I am on the train back home to DC after spending the day at Book Expo America, the book industry's annual gathering in NY. It was a long day, but very interesting and a lot of fun.
I've read reports that BEA was significantly smaller this year, with fewer exhibitors, attendees, and freebies than usual due to the economy. Since it was my first time going, I don't have anything to compare it to, and it seemed crowded and busy to me. I am so used to being at the Javits Center for auto shows, so it was a nice change of pace to see books and librarians instead of cars and auto journalists!
I spent a lot of time just walking the floor, checking out the publishers and various other exhibitors. I was pretty selective about the books I picked up, in no small part because my bag started digging into my shoulder with the weight of the books and catalogs before I'd even been there an hour. The book I am most excited about getting is the latest Jonathan Tropper, called This Is Where I Leave You, which has gotten a lot of advance praise. I was able to score a scarce copy of it thanks to a kind man at Penguin.
I also got to meet several of the publicists I have corresponded with at the major publishing houses, which was a treat. They were so friendly and welcoming, and sought me out, which was really nice.
Another treat: meeting Kelly Corrigan in person, who was signing copies of her book, The Middle Place, with her dad. Here's a photo of them:
I spent a fair amount of time on the children's floor and picked up some signed books for my daughters.
Finally, I greatly enjoyed the book blogger panel organized by Jennifer Hart of Book Club Girl, featuring Natasha of Maw Books, Dawn of She Is Too Fond of Books, Stephanie of Stephanie's Written Word, Amy of My Friend Amy's Blog, Candace of Beth Fish Reads, and Jenn of Booking Mama. The panel was extremely well-attended, and they answered a lot of questions about book bloggers, how we like to be pitched, how blog book tours work, etc. I was so encouraged by the level of interest in book bloggers. We are taking over!
I was fortunate to sign cards at the Blogger Book Signings sponsored by Firebrand Technologies with Stephanie of Stephanie's Wrtten Word and Jay Franco of Bookrastination. I was hoping to meet fellow BEA attendees Kathy of Bermuda Onion's Blog and Jenn of Jenn's Bookshelf, but I missed them. I did meet Trish of Hey Lady, Whatcha Reading.
Here is a picture of Jay, Stephanie and me:
Definitely worth the trip!