Dispatches from Book Expo America (Part 1)

by Kim on June 4, 2014 · 33 comments

Whew! I started out this post thinking I could get all of my trip to New York for Book Expo America into one piece, but it was getting way, way too long. With that in mind, consider this the first of three posts I’ll share on BEA.

Today’s post includes traveling to New York, BEA Bloggers, and some thoughts on the expo floor. The second post will cover activities from Thursday and Friday night, as well as Saturday morning. And since I’m still waiting for some books I sent home via FedEx to arrive, so I’ll have a third post highlighting some of the books I picked up.

Tuesday: Travel Day

I left for BEA bright and early on Tuesday morning. My dad and I stopped for breakfast on the way to the airport, but I still arrived with plenty of time to find my terminal and read a book. My read for the trip there was The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (July 8 from Harper), which I chose because I need something easy and absorbing for travel reading. Happily, my flight was smooth and arrived in New York with plenty of time before I needed to meet my roommate for the week, Florinda (The 3R’s Blog), to get into the city. 

BEA 2014 1

In the first of our (many) successful subway adventures, Florinda and I took the train into Manhattan from the airport, arriving at our hotel around dinner time. We met with our other dear blogging friend, Leslie (Regular Rumination), who escorted us out to Flushing for dinner at Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao, a restaurant serving Shanghai cuisine. It was absolutely delicious, especially the soup dumplings (pictured above — thanks to Leslie for the photo).

Wednesday: BEA Bloggers and the Harper Fall Preview

Florinda and I both had tickets to attend BEA Bloggers, a book bloggers convention held one day before BEA proper. Although there were some good moments in the day, I was (again), largely disappointed by the conference. The ideas for the panels seemed better, but in large part they were badly executed — too many vendors and publicists, too few bloggers. But I don’t want to spend this post bitching about the conference, so I’ll direct you to a few posts that, I think, sum up the day pretty well: Books Speak VolumesRiver City ReadingFourth Street Review and The Daily Dosage.

I snuck out of the conference a little early to head over to a fall preview event hosted by HarperCollins. At the event, publicists from the various Harper imprints shared some of their big books for the fall season. I didn’t take any pictures, unfortunately, but did list a few of the books I’m most excited about:

  • Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbot (historical nonfiction about American women in the Civil War)
  • Rooms by Lauren Oliver (her first adult novel, about the fight between two ghosts and three siblings in an old house)
  • The Way Inn by Will Wiles (fiction, described as Up in the Air meets Inception)
  • Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (essays on feminism and pop culture!)
  • Yes, Please by Amy Poehler (memoir, described as Lean In but a hell of a lot more fun”)
  • Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming (celebrity memoir)
  • A Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel (narrative nonfiction on the dangers of texting and driving)

After the preview, I went to a blogger party hosted by Harper, then had dinner with some blogging friends… still no pictures. I am such a lame blogger!

Thursday and Friday: The Expo Floor

Thursday and Friday were the two days I spent on the floor for BEA. During that time I visited some of my favorite publisher’s at their booths, attended some autographings, and sat through a couple of education sessions. Rather than recap everything, here are six highlights in photos:

BEA 2014 2

1. The first book I picked up was a signed copy of Gail Sheehy’s upcoming memoir, Daring: My Passages. Lady journalist memoirs are one of my addictions.

2. I ran into a ton of my favorite bloggers on the floor including Jenn (Jenn’s Bookshelves). Thanks to Book Riot colleague Cassandra Neace for the photo.

3. The floor was really crowded this year, I think because publishers were doing more author signings in their booths instead of in the designated autographing area. This photo of the Algonquin booth doesn’t do the floor justice.

4. I think the Javits Center has a beautiful ceiling. That is all!

5. I love seeing the Penguin Book Truck out and about at BEA. You could buy books here, and there weer a few signings in the area.

6. One of the highlights of the expo floor was getting The High Divide signed by author Lin Enger. The book is set in the prairies of western Minnesota, so when I told Enger where I was from he actually knew the town! He marked down “Morris” in the map in the front of the book before he signed it which made my day.

I’ll plan to cover more from the expo floor in my upcoming post about the books I grabbed, as well as a second recap covering some of the events of Thursday and Friday evening and my adventures in book shopping on Saturday.

If there are any specifics you are curious about, share your questions in the comments!

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandy June 4, 2014 at 5:57 am

I’ve never heard many good things about the Blogger Conference, so IF I ever go (like, six years from now) I’ll bear this in mind. It sounds like so much fun though! I’m seriously excited about that new Lauren Oliver book!

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Kim June 7, 2014 at 2:24 pm

I have this irrational hope that BEA Bloggers will get better, but after three years it doesn’t seem like they have. It’s disappointing — I’m not sure I’d recommend going, even to a newer blogger.

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Shannon @ River City Reading June 4, 2014 at 6:30 am

Oh, I totally forgot to mention Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy in my post, but I’m excited about that one, too. And I ended up with a copy of A Deadly Wandering in my bag – score! It was so great to meet and spend some time with you last week!

