In my previous recap post, I mentioned all of the tourist-type things I did in New York in anticipation of BookExpo, including attending the awesome feminist talk at The Strand. Although Wednesday featured mostly educational and professional panels geared toward booksellers, I’m considering it Day 1 of BookExpo since my coworker Stevie and I attended a panel on that day: Adult Editors’ Buzz. Otherwise known as the panel of the “stampede.”
But let’s back up a minute.
On Wednesday morning, we walked to the Javits Center to get our badges. What an intimidating and amazing building!
When we first walked in, I was struck by all the windows and enormous banners for various books.
We made our way to the attendee registration line, which didn’t have a long wait at all. I got my badge, a map of the Javits, and a copy of the show guide. My badge also contained tickets for the author breakfasts (adult and children), as well as the Hillary event on Thursday. But there was a mix-up when Stevie got her badge–the person who issued it ripped off her tickets, which we noticed after we left registration. All she had was the name portion of her badge. So we ended up having to return to registration and get her tickets reprinted. Thank goodness we noticed this right away and not the following day when we tried to get into the author breakfast!
The entrance to the show floor! GIVE US ALL THE BOOKS.
Unfortunately, the show floor wasn’t open on Wednesday, but that didn’t stop us from walking around the other areas of the Javits, oohing and ahhing over everything else.
Scott Kelly and Tom Hanks banners, be still my heart. (And Dan Brown and John Grisham.)
So surreal to actually be there!
Obligatory selfie in front of the welcome sign.
An awkward photo of me taking a photo of myself. It’s all smoke and mirrors, man.
We decided to head to the Adult Editors’ Buzz talk early so that we could get a good seat.
A rep from #ThisIsPublishing was handing out these awesome stickers.
The room filled up, to the point where people were sitting on the floor and standing in the back. We speculated that this was because there weren’t any other book talks going on that day.
Editors from various publishers shared their predictions for the next “buzz” book. Titles discussed included Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent; Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo; My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent; The World of Tomorrow by Brendan Mathews; The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin; and The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn. The editors did a fantastic job of promoting their books. They did such a good job, in fact, that there was a mad rush for books at the back of the room, reminiscent of a chaotic Black Friday sale.
Picture this: Wal-Mart at 3 AM when the pallet of $50 flat-screen TVs is wheeled out and the shoppers GO NUTS. That’s basically what occurred when the moderator said that the books were available at the back of the room. Thankfully, we emerged mostly unscathed. Stevie headed for one table and I took the other. It was a little…scary?…at one point. The crowd was just a mass of bodies and I’m kind of surprised I didn’t have a freakout and burst into tears. A lady standing next to me said something like, “I’m not trying to get trampled for some free books!” My sentiments exactly. Some people at the tables were trying to pass books back, but other people would grab them before I could get closer, so eventually I had to try grabbing, too…it was just a mess. I didn’t get a photo of the chaos, but Publishers Weekly has a fantastic photo (and write-up).
After the “stampede,” we were scared that the rest of the expo was going to be hectic like that–it wasn’t, thankfully. But honestly, I was slightly appalled at how disorganized the giveaway was. They could have asked us to line up–I would’ve gladly stood in line for those books. Or they could have asked us to remain seated and passed the books out. Literally anything else would have been better than what actually occurred. Someone could’ve been seriously hurt! I chatted with someone on Instagram who mentioned that she injured her arm leaving the room and had to ice it after she left. This should not be.
Day 1 galley haul. Am I grateful that I got these books? Absolutely. Were they worth potentially getting injured over…? Not so much. Don’t get me wrong, I am SO thankful for free books. But if any BookExpo organizers are listening/reading: please reconsider your giveaway procedure for next year, for the safety and sanity of your attendees.
I started reading Unraveling Oliver right away and have already finished it. I enjoyed it. I won’t be posting a review here, but will post something on Goodreads.
Day 1 was certainly exciting! Recap of Day 2 coming soon.