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The Twin Cities Book Festival, in a Nutshell

Last weekend I went to the Twin Cities Book Festival with a few Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and South Dakota bloggers. We were a pretty wide-ranging group, and it was a lot of fun.

The day started out bright an early at 8:00 a.m. with a meeting for coffee close to the book festival. When I got there, I met Reagan from Miss Remmer’s Reviews and Sheila from Book Journey. After a little bit, we were joined by Ash from English Major’s Junk Food and Alea from Pop Culture Junkie. We chatted books for a bit, then headed out to the Book Festival.

Unlike the Wisconsin Book Festival, which is a bunch of different bookish events at a number of locations over a four-day period, the Twin Cities Book Festival is a one day event in one place. This was nice because we didn’t have to travel much to get around, but the day was a little exhausting. Between being a little sick, plus my sprained ankle, it was a busy day.

Here are just a few of the highlights.

The first panel I went to was called “The Changing World of Book Publishing,” which was a group talking about some of the ways books are changing and, as the moderator explained, exploring was we can “head into a well-read future together.”

Sheila was on this panel, along with a number of Twin Cities-area book critics, authors, and book club organizers. Sheila wrote a good summary of the panel, but I have a couple more thoughts:

  • A local book club organizer suggested that books were pricing themselves out of the entertainment space. When a new hardcover costs $28, it’s hard to choose to buy a book when you can go out to a cheap dinner or a movie for about that much.  He suggested that all books come out in hardcover and paperback at the same time, a suggestion I highly agree with.
  • One audience member asked what sources people used to find what books to read, and I was sort of astounded. I NEVER run out of suggestion for books to read because I am so connected to other bloggers for news and recommendations. But, it reminded me that as bloggers we need to do some outreach and also try to pass on book recommendations to people in our lives.
  • Another audience member asked about book trailers, and Reagan spoke up with the point that as a teacher, she often uses trailers to share books with her students. I hadn’t thought of that use for book trailers before.

After the panel Ash and I wandered around the Festival for awhile. I got a couple copies of Creative Nonfiction, a literary journal of all narrative essays, and a copy of The Accidental Adult by Colin Sokolowski, strictly because of Sheila’s recommendation.

We also met up with Joanne from Jo Jo Loves To Read and Liz from Consumed By Books and went to Davanni’s for lunch. It was another fun time to just talk with people about books and blogging – I love meeting with bloggers and getting to be dorky about blogging platforms and comment policies and review techniques and not feel self-concious about it.

After lunch Ash and I went to see another panel, this one about Minnesota Comics. The highlight for me was seeing Bill Willingham, the author of the Fables series from DC comics. After, I got a couple of my Fables comics signed, and I got to be all gushy fan with him. So fun!

At this point I was pretty exhausted, so after poking around the festival a little more – and being convinced to buy Love Drugged from a really persuasive booth employee – Sheila, Reagan, Ash, and I headed back to their hotel for a little break before dinner.

But instead of taking a break, we decided to go to Borders to check out books. I was good and responsible and didn’t buy anything except a chai tea, and spent some time reading Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris in the coffee shop. Sheila even snuck a photo of Reagan and I reading – I feel like a celebrity caught by the paparazzi!

The day ended with some unexpectedly good Chinese food with Sheila, Ash, Ash’s boyfriend Jason (who’s name I could not originally remember…), and Reagan. Yum! (And a big thanks to Sheila for letting me snatch her pictures – I’m terrible at taking photos of my own).

So there you have it – the Twin Cities Book Festival in less than 800 words. It was a great day, and I hope we can do another meet up next year. If you want more than this, Ash already did her recap of the event and so did Alea.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ash October 24, 2010, 9:36 pm

    Jason, or “the boyfriend.” Great recap– this was such a fun day and I’m so glad I got to meet you! I hope we do another Midwest Book Blogger meet-up sometime.

    • Kim October 24, 2010, 9:38 pm

      Ash: Thank you! That’s what I thought, but I would have felt worse putting the wrong name that not having one at all. I’ll update the post right now 🙂 It was a great day, and really great to meet you!

