As a information professional, I have the privilege of attending Book Expo every year for my library. I went for the very first time last year, and ended up being extremely overwhelmed. I didn’t know what to expect, and even though I went with a group of coworkers, we all split up and I spent a lot of time just walking around. I did get to do and see some awesome things though- I sat in on a panel where Neil Patrick Harris and Lemony Snicket talked about various things, namely their new books, and the Series of Unfortunate Events Netflix series. I also stood on line and had a few books signed.
For those who don’t know, Book Expo and Book Con are annual book conventions where readers and book professionals have a chance to connect and share all in the same place. Publishers and other book-related companies have booths where they talk to consumers, and sometimes even offer materials such as ARCs, and other swag (both for purchase, and for free). There are also a number of authors who attend for autographing sessions (which you have to sign up separately for- but at no additional cost) and panels/talks. Readers and book lovers get to interact with these book-related people, and really get to celebrate our little community. It is held at the Javits Center in Manhattan over the course of a week- Book Expo (more for professionals like libraries, etc.) is during the week, and Book Con (more for the fans) is the same weekend (Saturday & Sunday).
This is how I spent my two book-filled days:
Please note- this post is going to be a bit long because these events are all day, and a lot happens during that time.
Also know that the items featured in this post are things I kept for myself (with the exception of the “gifts” part of Book Con. I did not photograph anything that I obtained for the library, but I can (and do a separate post) if ya’ll are interested.
Book Expo- Friday June 1, 2018
Wow. What can I say about Book Expo? After experiencing both bookish events side by side, I have to come away saying that Book Expo is my favorite event, by far! I mean, access to all these free books is definitely one of the perks for sure, but the community is so interesting, and I love being around other people who not only love books, but also often spend their time promoting books, and putting them in the hands of other people. That is truly something magical.
I will be honest here; even though this was my second Expo, I walked into the Javits and immediately felt over whelmed! I saw a stage that was about to have an event so I ended up sitting down, just to collect myself. The panel was Young Adult Buzz Authors, where a moderator talked with five new YA authors about their up coming books. It was super interesting, and I was glad to have gotten the opportunity to hear about these new books coming out in the very near future! So interesting, in fact, that I stumbled upon an in-booth signing later in the day for one of the authors and was able to talk to her about how excited I am for her book! The Similars (by Rebecca Hanover) is about a girl who is dealing with her best friend’s suicide, and starting a new, competitive school. To make matters worse, this school accepts clones as students as well. Not only does Emmeline have to compete with cut-throat students, but clones too? Things get complicated when one of the clone students shows up with the face of her dead best friend! This YA book is set to come out in January 2019.
Now for those who don’t know, Book Expo (and Book Con) is a lot of standing on lines, much like an amusement park! For Book Expo though, waiting in line usually means free books/merchandise. Some people (like my crazy amazing co-worker Jocelyn) spend weeks planning and studying event times so that they can plan exactly which lines to hit first and so on. Me on the other hand (while I did look at events the weeks leading up to Book Expo, and even saved a few on my app) ended up walking around, and hopping on lines of interest as I came across them. One of those lines was for a signed Kerri Maniscalco ARC of Escaping from Houdini. I know what you are thinking: but you haven’t read any of her books yet. You’re right, I have not! BUT I own the first two, and actually have Escaping Houdini pre-ordered. It is a series that I am super interested in, and really want to get to soon. Now that I have all the books, and Escaping Houdini still on pre-order, maybe I will host a giveaway when it comes out! Anyway- Kerri was super duper sweet, which is one of the best parts of these conventions, talking and meeting with authors and being able to appreciate them a little more. Escaping From Houdini is set to come out September 18, 2018.
Throughout the day, “ARC Drops” happen at designated times, at designated booths. Somehow, I stumbled upon some major ones, without pre-planning…
Honestly for me, Storm Runner was one of the biggest scores of the day! The guy even let me take *two* copies, one for myself and one for my library! I was SHOCKED that no one was on line for it, I literally just walked up and freaked out! The guy was seriously entertained, he kept laughing at my exclamations of OMG!
If you are unaware- Storm Runner is set to be the second book under Rick Riordan’s new imprint- Rick Riordan Presents. This new imprint covers authors of books who feature little known or talked about folklore and mythology. The first book to come out under this umbrella was Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi (you can see my review of that book here). It featured Hindu Mythology which was super interesting, and read like a Percy Jackson. Storm Runner covers Mayan Myths, something that I was super interested in back in college. Storm Runner (by J.C. Cervantes) is due to come out September 18, 2018.
You can see from the photos above that I got to see Neil Patrick Harris at last year’s Book Expo. He was on a panel with Lemony Snicket, and they talked about Series of Unfortunate Events, as well as both their new books. NPH launched the first book in his new middle grade series last year, called Magical Misfits. I somehow missed that ARC drop last year, and have not read it since it’s release. But I was walking past a booth as they were stacking the second book in this series to be “dropped” in a few minutes. Naturally I got on line and here it is! Magical Misfits: The Second Story (by Neil Patrick Harris) is due to come out September 25, 2018.
