BEA: Update the First

by Kim on May 25, 2011 · 28 comments

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Hello to everyone from BEA! It’s about 8:00 on Wednesday morning and I’m sitting on the small terrace (well, smoking area) at our hostel before I heat over to Javits for the second full day of BEA. I’m blogging on a borrowed netbook and the Internet connection is slow, so apologies for any lack of pictures or links — you can view all the photos I’ve taken (not many) by heading over to my Flickr album for BEA.

Enough excuses, on to the recap!


After driving to Milwaukee, flying to Cincinnati, and then flying to New York, I arrived at La Guardia about 5:30. After some misadventures with my car, I made it to Jenny (Jenny’s Books) apartment, who graciously let me sleep on her foldout bed. She also made dinner for Memory (Stella Matutina) and I — fried chicken, potatoes, and garlic bread. It was awesome.


I got up, got ready, and took a cab to check into my hostel. Anastasia (Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog) and I headed to Javits to register where we met up with Tara (BookSexy Review) for a day of touring around New York.

We took a long, meandering route along the Highline and through part of downtown to make a visit to the Strand Bookstore. That place was really awesome — so many books on three floors! I didn’t buy any books, but did grab a pretty sweet tote bag with the Strand logo on it.

After the Strand, we grabbed a bite to eat, then took the subway up to Central Park. It was a little drizzly during the day, so the park was damp, but it was really beautiful. Here are some photos!

About 2:30 Tara and I split off to go to a tea hosted at Random House. This was my first publishing-y event, and it was fun. There was good food, some cool teas, and a table with different Random House book to pick and choose from. It’s so, so hard to resist a table of free books, and I ended up grabbing quite a few:

  • Loving Frank by Nancy Horan (because it’s a fictional story about Frank Lloyd Wright)
  • Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin because I liked the idea of another Alice story.
  • The Hotel on the Corner of Sweet and Narrow by Jamie Ford because I remember readding lots of good reviews of it.
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, because it’s going to be a movie this summer and I might read the book before then :)
  • Ape House by Sarah Gruen because I liked her previous book, Water for Elephants.
  • Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller because it’s a memoir and I am a nonfiction junkie.
  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet because Tara said it was a great book.
  • The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, which is one of the big books Random House is pushing here at BEA.

Post-Random House, I walked with Tara back to my hostel, then met up with Florinda (The R’s Blog) and Karen (Sassy Monkey Reads) for dinner. We just stopped at a pub close to their hotel, which ended up being delicious. Then, because I’m lame and was tired, I went back to the hostel to blog, read through some of the BEA materials I picked up, and get to bed.


Tuesday morning started up pretty early — Anastasia and I went over to Javits about 7:45 to take a look at the author signing tickets and get our bearings. We didn’t make the big rush into the exhibit hall at 9:00 like a lot of people, but got in early enough to see some craziness — people mobbing shelves to grab books, lots of bumping and elbowing. It was sort of crazy.

Online Book Discovery

The one panel session I went to yesterday was called “Online Book Discovery,” which was moderated by Charlotte Abbot and talked about some of the ways people search and find books online. It was less about reviews and more about things like SEO, metadata, and ways to mimic the feeling of serendipity finding books in the real world online. There were a couple interesting points:

  • A digital content person from Barnes & Noble (I cannot remember her name) said their site had three kinds of readers: mainstream buyers, who just grab big titles; engaged readers, who find a book they like they jump around; and value customers, who look for good deals (free books).
  • Someone else made the point that individual opinions on books still matter for readers trying to make a choice in what to get, but the changing reviewing landscape means those voices have changed (ie they aren’t traditional critics anymore).

Books, Books, Books

Because I like nonfiction, the lines I stood in for author signings were all pretty short. This means I got to go more autographing sessions than I though, since so many of the ones I wanted to go to were at the same times. I’m running late, so I’ll put up a book list later tonight or this week.

Craig Thompson

Anastasia and I listened to Craig Thompson, author of Blankets, talking about his upcoming graphic novel, Habibi. He’s spent six years working on it, and the small sample they passed around looked beautiful. It’s a sort of fable/socio-political fiction story that explores the origins of the various major religions, sort of. It’s hard to explain, but I can’t wait to see it finished in September.

Dinner, Bookrageous

At the end of the day, Anastasia and I met up with Amy (Amy Reads) and Cass (Bonjour, Cass!) for dinner. Because we’re cheap, we just grabbed burgers at a place called Five Guys, but it was pretty delicious. Then, Cass, Amy, and I found Ash (English Major’s Junk Food), our other hostel-mate, and headed out to the Bookrageous party.

It was at a bar called Lolita, which was really cool but in a weird part of town. There were a lot of bloggers and authors there. I didn’t take any pictures (shameful!), but I’m sure other people will have some I can link to soon.

After Ash and I had an adventure trying to hail a cab (we’re totally ridiculous), we got back to the hostel and went to bed.

So that’s my BEA adventures so far. Do you have any questions about things? I sort of breezed through a lot of stuff but I want to get to Javits for a signing in a little bit and blogging takes longer than I thought :)

If you want any more details, leave questions in the comments or send me a note on Twitter and I”ll try to give some more updates. Hopefully I can do another blog post before the week is up!

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