BEA: BookExpo America

This blog is becoming a bit more “the life and times of a person involved in the children’s book industry” than a straight forward review blog. I hope all you followers out there find this equally read-worthy.

So, BEA. BookExpo America. That’s where I’ve been since Tuesday, when I was picked up at 5:30 a.m. by Andrew Laties, author of Rebel Bookseller, and Manager of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art Bookstore. Fellow MFA graduate and Assistant Manager of the Carle Bookstore, Eliza Brown, came too.

What is BEA, you might ask? In a nutshell, BookExpo America is an annual conference for people related to the book industry. Booksellers, both indie and corporate, publishers, editors, agents, librarians, teachers, published authors & illustrators, unpublished authors & illustrators, and some really die hard fans of the book industry all come together to talk industry buzz, pick up advanced copies (called galleys or ARCs – advanced reading copies), network, discuss new ideas, attend informational sessions and panels, etcetera etcetera etcetera. The American Booksellers Association hosts a Day of Education for booksellers. The Association of Booksellers for Children hosts several ticketed events. The exhibit floor hosts hundreds of publishers all showcasing their work, handing out tote bags and galleys, and holding author signings people wait hours in line for.

Though there are roughly 5-100 things you could be doing at any given time while at BEA, here is the general schedule of events that interested me:


Serving the “Tween” Reader: Issues & Best Practices
No reader is harder to serve than the “tween,” ages 9 – 12. This is the cusp of adolescence, with a wide range of developmental needs, reading levels, and social issues to navigate. Join a panel of experts as we discuss the definition of “tween” and examine key issues, including how to navigate content, how to interface with parents and teachers, how to shelve books for this market, what role outside services like Common Sense Media are playing in this category, and more. Presented in conjunction with the Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC). Moderated by Kristen McLean, Executive Director, ABC.

IndieBound Workshop
The Local First movement isn’t an abstract concept—it lives in your community. Explore ideas for utilizing the energy of IndieBound to create events, sales opportunities, and awareness together with your indie business neighbors. Presented by Meg Smith, ABA Membership and Marketing Officer, and Paige Poe, ABA Marketing Manager.

The Nuts & Bolts of Children’s Bookselling: Roundtable Discussions
Join in roundtable discussions about the day-to-day operational issues that children’s booksellers rarely get a chance to discuss in a conference environment, but which can make a big difference in their experience as booksellers. Topics will include title selection and shelving, creative display ideas, events, the mechanics of receiving and returns, managing co-op, community networking and partnerships, and more. Each table will focus on a single topic, and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Bring your questions, ideas, and problems. Participants will learn from each other and emerge with fresh ideas and best practices to take back to their stores. Presented in conjunction with the Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC). Moderated by Elizabeth Bluemle & Josie Leavitt from Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, Vermont.

The ABC Not-a-Dinner and (Mostly) Silent Auction 2010
An annual evening with children’s booksellers involving great art, wonderful speakers, and a celebration of Being Independent!
MC: Michael Buckley, NYTimes bestselling author of The Sisters Grimm series (Abrams).
Keynote speaker: David Weisner, Caldecott Award-winning author of Flotsam (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Disney Book Group Mo Willems & Jon J. Muth Art Reception
A reception featuring original art from their new book City Dog, Country Frog, words by Mo Willems, pictures by Jon J. Muth.
Check out this GREAT REVIEW on the IndieNext list by…me!

Emerging Leaders Council BEA Party @ WORD 

For young independent booksellers and the people lucky enough to be their plus ones.


Children’s Book and Author Breakfast 
Presented in cooperation with the Children’s Booksellers and Publishers Committee [the American Booksellers Association (ABA), Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC), and the Children’s Book Council (CBC)], this opening-day breakfast will feature:
The Celebration of Bookselling Luncheon
This event is always a highlight for ABA member booksellers. Enjoy lunch with award-winning authors and experience the best awards show in the industry.
Guess what author/illustrator was seated at my table…Jon J. Muth! I don’t know if that was the biggest coincidence ever or what, but when I sat down and he introduced himself to me, my response was, “Oh, hello! I’m you’re IndieNext quote.” What a surprise & a pleasure!
Speed Dating with Children’s Authors
Get to know children’s book creators up close and personal! Each bookseller will get quick get-to-know-you chats with up-and-coming children’s authors and illustrators, moving from table to table to meet them all. After the Speed Dating, enjoy larger discussions with those you piqued your interest!

Participating “dates” include: Heather Brewer, Bryan Collier, Eirean Corrigan, Beth Fantaskey, Adam Gidwitz, Charlie Higson, Lauren Kate, Sean Kenney, Jonathan Maberry, Carolyn MacCullough, Matt McElligott, Kate Millford, Daniel Nayeri, Mitali Perkins, Diana Peterfreund, Matthew Reinhart, Karen Gray Ruelle, Bob Seha, Nadja Spiegelman & Trade Loeffler, Jonathan Stroud, Iza Trapani, & Maryrose Wood.
BEA Young Adult Editors’ Buzz
Young Adult Editors tell us about their hottest picks for the upcoming season.

Candlewick Booksellers & Authors Dinner 
I was honored to dine with Bonny Becker, Elizabeth Bluemle, Victoria Bond, John Cusick, James Howe, Megan McDonald, Tanya Simon, Daniel Nayeri, David Ezra Stein, Roger Sutton, & Rosemary Wells. Much thanks to Elise Supovitz, Director of Field Sales, for including me in this evening!


Tea With Children’s Authors 
This great new program gives librarians and booksellers a chance to chat with some of the industry’s brightest stars in a more relaxed and casual environment. Each author will join a table of book enthusiasts for refreshments and an open-ended conversation about the author’s life and work. Each table will be moderated by an ABC bookseller. 
Authors scheduled to appear: Laure Halse Anderson, Jan Brett, Peter Brown, Doreen Cronin, Jennifer Donnelly, Russell Freedman, Cornelia Funke, Geoffry Hayes, Gordon Korman, Megan McDonald, Brandon Mull, Richard Peck, Sara Pennypacker & Marla Frazee, Rick Riordan, Peter Sis, & Carmen Agra Deedy.
So, you can well imagine how busy I’ve been over the past few days! A big shout-out to Margaret Raymo, Editorial Director at Houghton Mifflin’s children’s imprint, who I kept running into at various events; to Noa Wheeler, Associate Editor at Henry Holt, who I literally almost ran into on the show floor; and to Holly Ruck, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt sales rep extraordinaire, and my kind, generous host for the last three days! If you’re part of the book industry, I highly recommend signing up for BEA 2011, May 24th – 26th.

6 thoughts on “BEA: BookExpo America

  1. Just hopping by to say hello. Sounds like you had a wonderful experience at BEA. Great graphics.I'll add you to my google reader. Thanks for all the information about the publishing world.

  2. It was my first speed-dating gig and I had a blast. A whole roomful of delightful booksellers from all over the country. I had a blast!Jonathan MaberryAuthor of ROT & RUIN (Simon & Schuster, Oct )

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