If you couldn’t tell by my blog name, I am a huge Harry Potter fan. This year marks the 20th anniversary of The Sorcerer’s Stone being released in the US (I wrote a blog post about it, which you can view here). Unfortunately, I missed the day of Book Expo where they had signed prints of the new covers (by Brian Selznick). They had the books out on display, but were not giving any of them away. They did however have some exclusive tote bags that went quicker than anything I saw all day. I had to wait in a line to get mine, at the end of the day (and they had to give us tickets to make sure we were waiting on line, and didn’t just walk up). Anyway, I was able to get one (THANK GOODNESS) and even got a pin as well!
Finally, I was able to get a couple more ARCs which is what it is all about, am I right?!? Elin Hilderbrand does this thing every Book Expo where she signs ARCs of her new book, and gives our Coronas as well. It is always at the end of the day, but everyone always looks forward to it. The Perfect Couple is due to come out June 19, 2018.
I was on line for a signed children’s book for my library when I noticed that Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera were dropping their ARC of What If It’s Us. I texted my co-worker, who I knew was running around on the show floor, to see if she could try to snag one for me. And wouldn’t you know it, she was able to grab one! (I swear that girl is a wizard when it comes to Book Expo…) This is the collaboration that everyone in the YA fandom has been begging for, and even though I haven’t read any of their books, I am super interested in them and plan to get to them soon. What If It’s Us follows two boys in NYC during the summer. After a meet-cute, they both have to decide if the universe wants them together, or is pulling them apart. It is due to come out October 9, 2018.
FINALLY! Here is some imagery of my Book Expo Haul.
Book Con- Saturday June 2, 2018
Book Con is the part of this book convention that is designed for the fans. Things are done a little differently from Book Expo to Book Con. For example, there are only a handful of ARC drops @ Book Con, where Book Expo seems to be almost exclusively that. At Book Con, you have more “events” or things to attend, than at Book Expo, but even those have lines that snake around booths for days. The sheer amount of people attended seemed to double at Book Con, and the lines were devastatingly long. AND the booths at Book Con have materials (books and merchandise) out for purchase, rather than giveaway. The one perk to Book Con that I had (aside from the tickets being super cheap) was that I was allowed to sign up for up to two author autographing sessions. The tickets for those were free, but you had to get them early if you wanted to see particular authors. I really wanted tickets for Angie Thomas but I kid you not, I was on the site 3 minutes after the tickets became available, and she was already sold out… I was lucky enough to snag tickets for Tomi Adeyemi and Marie Lu though!
Tomi Adeyemi is the amazing debut author of the smash hit, Children of Blood and Bone. You have probably seen this cover all over the blogosphere when it came out (and perhaps even now). It is a fantastical novel that tackles a lot of interesting concepts. Tomi Adeyemi was seriously the nicest author I met over the span of the two days, and seriously down to earth. She was joking and laughing with everyone, and considering the very strict limitations to her signing, I was surprised by how wonderful she was.
Marie Lu is super famous for Young Elites and other series, though I have yet to pick up any of those. However, I did read her newer novels. Warcross is the first book in a new series that features a female hacker in a futuristic world. Very similar to Ready Player One, the world in Warcross is very much focused on virtual reality, and has an extremely similar feel to it. Marie Lu also is the second author in the DC Icons series to publish her book. Batman: Nightwalker was so much fun. It took a brief look at the teenage life of Bruce Wayne, before he becomes Batman. Leigh Bardugo was the first author in this series to publish with Wonder Woman: Warbringer. I LOVED both books (Batman and Wonder Woman) and was incredibly impressed with each author’s writing and ability to keep me hooked on what was happening. I was also super excited that at the signing, Marie Lu gave out a sampler of the next book in the Warcross series, Wildcard, which is due to come out September 18, 2019.
Both autographing experiences were nice in terms of the authors, but kind of a pain in all other regards. You were required to purchase a book to even get on the signing line (even if you had a ticket) which was kind of annoying since these sessions are advertised as free. Some authors refused to do personalizations, and some even were very strict about photo taking. The lines were RIDICULOUSLY long, and very unorganized; people were accidentally cutting other people off because they had no idea where the line began or ended. I think that they need to figure out a better strategy for the autographing sessions. It just did not go off as smoothly as you would want. I also kind of think they need to re-evaluate “requiring” fans to purchase the book before seeing the author. Some people already have multiple copies of the book, and forcing them to purchase another one is a bit wrong if you ask me.
Like I said earlier, Book Con was more of a “buy this” than a “take this” sort of thing. I tried really hard to limit my spending, and for that reason, I didn’t leave with a whole lot of books. I did however get my first Book Beau (which I LOVE despite thinking it was a bit overpriced) as well as a few gifts for friends. I even got a COUPLE of free things so at least there is that. You can see photos of my haul down below.
I am SO SO SO sorry for this stupid long post. I really should have broken it up. If you made it this far, I congratulate you! It was such a privilege to spend an entire weekend with people who love and appreciate the same things I do. I had an amazing time, and truly look forward to making this a tradition for me. Here are photos of both BOOK hauls together. I think it was a fairly successful weekend if I do say so myself. What do you guys think? Any of these on your radar? Were you at either event? Let’s chat!