Friday, May 31, 2013

Book Expo America, as Told Through a Bunch of Signs and One Film Still.

The story starts outside the show, with several big billboards advertising titles for the show. Vince Flynn's The Survivor, for example, is coming out in September. But the billboard that caught my eye was the Penguin branding campaign. Inside the showroom also was a Penguin truck and a Penguin newsstand. Our old friend John gave me a tour, and noted that the truck might be coming as close as Chicago in July. Makes you think!

The entry doors had promotions for Amy Tan's new novel, The Valley of Amazement. It's her first book since leaving Putnam, and Ecco seems to be pulling out all stops for it. I know she'll be touring the country to promote it. I've made a good pitch for Boswell--we'll see what happens!

Actually this whole show is one reminder of all the pitches I've made, or still need to make. After winging it for a couple of shows, I decided to heavily structure this one, mostly because last year, I had a lot of touble finding people on the floor. I know that by doing this, I gave up my comfort that I would get to every booth in every aisle, but it turns out that I did have some good down time, and actually found some nice gift items I hadn't yet seen before.

Also from HarperCollins is the new Wally Lamb. I think one of the themes of this show I went to sleep writing this book and I woke up and the world has changed. Two books we're all very excited about are the Alice McDermott (eight years between books) and Donna Tartt (twelve years between books). With those kind of numbers, Wally Lamb's five years makes it sound like he's churning them out.

But he isn't! And we're all excited by Lamb's book as well, which is titled We are Water.

One book you've probably not heard much about yet unless you follow industry buzz is The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. It's an Australian title (it's actually part of a mini Australian invasion, which I will talk about in another post, as I've read three fall titles from down under, all of which have a lot of momentum) that has become a bestseller in every country in which it's been published. I'm shocked by how many booksellers have already read it, but that's for another post as well.

Needless to say, there are lots of kids' books being promoted as well. One tidbit I heard from the agent for the Dork Diaries series, is this is an interesting case of a book catching fire in other channels and finally bulding at the indies. I think it's a question of some great media for our channel, some focused promotion, and good word of mouth. Much as you want every sensation to start in the hands of an independent bookseller, I find it very healthy that there are lots of eyes and ears out there helping build and breakout books. 

The almost out new title in the series if Dork Diaries #6: Tales from a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker.

And while I could include 20 more signs if I had the time, I have to go back to the show. Here's one last image, a clip from Louise Erdrich giving us a tour of her bookstore, Birchbark, in Minneapolis. It's one of those stores where every book is carefully curated, and her twin missions of great literature and celebrating Native culture really shines through. I'm hoping to revisit the Twins this summer and have made her store my must see (not like last year when I waited till Saturday evening, only to realize they weren't open late that night).

Ms. Erdrich's newest novel is the prizewinning and beloved The Round House, of course.

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