Warning…. Long post ahead!
~ I think this was most organized I have ever seen BEA. Booths were clearly marked and well staffed. The autographing area, which is usually the most stressful place to be, was a well oiled machine with white erase boards clearly stating where to start lines. Most booths had start/middle/end of the line signs so there was less confusion.
~ The publishers were split up this year. Typically all of the big pubs are clustered in one area making for complete chaos and mobs when it comes to signings or book drops. This year one side of Javits center had Harper, Penguin, Sourcebooks while the other had Little Brown, Hachette, Macmillan, Harlequin (to name a few). Sure, this made for more walking back and forth and I missed out on a lot of drops but it also spread out the crazy & ensured that everyone got something.
~ I noticed a marked difference on how people behaved this year. No roaming gangs hoarding ALL the books, we lined up in a neat, orderly fashion. A lot of us have done this multiple times and know the drill now. I saw a lot of people taking the time to help people new to the event.
~ Javits has more food options and affordable snacks.
~ I got to see a lot of friends this year and actually spend time talking. I even got to eat lunch! That never happens lol
Day 1 book haul
Days 2 & 3 book hauls
~ For some reason the publishers STILL don’t understand the high demand for YA and a few didn’t want to start lines until 10 minutes before a book drop. I TRULY understand how they hate having to deal with large crowds surrounding their booth but I felt that people were very well behaved and professional this year. The lines are coming so just form them early and stay on top of things. Believe me….you don’t want 100’s of people swarming towards you 10 minutes before the book drop/signing. We did that years ago – which is why everyone switched to timed events. So why backtrack this year??
~ More about the lines. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that any book I want requires a one hour wait (sometimes more for a very popular author/title). There used to be random unscheduled drops but no more. Every single thing must be scheduled and because of the waits there is overlap and you just have to be flexible and let some stuff go.
~ I didn’t feel like I was able to see as many upcoming titles as in past years. All of the pubs used to bring the fall titles for you to peruse (not to take). It was always nice chatting with the publicists to find out what they’re excited about and see pretty covers. Sourcebooks did have a full display but every time I tried to look at something they kept accusing me of trying to steal it. lol
~ There were more samplers ( A small book containing only the first few chapters of an upcoming book) this year, which personally, I don’t want to wait in line for. There were also older titles, now out in paperback, rather than an ARC of the recent book. There were less BIG titles. Don't get me wrong - I’m happy with everything I got – I’m just noting a change that I see happening. The big popular ARC’s seem to be reserved for ALA these days.
Let’s not bring a taxidermy fox to BEA next year okay?
Saturday was Book Con, an event that coincides with BEA and invites the public to join in and experience the publishing world, interact with authors, celebrities and attend panels.
OK – soooooo. This was a disaster. I understand that BEA needs to remain relevant and expanding outside librarians/book sellers and bloggers is probably a great idea.
Dear Book Con…You cannot close off half the convention center, cramming 10,000 (# of tickets sold – I’m not sure how many people actually came) new BookCon attendees - mixed with BEA attendees to one side and also take away most of the volunteer staff and expect this to run smoothly.
I can’t even explain what a mess this was. I felt bad for everyone attending. The BEA people all of a sudden got ditched. The other side of the floor was still open to us but almost nothing other than a few book drops happened on that side for the day. It’s like BEA just stopped. The Book Con people felt left out since they all of a sudden hit a line with security telling them no entry to that side while BEA people were allowed to go back and forth.
The autographing area was woefully understaffed, and what ran so well Thursday and Friday, was a disaster on Saturday. There was no room to form lines. There was pushing, shoving and just general confusion as to what was happening. Everything is free during BEA but on Saturday you had to pay for some signings/books. None of us have a way of knowing that beforehand.
BEA-ers aren’t allowed to bring any rolling bags on the floor (rightfully so!) but on Saturday strollers and wheels with the Book Con people were allowed.
I felt bad for the kids. They would come up to a table, see piles of books, but couldn’t take one because there was a ticketed line they didn’t even know about.
The organizers weren't clear about what actually Book Con was and unprepared for the impact the crowds made on both events.
They are planning on doing this again next year and expanding it to two days but I’ll never go on a Book Con day again.
Bathroom book humor
As long as you don’t include the Book Con fiasco, I would say this was one of the best BEA’s I’ve gone to other than probably the first time when it was nice and quiet. I got a lot of incredible books, met my favorite authors (I MET Ann Aguirre!!!!!!) and spent time with my blogger pals – Jen At Random, Tabitha Not Yet Read (in a bathroom but it counts right?? lol) Melissa Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf, Jen YA Romantics, Alison Alison Can Read, Pam Midnyte Reader and my BFF Tori! (If I’m forgetting anyone – which is VERY likely – yell at me)
This BEA kicked my butt though! I’m still trying to recover. My knees hurt, I can barely move and I’m exhausted. I may be getting too old for this! lol
I was very efficient this year and made a BEA Goodreads shelf to try to keep me on track for actually reading all the books this year!
The food post coming soon!