BEA – My Experience!

2 Jun

book-expo-america-20111Last Thursday marked my first time experiencing the fun, crazy BookExpo America!  I wasn’t really sure what to expect going into it, but after a lot of planning and figuring things out the day of, I had a great time!  My co-worker and I drove to New Jersey to take the train to New York, which made the most sense after waking up pretty early to get started.  Once we arrived at the Javitts Center, we were in for an overwhelming time – finding registration, dropping off our rolling suitcase at the coat check and walking into the exhibition hall.

After figuring out that BEA is different from ALA in that publishers do something called “book drops” where ARCs are made available at certain times, my co-worker and I walked through all the exhibits and picked up the daily schedule to plan our day.  Some publishers were amazing nice and excited to share upcoming books, while others were a little more abrupt.  Two publishers who went out of their way to help us out were Candlewick Press and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  Because we were only at BEA for the day we often had to ask about books that we were interested in.  Some publishers, only offer certain books each day while others book drop some of the same titles across the expo, so it was difficult to figure out what was available and what was not.

I had planned on attending a few sessions, but with such a short time and book drops scheduled at certain times, we didn’t get much farther than the exhibit hall – which kept us busy for eight hours.  I’m hoping that in the future I can attend for the whole thing, rather than just a day, which would make it much easier.

My favorite parts of BEA: getting an ARC of Marvels by Brian Selznick and Auggie and Me: Three Wonder Stories by R. J. Palacio!  I also got a bunch of other books that I can’t wait to read and review.  It was definitely a fun day!  My biggest pointers for people thinking about heading to BEA:

  1. Wear comfortable shoes!
  2. Bring a rolling suitcase and coat check it – you can drop off swag throughout the day and save your shoulders!
  3. Before you go, find out what books will be available by checking School Library JournalPublisher’s Weekly and other review journals.
  4. Once you get there, make sure you grab the schedule for the day, from each publisher you’re interested in – these daily schedules will save your life.
  5. Talk to people in line, you never know who you’ll meet!
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