BookExpo America started May 28 at New York's Javits Convention in a downsized version, one less day, fewer journalists, less junk given away.Show organizers also decided to hold it in NYC for the foreseeable future and how long is that? It's the publishing industry trade show and the first one I've skipped in maybe 16 years. Why? It's just not worth it anymore. Also, it was refreshing to visit various cities like LA, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Las Vegas when the show bounced around.
Cleveland free-lance writer Carlo Wolff, occasional contributor to Post-Gazette book section, is covering the event for the Boston Globe, another commentary on newspapers since the Globe, a train ride away in Boston, is not sending a staffer to cover it. Here are my tips for Carlo:
You're probably at Javits Center right now, enjoying the "amenities" of the "press room," a prime example of how unimportant journalists are at BEA.
First tip: Avoid the press room. It's a disgrace and utterly worthless. Where's the Wi-Fi? Good luck with that. Also, those lanyards you can hang your badge from can be found at the general registration desk. The press room, of course, has none.
Tip 2: Restrict your time walking the show floor. It can be confusing, disorienting and hard on the feet.
Tip 3: Resist the freebies. They are for booksellers who can afford to ship boxes of them back home.
Tip 4: Galleys and catalogs. Tell the publisher to mail them to you. Travel light.
Tip 5: The most interesting events are the many seminars and programs going on off the floor in all those meeting rooms. Use PW daily to get the schedule. The National Book Critics Circle plans some self-serving programs where board members congratulate themselves on how prominent they are at the NY Times.
Tip 6: Try to set up author interviews away from the floor booths where "fans" will interrupt you and publicists will urge you to hurry up and finish.
Tip 7: Since this is New York, there's liable to be an overload of publicists. With fewer media in attendance to "service," they are likely to be bored or hung over, therefore of little use. Try to deal with the head flak.
Tip 8: If possible, avoid the Javits food service. The reason is obvious. Also, note the length of the Starbucks lines and plan accordingly.
Tip 9: Parties. Since you represent the Globe, you've probably got some primo invites. Unless you're a party animal, you might find yourself staring at your shoes. It's a very clubby, insider atmosphere. Wear your badge.
Tip 10: Get out, enjoy the city. A few blocks away is a bar owned by Jon Krakauer. Have a beer, relax.