30 May 2011

BEA in a nutshell

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend BEA.  Usually for this largest of all book tradeshows I get to walk the floor, collecting book after free book.  But this year was a little different; there were a lot of meetings:

Monday: Arrive on train and walk to Javits. Mediocre educational session. Lunch. Catch up with other booksellers. Moderately good educational session. Catch up with publisher friends.  Hear Margaret Atwood.  Laugh obligingly in all the right places of her talk.  Grab a good seat for the Editors Buzz.  OMG, I can't possibly fight the feeding frenzy and try to nab galleys featured at the Buzz and walk away almost empty-handed. Take subway to Brooklyn to have dinner and catch up with one particular bookseller/friend/former colleague.
Not my image.
Tuesday: Arrive at Javits from Brooklyn.  Meeting. Meeting. Celebration of Bookselling lunch.  Catch up with other booksellers. Secretly wish I had an author at my table instead of an editor. Meeting. Meeting. Meeting. Dinner with Peachtree.  Meet the fabulous publisher of Peachtree, her amazing crew, and the incredibly wonderful Carmen Deedy, who authored the book my husband illustrated.  Oh, and eat dinner across from Parker frickin' Posey.  She and I are both from Mississippi, you know.  We had dinner in one of her neighborhood restaurants and ours were the last two tables there that night.  Good times.  If you haven't seen Kicking & Screaming, Waiting for Guffman, House of Yes or Best in Show, run, do not walk, to watch these films.

She's like Rachel McAdams.  Only, you know, talented. This is *not* my photo.
Wednesday: Arrive at Javits.  Meeting. Meeting. Meeting. Lunch. Meeting. Meeting. Meeting.  Dinner & drinks with, barring my husband, my favorite guy in the world, along with some other terrific people at a cool little French place called Felix.  

Image belongs to NY Magazine

Thursday: Recover from drinking.  Take train back home.  Arrive at bookstore for event.  Close bookstore.  Drinks with colleagues.

Friday: Tired.  R&R&R.  (Rest & relaxation & reading)

Interestingly enough, there seemed to be an overall more positive vibe among booksellers and publishers this year, as if have all agreed to hunker down and do our best to survive in a world where e-book sales will soon eclipse regular book sales across the board except those books that rely heavily on visuals (children's picture books, how-to, cooking, gardening, art, etc).  I didn't meet many bloggers (though I sure saw a lot of 'em), so I cannot really say how it felt on their end of things. 

Yup, that's my BEA in a nutshell.  How 'bout you? 


  1. Um, my seat at the Armchair BEA sounds like more fun...except for the cocktails and the Parker Posey sighting. *Feeding frenzy* sounds somewhat undignified. Hope that book bloggers weren't the sharks ;)

  2. I had not an idea in the world about this BEA thing until I started blogging in February. Holy cow, who knew? I'm going one of these years soon.

  3. It's interesting to hear a BEA story from a bookseller's perspective. I had great fun at ArmchairBEA although I would have liked a nice lunch or dinner here and there (I mean: eating out!).

    I seem to be reading more negative posts about BEA than last year. Not a good sign.

  4. bibliophiliac, it's impossible for me to say who the sharks were exactly but I have to think that it was a blend of publishing people, booksellers, press, librarians and bloggers. I think we were all collectively guilty.

    BookBelle, I hope you do go next year and that I get to meet you!

    leeswammes, I just modified my post a little bit. I actually thought that the atmosphere was much more positive this year than in years past, at least among booksellers and the publishing industry. It would be great if you could attend BEA some year, too!

  5. So did you *speak* to Parker Posey? I mean, y'all were at the same dinner table, right? :)

    Also - do you have something against Margaret Atwood? Why the "laughed obligingly"?


  6. Melanie, I did not actually speak to Ms. Posey. See, I chose my wording very carefully. She was at a table right across from mine, but she was not there in conjunction with BEA or my author dinner. I played it cool and didn't try to talk to her or take a picture. As for Ms. Atwood, I have nothing against her, though I don't revere her, either. She was mostly funny, but not nearly as funny as the crowd made her out to be. Thus, I laughed obligingly--she's a venerable writer of great status and I paid her every courtesy an audience member can.

  7. I like the BEA sum-up :D

    Loved your Top 10 lies about books - made me laugh and snort :D I have my fair share too, but these days I pretty much nod and dont say anything...


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