Walking the floor of the annual Book Expo, we've certainly seen a transition. The whole thing is now on one floor, and there are lots of digital booths that we can't do too much with right now. That said, you should all be aware that we sold our first ebook last week, and we're excited about number two.
I should really fill my whole day with meetings, and sometimes feel like I have totally squandered the trip by not doing so. But the one year that I packed a whole lot of structured meetings in, I found myself upset for having not seen enough of the show floor.
Though I do a few meetings each day, and certainly RVSP to a good lunch, dinner, or drink invite, I believe in a certain amount of spontaneity and accidental meetings at these things. William Whyte, the urban planner, always said that cities work in part because of these accidental meetings, and Book Expo is no less than a temporary city within a city. There are of course some publishers that I will never wind up talking to, as they are either besieged by visitors or not at the booth, but that's just the price. It's turned out to be a very productive show, and I am walking into my fourth day excited about many books and chock full of ideas.
There are many celebrities to be found on the show floor and environs. I have always been bad at celebrity spotting, but while I was at the Independent Publishers Group anniversary champagne toast with my pal Mary, Flavor Flav (author of the memoir with the out-of-the-box title Flavor Flav) stopped by to hang out. He had a little minion thing going on. I talked to his publisher's rep (no, I think this was his publisher), who is also publishing CNN anchor Don Lemon's coming-out memoir, Transparent. But the only celebrities who were really willing to pose were Elephant and Piggie.
Most authors, celebrity or otherwise, are there to hawk there upcoming releases, and come with long signing lines that meander along the booths, blocking traffic. Far fewer advance copies are just for the taking, and the atmosphere is way different from the ABA's Winter Institute, where you can pretty much be assured of getting a copy of anything you want. In the end, I decided that I probably have most of the hot galleys waiting for us at Boswell, and a signature isn't worth a half hour wait. This show is open to the public, and there are a lot of grabby grabbers. They were great about keeping out luggage carts this year, but I still spotted several folks with enormous tote bags filled with multiple copies of hot giveaways. Though the giveaways are scheduled, most disappear quickly.
Who am I kidding? I got some darn good swag myself (pictured).
Here are your other questions answered:
Q: What seems to be the buzz book of the show?
A: I could spend an hour on that, but Erin Morgenstern'sNight Circus seems to have a lot of very, very, very enthusiastic reads already.
Q. What's the advance copy that you are going to drop everything to read?
A. I'm thinking it might be Amor Towles' Rules of Civility, as it seems appropriate to read something set in New York before I leave. But first I have to finish Alice LaPlante's Turn of Mind. Lots of booksellers have already read this, and I've been having some great conversations about this novel, told from the perspective of a woman with Alzheimers.
Q. What about that great tee shirt?
A. It's from Biblioasis, that wonderful indie publisher that brought us Alex MacLeod's Light Lifting and Clark Blaise's The Meagre Tarmac. We're excited about Bruce Jay Friedman's fall memoir, Lucky Bruce.
Q: What are the Scientologists dressed as this year?
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