Book Expo America is the number one book author event in America and is a perfect way to see the state of literature and books. It takes place at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City between May 30 and June 1, 2018. www.bookexpoamerica.com
As a bookaholic, it’s a great way to meet authors and be surrounded by books. If you are in the industry, a bookseller, librarian or book reviewer, this is the event for you. Besides huskers, who will sell you many items, and several special lunches or breakfasts, there are lectures by famous authors, readings and panels. BookExpo is for people in the industry. . It is not for consumers, who can attend Bookcon, that occurs on June 2 and June 3, which I will discuss further below.
The highlight for me, as always, is the books and the interaction with the authors. BookExpo has a legion of autograph lines where free novels and non-fiction books are handed out to the participants. One day is more devoted to young adult titles, while the other day, seems to be more devoted to older fare. If you are willing to stand on line, you will get a few minutes with your favorite authors, a signed advanced reader copy or an entirely full book to read. Or as most librarians I talked to do, copies of books for their summer programs or chances to get soon to be published books to get a first read to see if the books are good to get.
Book Expo 2017 returned from Chicago to New York City after a one year absence. Although the show officially started on Wednesday, that day was limited to educational programs. I went on Thursday and Friday, where the crowds were immense. To my eye, the autographing area was smaller than two years previously, although the major publishers did have a lot of action at their booths. This is definitely a place to go and meet other readers who all have similar interests.
Its also important to plan ahead. BookExpo puts out an online schedule of authors and autographing. Some autograph lines require tickets. Without a ticket, the chance to get that book are much lower. Since the event starts in a little over a month, if you are interested in going, now would be a good time to plot out who to see.
MAJOR HINT: Remember, books are heavy and unwieldy. The way to go is to bring a suitcase or two and park it in the bag check aisle. Then as you get your books, bring them to the suitcase. This way you can snare books but not have to lug them around.
A highlight this year is the Bernie Sanders speech on May 31 at 7:15 pm, but there are also Author Breakfasts and Teas. The Author breakfasts and teas do have a separate charge.
A few words about BookCon. This two day event that follows BookExpo is open to consumers and is relatively inexpensive. Autographs are given out on books, but you need to sign up for tickets to the listed authors and tickets are all dispensed online. In order to get tickets online mailed to your house, you must purchase them by April 23, 2018. Otherwise, tickets will need to be picked up there, which means another big line. Kids tickets (ages 6-12) are ten dollars per day. Adult tickets are $35 on Saturday and $30 on Sunday. Bookcon wants adults with all kids so you need to plan for that.
Hint. Parking near Jacob Javits is not cheap and the area is on the far west side. Use a parking app like www.SpotHero.com or www.Parkwhiz.com to get a spot now.
Last year I went with three teenagers on Saturday and two teenagers on Sunday. Saturday was a much more fun day. Most of the publishers who were there on Saturday, had decamped by Sunday. One or two major publishers were still there on Sunday, so the horde of people overwhelmed the space, which is much smaller than the BookExpo space. Security had to get involved to clear pathways and it was almost impossible to get access to books.
My suggestion for BookCon is to go on Saturday. Major Hint, get there early. Although tickets are dispensed for the authors online, there is a mad scramble from the basement of Jacob Javits – bare concrete walls, to the publishers up above. Thousands of people will be underground. You want to be close to the front in order to secure a good spot when the breakout finally occurs.
Go to www.bookcon.com to pick out your authors. It pays to get your tickets early so you can get tickets to the autographing. You need the barcode from your entrance ticket to get tickets to the autographing tickets. According to BookCon's website, the list of authors will be posted in early May and you can select thereafter. 2 author signings per person per day. While autographs are free some books will cost money. Its important to check the site to make sure you secure a ticket to an author you want to see.
Be prepared to wait and wait and wait some more. This is a convention, lots of people so there is lots of waiting. But you should come out with a lot of books as well.