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bermudaonion (Kathy) June 4, 2014 at 6:41 am

I haven’t decided how I’m going to write my post but I’m waiting for my books to arrive (today) before I do. You’re not a lame blogger – at least you took some pictures. After I got home, I realized I didn’t take a single photo! It was great seeing you again!

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Kim June 7, 2014 at 2:25 pm

I always think I am going to take photos, and then I forget to take out my phone to grab any. I’m lucky I have as many as I do!

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Care June 4, 2014 at 8:02 am

YAY! Maybe it is time to think about attending again – you up for next year? Then again, I might have a j-o-b, (rats!) and probably should have planned for going to this on. We’ll just have to see what this year brings…

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Kim June 7, 2014 at 2:26 pm

I would love to see you! I am not sure what will happen in 2015 — my sister and I have tentative plans for a big trip in the fall — but I hope I can make it again.

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Kerry M June 4, 2014 at 8:53 am

It was so nice to meet you (and Florinda) at the show! Excited to see what books you’re excited about coming out of the show; I love how so many bloggers leave with so many exciting books, and yet all of our stacks are so unique at the end of the day.

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Kim June 7, 2014 at 2:27 pm

That is one of my favorite parts too. It’s amazing how you can feel like you saw the whole floor and then see other bloggers with books you haven’t heard of.

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Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader June 4, 2014 at 10:15 am

I love this post :D GREAT photos! I almost feel as if I was there with you guys. Thanks so much for sharing the fun with us!

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jenn aka the picky girl June 4, 2014 at 12:02 pm

You will LOVE Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy. When I read it, I actually thought of you because so often I get my nonfic reads from your recs. Glad you had a good time!

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Kim June 7, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I think that one sounds just awesome. I’m glad to hear you liked it too!

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Meg June 4, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Enjoying living vicariously through the BEA posts! Looks like you had a great time, and how awesome that you got to see Leslie. My sister and I met up with her in NYC a few years ago and had so much fun! So cool seeing folks you know all together :) Yay!

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Jenn Lawrence June 4, 2014 at 5:49 pm

I love that picture of the both of us!!

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Kim June 7, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Me too!

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Trisha June 4, 2014 at 8:04 pm

I plan on attending every year, and something always comes up… pregnancies, vacations, family emergencies. Ah life. :)

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Anita June 4, 2014 at 10:10 pm

There is something so fun about the photos I can’t say enough! Love hearing about everyone’s BEA trips, living vicariously through my blogger friends. Someday!!
Can’t wait to read more about the books you want to share!
BTW, yumm on the breakfast with dad!

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Kim June 7, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Even though I was there, I’ve had fun reading other recaps as well. It’s fun to see what other people saw on the floor — often very different from what I saw!

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Shweta June 5, 2014 at 1:13 am

Every year I read the recap posts from BEA and every year the discontent regarding Blogger Con or BEA Bloggers as its called now is so evident. I really hope organisers put in more effort next time around.

Awaiting the follow up posts for more on the BEA floor action.

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tanya (52 books or bust) June 5, 2014 at 4:14 am

Thanks so much for doing this. I love reading about everyone’s BEA experiences.

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Justice June 5, 2014 at 11:02 am

Sounds like you had a blast! I definitely need to make some time to go the conference next year…

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Kim June 7, 2014 at 2:37 pm

It’s a really cool experience, a way to see the whole publishing thing in a different perspective. I’ve enjoyed going — especially getting to meet friends I otherwise only know from online.

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Jennine G. June 5, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Sounds awesome. I can’t imagine what else there could be!

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Jeanne June 5, 2014 at 1:39 pm

I love the photos; they allow me to live vicariously.

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Florinda June 5, 2014 at 3:03 pm

I got an email from BEA today soliciting feedback on the Bloggers Conference. I’ll forward it to you if you didn’t get your own–I know you have Thoughts about this.

Thanks for being an amazing roomie (again)–we did win BEA, didn’t we :-D?

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Kim June 7, 2014 at 4:25 pm

That would be lovely! My biggest thought is simple: more bloggers on the panels!

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Sheila (Book Journey) June 5, 2014 at 7:49 pm

This is a great post! Thansk for the links to the blogger con posts – I had not read any feedback and they were interesting. I did not go to the vlog or the law one. I like the idea of the Uncon.

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Kim June 7, 2014 at 4:26 pm

I want something that gives bloggers a chance to talk with other bloggers. I don’t think that’s what this conference aspires to be, which I need to just accept :)

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Kelly from Readlately.com June 6, 2014 at 6:19 pm

I feel like you haven’t even scratched the surface in this post! (But who am I to talk – I haven’t even written mine yet!) It was so wonderful to meet you, Kim, looking forward to more recapping!

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Kim June 7, 2014 at 4:27 pm

These posts could get incredibly long!

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Leah @ Books Speak Volumes June 6, 2014 at 9:28 pm

I hadn’t heard of Liar, Temptress, Solier, Spy yet, but it sounds fascinating.

It was so nice to meet you at BEA!

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