BEA highlights, recaps, and reviews

Did you attend BookExpo America (BEA) this year? I didn’t, so I went searching for articles offering highlights and reviews that might help all of us learn from the experiences of those who did.

I found more day-by-day diaries from attendees — the authors they met, the lines they waited in, the breakfasts that disappointed — than I did recaps of trends, lessons learned, or predictions. (Note to next year’s blogger attendees: Throw in a few words of wisdom.)

I did find some keepers that offered insights and commentary, though. Here they are:

  • Book Expo in the Apple: Take a Big Bite by Steve Piacente looks at BEA from the viewpoint of the indie author, focusing on the value of in-person experiences and interactions with others in the book publishing business.
  • In New York, the Real Vanity Publishers Converge by Michael Levin uses the event to underscore the writer’s view that traditional publishers are out of touch with reality.
  • Ether for Authors: How London Beat BEA’s Pants off byPorter Anderson concludes that the London Book Fair is superior to BEA in part because its organizers manage author appearances in a way that better reflects authors as entrepreneurs in charge of their own destinies. BEA, he suggests, treats them as indentured servants of publishers.
  • Books below the Crowd and on the Ground at BEA by Eugene Schwartz, who didn’t attend either, is a thoughtful summary of reports from those who were there. Schwartz addresses the future of printed books and bricks and mortar retailers, the impact of technology, and the importance of the low barrier to entry.

Nearly everything I read suggested that the three-day event in New York City is overwhelming and exhausting — but in a good way. If you love books (and who doesn’t?), it’s clearly the place to be in the spring, whether you’re there to learn more about the business or to shake hands with your favorite big name author.

Did you attend BEA? What was the highlight? If not, have you considered attending? (I get a little closer every year!)

Photo by Clarissa Peterson via Compfight

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  1. Thanks for the links, Sandy! It will be interesting to read different perspectives on this. If I had the money to go to NY, I’d probably use it to attend the big SCBWI conference there. Sadly, when i lived in the city, although I loved books, I wasn’t writing seriously, so events like this weren’t of interest. 🙂

    1. Vivian, I suspect that the majority of the authors who attend on their own live within driving distance. You would probably love attending SCBWI there — make it a goal!

      : )


      1. Yes, I will.:) I’m going to attend the Fall SCBWI Letters and Lines that is held in Denver every September…that will be my first ‘American’ SCBWI.
        Just got a lovely note from Mr. Rama, the director of the National Book Development Council of Singapore which organized the Asian Festival of Children’s Content…thanking me for participating and hoping I will be there next year…whoo-hoo!!!
        What I would LOVE to do, Sandy, is get the AFCC some good American media coverage for next year’s event…other than my blog,FB and Twitter, of course. Any ideas how I should go about that? I am so impressed with their desire to create exceptional children’s content for the children of Asia…they reach out to the West for expertise and advice.

        1. It would be a tough sell, but I’d put a face on it somehow by finding a particularly disadvantaged child who has benefited somehow from the actions of American authors.

          Good luck!


  2. to Vivian:
    It’s hard to get your message into “The media” (TV, radio, newspapers). If they don’t come they show their cultural poorness. In Europe, where I live, the same. I used to be journalist. The onliest way to get their attention is to go there in person.

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