reading from (of course) Eleanor & Park. I didn’t take many pictures, but this is what it looked like from the front door:
We didn’t get to stay for the actual reading, BUT. . .
AND. . .
She was at BEA the next day, signing ARCs of her newest book!*
So those two occurrences made me rather giddy.
Really, probably the best thing about BEA and all the special events that come with it is the fact that so many of the people there actually care about books. No one is going to scoff at you for loving what you love, no one is going to say books are dead, no one is going to say they much prefer video games (I think), etc. For once, it seems like the world thinks books are important, while too often, it appears otherwise.
Remember earlier, when I said authors are some of my favorite people ever? It’s not just authors. It’s all the editors, agents, sales reps, book sellers, book buyers, and everyone else at BEA who help keep the book world moving. And, of course, the readers. The fourth grader engrossed in Percy Jackson at the library. The nurse rereading Great Expectations during his lunch break. The teenager staying up way too late to finish the The Diviners. They help too!
Also, some of these people work largely behind the scenes, and I mean LARGELY. Without a dedicated sales rep, an agent, or a good publicist, a book may never make it to your shelf. So they deserve some credit!
But I digress. The point I’m making is that at BEA, it’s like you’re living in some surreal universe where books are actually given their due, as valuable facets of our world. And that’s pretty freakin’ amazing.
Although, you know, I could be exaggerating. I did spend the last two years of my life trapped in the dismal depths of middle school, after all. (Although I did meet a lot of great people there. . .but again, I digress. I need to stop doing that.)
Anyway, I don’t know if I’ll be making it to BEA next year, but here’s a tip for you: One day each year, it’s open to the public! You’ll have to pay, but still! It’s BEA, after all!
I suppose that about winds it up for this post. That took a while! Everyone have a great Monday! (And don’t tell me that “great Monday” is an oxymoron. There are exceptions!)
*An ARC is an Advance Reader’s Copy, or the nearly-final stage of a book before it’s published. They’re very very close to what the book will be when it’s actually put on the shelves, but they usually have a few typos or maybe a slightly different quote. They’re also called Advance Uncorrected Proofs, Advance Uncorrected Galleys, etc.
Literary Quote of the Day: “We walked silent/to the buses, awed by the power of words.” —How I Discovered Poetry, by Marilyn Nelson