  • Sheila (Bookjourney) October 24, 2010, 11:10 pm

    That was so fun and I enjoyed your recap Kim! I agree with you about the woman who wanted good sources for books… I too never run out if anything, I have too many 🙂

    The Chinese was fab…. still thinking about it….LOL

    • Kim October 25, 2010, 6:02 pm

      Sheila: When she asked, I tried to think of where I got book recommendations from before blogging, but I honestly couldn’t remember. And yeah, the Chinese was really good.

  • Mary October 25, 2010, 7:12 am

    Sounds like a fun time. I agree that new books should be published in hardcover and softcover at the same time. I rarely buy a hardcover anymore (for a few reasons). I recently attended an author event at the indie near me. I bought the hardcover but it was $26. I want to support but can’t do it on a regular basis. Many times I end up borrowing from my library. If a less expensive softcover was available I’d buy a lot more often. I think publishers are losing out on sales.

    • Kim October 25, 2010, 6:04 pm

      Mary: I don’t buy hardcover very often, in part because of cost and in part because I just find hardcovers a bit bulky. I would also probably buy more books if new ones were in paperback earlier.

  • bermudaonion (Kathy) October 25, 2010, 7:20 am

    It sounds like you bloggers rocked the festival!!

    • Kim October 25, 2010, 6:05 pm

      bermudaonion: We did have a fun time!

  • Alea October 25, 2010, 9:05 am

    Was really fun getting to meet you! And I’m glad I finally figured out why you looked so familiar!

    • Kim October 25, 2010, 6:05 pm

      Alea: Yeah, it was really nice to meet you as well! It’s fun putting faces with blogs and Twitter handles.

  • Erin October 25, 2010, 9:50 am

    I’m not a huge fan of book trailers, but I like the idea of a teacher using them in a classroom! That could be a great way to get kids interested in reading, especially if they tend to prefer TV or movies.

    I, too, like the idea of hardcover and paperback formats coming out at the same time. I would be much more likely to buy new releases that way. Right now I just end up getting them from the library. I’m also wondering if publishers are considering pairing ebooks with print books. If I could pay a little more when I buy a print book and get the ebook format with it (maybe via a download code?), I would buy more books new. I don’t have an ereader (yet?), but one of the things that bugs me is the idea of paying for a file and then having nothing to put on my shelf. I’d love to get a package deal on the two formats.

    • Kim October 25, 2010, 6:07 pm

      Erin: I love the idea of getting a print and ebook at the same time – that would be really convenient for reading in different places. I don’t buy many books for my nook for exactly the reason you said 0 it seems weird to have a book file but not really have anything to show for it.

  • Leeswammes (Judith) October 25, 2010, 10:13 am

    I loved to read festival reports. It sounds so nice. Glad you had a good, if exhausting time.

    • Kim October 25, 2010, 6:08 pm

      Leeswammes: I’m glad you enjoyed reading it – I sometimes wonder if these types of posts are interesting for people who weren’t there. It was a fun time, but very tiring!

  • Amy October 25, 2010, 12:44 pm

    Sounds like the event was a lot of fun. I’m jealous that you got to see some of those great bloggers! 🙂

    • Kim October 25, 2010, 6:08 pm

      Amy: It was a lot of fun! They are some great bloggers.

  • Anna October 26, 2010, 5:20 am

    Looks like you had a wonderful time!

    I don’t think I’ve ever watched a book trailer. I just associate those with movies, but I see how they could work.

    • Kim October 26, 2010, 6:40 pm

      Anna: We did have a good time! I’ve only seen a few book trailers and I still have mixed feelings about them — some are fun, but others just seem silly.

  • Heather J. October 27, 2010, 10:08 am

    Glad you had a good time in spite of not feeling up to par. Wish I could have joined you all!

    • Kim October 28, 2010, 5:24 pm

      Heather: I am too – and it would have been so fun to see you again! Too bad you live so far away 🙁

  • Amanda October 28, 2010, 6:59 am

    I wish I could have been up there with you guys!

    • Kim October 28, 2010, 5:25 pm

      Amanda: Me too – it would have been great to see you again!