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At BookExpo America (BEA)

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I attended BookExpo America (BEA) on May 25 and May 26 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. It is the first time I have ever attended BEA, which is a trade show for the book industry and is sponsored by ABA (American Booksellers Association) and AAP (Association of American Publishers).

On May 25 I attended five workshops:

1. Building Online Reader Communities with an Eye on ROI (Return on Investment)

2. "I'll Never Pay Over $9.99 For E-Books!" and Similar Lies

3. 20 Simple Ways to Reach Latinos

4. Leading Latino Authors Are Representative of a Vibrant Market

5. BEA Editors Buzz (Report on Upcoming "hot" Books)

All of these were part of a series called "Big Ideas at BEA."

The best sessions were the Leading Latino Authors and the BEA Editors Buzz. The Latino authors were: Camilo Cruz, Matt De La Pena, Juan Gomez-Jurado, Daisy Martinez, and Ana Nogales. They inspired the audience in their all too brief summary of how they came to writing and what it meant to them. Mr. Cruz spoke gratefully about public libraries; he wrote his first book in one. He has now written 30 books!

The books highlighted by their editors in BEA Editors Buzz were: Bad Science by Ben Goldacre (nonfiction); The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee (nonfiction); The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale (fiction); Juliet: A Novel by Ann Fortier (fiction); Room by Emma Donoghue (fiction); West of Here by Jonathan Evison (fiction). 

The editors made me want to read all of these books. The editor of West of Here said it was the best book he has edited in over 40 years. All of these books are serious, literary types of books, but all seemed very readable. I look forward to reading some of them. (As of right now, none of these are available. They will be published starting this summer and through next year. I am sure they will be available at NYPL then.)

On May 26 the Exhibition Floor opened at 9:00AM and I spent time exploring there in-between going to three workshops:

1. Hot Book Club Titles for Fall

2. AAP Annual Librarians Book Buzz

3. Community Social Networking: A Guide for Retailers and Librarians

I lead a book discussion group so the first one was interesting and proved to be informative about upcoming titles that might work well in a group. Also, I got a free book with other titles listed in it. The Book Buzz was good, but became a bit overwhelming with all the different editors presenting a lot of books that come out in the fall that librarians might be interested in. I think for the last session I was kind of exhausted and had trouble focusing.

Walking on the floor through all the booths of the exhibitors was kind of exhausting, too. I tried to go to the ones that had some professional relevance to me. I stopped at the Overdrive booth as they are involved with NYPL eBooks and they are developing some new programs that will be in use down the road. I went to Arcadia Publishing, publishers of books on local history, and was given a contact to arrange some authors to come speak at the Tottenville Libary. I will be working on that. I went to the Librarians Lounge, sponsored by Library Journal, where I ran into a former co-worker and had a nice talk with her. Also, I got four free bags, a bunch of pens and a free copy of the New York Review of Books. I could have taken home almost an unlimited number of manuscripts, but I was afraid I might cause the Staten Island Ferry to sink on my way home! Besides, I work in a public library so I figured I will check them out when we get them here. However, I did take a free book, Abraham Lincoln: Great American Historians on Our Sixteenth President (he is one of my heroes) from the CSPAN BookTV table.

Overall it was a great experience both professionally and personally, and to top it off, since I was so exhausted, I took the free shuttle bus from the Javits Center to Penn Station. Hope I can go next year!

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