Friday, May 30, 2014

Not So Live from Book Expo--The Show in Five Photos.

Since my brain is a bit fried from three days of conventioning, I thought I'd let the pictures talk for me.

1 . Here our buyers Jason talks with Brad at the Columbia booth about The Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable Planet, which came out this year from Arnold Van Huis, Henk Van Gurp, and Marcel Dicke. In the book, two entomologists and a chef make the case for insects as a sustainable source of protein for humans and a necessary part of our future diet. The publisher was offering a chocolate and peanut butter cricket bar. We were so glad to see Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, and a few other university presses at the show. Many have dropped out, and some, like University of California, have cut their discounts and raised their prices, pretty much spelling out that they do not see retail as a viable option for their wares. A lot of bookstores are worried about this. The solution? Look for more viable titles like The Insect Cookbook. 

2. There are several new publishing imprints and divisions popping up this year. Among them is Bob Miller's Flatiron Books, part of Macmillan, which is of course based in the Flatiron Building. Miller had runs at Workman and the maverick no-return, no-advance HarperStudio, but he is probably best known for spearheading Hyperion Books for Disney. It was a good name and I found it odd that both Disney and Hachette (who bought much of the backlist) wound up eschewing the name for their continuing publishing program. Several of us wound up attending a cocktail party in one of the meeting rooms. I thought it was some of the best swag of the show--a fine tote and a sturdy mug, plus the promotional piece that mimics the Flatiron. Their first release is Oprah Winfrey's What I know for Sure, collected from her columns.

3. Speaking of swag, I have heard that ten-year-old-girls find that temporary tattoos are a bit babyish, but a number of publishers bet on them to entice an older crowd. I came across a signing line for Garth (The Art of Racing in the Rain) Stein and the option to get tat myself up for the day was just too enticing. I told myself going into the show that I wouldn't stand on any lines, but I use a mathematical formula that involves length of line, how much I think someone might want the book, whether I know someone in the line, and how fast the author is signing. In this case, I already knew that Mr. Stein would be visiting Boswell for the new book, A Sudden Light, so I just wanted to say hi and get the ball rolling on reads. You know that when a book is personally inscibed to you, you must read it. It's the rule. Our event, by the way, is Saturday, October 4, 7 pm, so mark it on your calendars.  A big thank you to Stein for contorting himself such that the photo included him, the book, and the tattoo.

4. It's always interesting to see what books get what marketing. When we arrived at the hotel, we got a pile of galleys in our welcome bag (including the aforementioned Stein.) Many author attendees also got featured in the Publishers Weekly print daily edition. And of course while we don't see one author parties or dinners, one always pays attention to which authors got a coveted spot at a group shindig. Sometimes it has to do with geography--it's much cheaper to include New Yorkers in the promotional plans when the show is at the Javits. There were not quite as many outside billboards this year, but the entry doors to the show were plastered with Lauren Oliver's first adult novel, Rooms, and there were lots of hanging banners too. It was nice to see one for Mary Kubica's The Good Girl, being published by Harlequin's Mira imprint this summer. It's a Gillian Flynn-esque novel that has already gotten a good read by Sharon at our store, and she'll be appearing at Boswell along with Heather Gudenkauf on Tuesday, August 5.

5. It's not that I want this to be the Daniel show, but it is nice to see old friends at Book Expo, and it was a particularly memorable evening to attend the retirement party of Adena Siegel, the longtime East coast Harvard-Yale-MIT rep, who, previous to this position, was the Midwest Harvard-Yale-MIT rep. One of my favorite people to see is Anne Bunn, the MIT sales manager, who gave me permission to use this photo in the blog. To be honest, she told me to use it.  I thought I'd say something kicky about the MIT Press books, but the best I could come up with is that I have in fact read one of their top ten demand titles, according to Ingram. It's John Maeda's The Art of Simplicity, almost nine years old, but it has become a must read for design professionals. Those were the days when I could just read something like that on a whim.

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