Book Expo America 2009 – Part 2

Reported by Linda Yau and Jilly Gee
Photographs by Linda Yau

Sorry for the epic delay, folks! Co-contributor Linda will find a way to verbally punish me, rest assured!

It was Friday through Sunday that the Exhibition Hall was open to attendees. Within the Exhibition Hall, attendees were able to see the appearances of authors and celebrities, all the while fighting through crowds of other people to get somewhere.

Weeks before the show, there was an announcement of which authors were set to be making appearances, and for this I was quite excited. There were big names, such as Julie Andrews. Mary Higgins Clark, Meg Cabot, and Nicolas Sparks, which were ticketed events that I didn’t get to see. However, there were about 40+ pages of authors actually appearing, so I was mostly in the Exhibition Room on Friday, waiting. Autographs were separated into “Traditional” and “In Booth” sections. I actually got to see Anthony Zuiker, creator of hit television show CSI. I also waited to see A.J. Jacobs, and let’s just say that I was really pleased to meet him. I also got to meet Marie Etienne, face to face for the first time. She is the author of a previous book I reviewed, Confessions of A Bipolar Mardi Gras Queen.

There were so many bags given for the purpose of holding books, that I was hard pressed to not take a hold of some pre-release galleys. For the purpose of spreading the Journal’s services as a book reviewing site, I was able to make contacts with several publishers, and thank the publishers that had given the Journal galleys in the past. Europa Publications, guides were there. One contact that I made was with Campfire Graphic Novels. Be on the look out for a review on a Cupid graphic novel that Campfire was able to provide.

Toward the afternoon, I was able to make it to one panel with Jilly. This was “Book Format Fusion: Why Trade Paperbacks Work in Turbulent Times.” This was a panel where trade paper publishers discussed the benefits of trade paperback in this recessive market.

These were points made.

  • There is a belief that the time is ripe, because a trade paperback is cheaper to purchase and the economy emphasizes that.
  • Hardcover market is falling in popularity to trade paper.
  • Introduction through trade paperback will be beneficial to authors.
  • It is a difficult place in mid-career and mid-life, so publishing in trade may lead to inspirations for authors.
  • “The Gathering” by Ann Patchett is an example of success in the trade paperback market.
  • Some publications, such as Europa Publication, produce only trade paperback format.
  • Ballentine Press was the first imprint of Random House to be able to place in book club reading materials.
  • $15 is an average fan price for trade paperbacks.
  • The trade paperback has more of an opportunity to be in bookstores longer, in less danger of being returned to the publisher.

I forgot to mention in part one about how “twittering” was a definite buzzword during the weekend, working itself into social networking. There were some complaints here and there with the cell phones of attendants twittering, and not putting the phone on silent mode, but with the hash tag #BEA or #BEA09, Twitter was a definite tool.

@JLHLS was the Twitter name that the group was using. Since I have a text plan with my phone, I was able to briefly sync my phone to make posts, so if you saw the content during that period, it was most likely my texts. Social networking is definitely a great tool for professionals and fans alike!

Moving onto Saturday, wow what a day this was. Today was actually more about attending panels for me, although I did head over to the Exhibition Hall for a little bit.

This is a day where there is always a dilemma for convention goers; what would happen if the convention planners plan too many interesting panels at once? Well that was Saturday for me. I was definitely jumping between two different panels, while Jilly attended another one.

The one panel I was really interested in was “Book Bloggers – Today’s Buzz Builders”. This was made to a packed room. Now isn’t that a purpose of Journal of Lincoln Heights? Reviewing books that may seem interesting to other readers out there? Now for any readers who are interested in learning more of this panel, Book Club Girl, who was a panelist in the panel, actually wrote an insightful blog entry, and there is actual audio of the entire panel.

Points made that seemed interesting to this reporter were:

  • Communication and mutual respect between the publishers and book reviewers are strongly needed.
  • Publishers need to understand that reviewers are taking their time and energy to produce reviews. This is a hobby or interest, which is often outside of the blogger’s own background, but there is a love of books.
  • A review policy should be stated on the blogger’s page. These components should include – How long of a time is a book read to then produce a review? Is the blogger open to book interviews? What book genres does the blogger or group review?
    Should bloggers do an in-depth feature of a bookstore?

  • Bloggers should be able to tweet or email back to the publishers, so that their reviews won’t go unnoticed by publishing groups.
  • If the blogger is a local resident, can cross promote with local bookstores.
  • Blogs can conduct author or publishing giveaways.
  • Blog reviews as an honest word of mouth and sellers of books.
  • Promoting back lists can be helpful

During the midway point of the panel, I jumped over to “From Ref Desk to Desktop: Creating Virtual Reader’s Advisory Services.” This was a librarian-geared panel, where there was a pitch made by the producers of Novelist.

At the “Hot Fall Graphic Novels for Libraries” panel, Eva Volin, Jesse Karp, Barbara Moon, and Christian Zabriskie recommended various graphic novels for all ages, starting with the kids and working their way up to tweens, teens, and adults. Some highlights from the list include:

Binky the Space Cat is a cute story about a cat who thinks he is saving his owners from aliens or bugs, as us humans would call them. It is dry enough for older readers, but still has fart jokes for the young and not-as-curmudgeon. I mentioned it to a cat-loving friend, but she shied away when I talked about the bugs. Probably best to leave that part out when attempting to recommend it until they’ve seen how cute it is.

Little Mouse Gets Ready has large font and white space, making it a good title for emergent readers.

Classic Children’s Comics was described as containing “obscure, weird stuff,” and seeing as how I’m a little weird and obscure myself, sounds appealing to me!

Secret Science Alliance is exactly what the title makes it sound like, following brainy heroes rather than brawny ones.

Fairy Idol Kannon is recommended as a good primer for manga and as a good first chapter book.

Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood has a darker feel than the work it’s based on, much like Casino Royale.

Smile is an autobiographical memoir about how the author came to lose a couple of important teeth while running away from a dentist.

Blackjack is “cracktastick” with one librarian lively describing a scene in which Blackjack operates on his own intestines. The thought makes me cringe, but so does a paper cut; still sounds like an awesome scene, even if it’s one I’d pass out from reading.

Charles Darwin: On the Origin of Species talks about the beauty of life and has beautiful art to go with it.

Forget the stigma attached to properties that have a lot of media and star power backing them, Star Trek: Mission’s End is quality work.

The Vietnam War is suitable for teens and adults. It is able to delve into the feelings behind the war now that enough time has passed for it to not be at the forefront of the mainstream public’s minds, showing the war from all different points of views.

Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You presents those unrealistic situations that usually come up in shoujo manga involving the hottest guy in school falling for the plainest girl in school, but it is still a great read for teens because of the social interactions between characters.

Following all the panels, Jilly and I made our way back to the Exhibition Hall, where we caught the appearance of Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger, and that concludes my attendance at BEA09.

One experience is always a fun one, waiting or seeing the lines to Starbucks. Starbucks at the convention center certainly had a robust crowd there for the weekend.

Book Expo intends for the next several years to be also held in the Javitz Center, so book professional and interested book attendees should be aware of these future dates for Book Expo America:

2010: May 25-27
2011: May 24-26
2012: May 30-June 1

This is not going to be a weekend convention, rather BEA is moving to the weekday to better fit the professionals working schedules.

For more pictures and glimpse of what other pictures I took, please take a look at Journal of Lincoln Literary Society’s Flickr Page. I included pictures of author viewings, panel sightings, and location pictures.