Book Expo 2015

So this wonderfully book-saturated event happened full of all walks of book-related folks.  I enjoyed two and a half days racing around the Javits center and trying to be nearly everywhere at once.  This introvert put on her extrovert hat and happily chatted with dozens of different publishing professionals, authors and fellow librarians.  There is very little quite as invigorating as being in a place where you can turn to just about any other attendee and begin a conversation about books.

The Exhibitors:

I love wandering the show and taking in the various Exhibitors, though I paid a little less attention this year to where the bags and other kinds of must-get swag were being handed out.   It meant a little less earnest running from place to place, and little more time looking and chatting with the exhibitors.  It was great getting to catch up with Usborne Books, Minedition,  Kar-Ben Publishing whom I’ve visited every year and whom remember me–which even more delightful!

At Peachtree Publishers I had a great conversation about one of their upcoming fantasy titles, Lilliput by Sam Gayton (due out in August 2015).  Since I’d read the book already, I was eager to discuss it and share the love.  That talk led to some interesting observations on fantasy that I plan to pursue in a post of its own pretty soon . . . I was lucky enough to dash by Capstone when they were cutting the cake to celebrate Katie Woo’s sixth anniversary.  I snagged a slice and got to meet the author, Fran Manushkin and thank her for the books which are so loved by my young patrons at the library!

A shout-out to Publisher’s Weekly who took over the task of hosting a Librarian Lounge for all the librarian attendees at Book Expo!  There was food and drink throughout the day, special events, swag and authors–and a passport game that was actually quite a bit of fun.  Every librarian who visited the Lounge was handed a passport and a list of places to visit before 3pm on the third day of BEA.  Each exhibitor’s booth would have a stamp with which to stamp the card at the back.  Collect all the stamps, and a librarian could come back and submit it for a chance to win prizes–each featured exhibitor offering a prize!  Yours truly was one of the winners–it quite astonished me, since I never win anything.  But a big thanks to the exhibitors at the Sharjah International Book Fair booth for the prize I won!  I wish I’d the means and time to attend their Book Fair in November, but it’s a tad out of possibility for me!

Thank you to all the exhibitors for a great Book Expo!  Lots of fun swag, great galleys and cheerful people to talk to.  While there’s lots of fun to be had in author signings and big name events, it’s the the sheer number of different vendors and seeing what’s out there that really makes this expo so worthwhile.

The Authors

It’s always a highlight of mine to encounter so many authors at Book Expo.  While gaining a signed copy of a book is certainly awesome–sometimes it’s just meeting certain authors and getting a chance to say “Hi! I loved your book!” or “Hi!  I’ve loved everything you’ve written since I was a kid!”  Authors are a varied lot, but most of them are really amiable people.

I missed out on the Nathan Hale signing, but I still got the chance to say hi to him–and he remembered me!  Nathan was kind enough to do an author visit to my library last year, and I was glad I had the chance to relay to him how much the kids had enjoyed it and still talked about it.  If you haven’t come across his latest graphic novel: The Underground Abductor, I highly recommend it.  It may be his best to date.

For those interested, I have an author bucket list: Authors I hope to meet in my lifetime, if only to shake hands with and tell them how much their work has meant to me.  I’ve been methodically crossing off names for years.  This year I got to meet Sandra Boynton, the author/illustrator of books that were some of my kids’ earliest favorites.  It’s always neat to meet the people behind some of your favorite children’s books–particularly when they are as genial as Ms. Boynton!

On the adult side of things, I scored a copy of The Three-Body Problem  translated by Kevin Liu and had it signed by Cixin Liu, the original Chinese author of the book.  I’m hopeful that the positive reception his book has had in the States will open the way for more Chinese science fiction to make its way here.  In the meantime, very happy to have a copy!

I also had the very huge delight of getting to celebrate the debut novel of one of my good friends.  Ilana  C. Meyer’s  Last Song Before Night  (Tor books, Expected publication, September 2015) is an adult epic fantasy that I read back in it’s earlier stages and I’m very eager to find the time to see how it’s been transformed in the bound copy of the book.  While  veteran authors are awesome to meet, cheering on those just starting out  is sometimes even a bigger deal. Cheering on a a friend?  Even better.  Getting to get on a line for an signed copy of said friend’s new book?  The best.


I met many other authors and illustrators . . . my mind is honestly a-whirl with it all, but I thank all of them for taking the time to be there.  I’m sure Book Expo is a bit much from their side of things too, and the time they take with attendees is well appreciated.

And then there’s the lines you wait on for author signings.  For a well-known author, that line is bound to be long.  It’s also bound to take some time.  But here’ the amazing part–you get on line  and you start talking to the person in front of you, or behind you.  Or across from you.  Everywhere you look there’s someone who’s willing to engage in passionate discussions about books.  Given my love of speculative fiction, there’s a regular group of BEA attendees that I always seem to see on the same lines I’m on.  It’s the only place we usually see each other, but we’ll easily say hello and chat, passing the time on those lines so that it hardly seems we’ve spent any time at all.  So thank you to all my line-mates that kept things interesting despite the wait!

Wrap Up

I came home from Book Expo with a huge amount of books and swag for my library–I think our patrons will enjoy it all.  (See picture below).  Wish I could have attended BookCon, but those three days at Book Expo were probably my limit!  I didn’t get to near as many discussion panels as I would have liked to–inevitably the amount one person can do at BEA is limited and choices must be made.  Given my tired arms and the dozens of things/people/places/discussions going on that I missed, I found myself wishing for minions rather earnestly!But it was a satisfying experience, and I’m looking forward to BEA’s return to the Javits Center in the future!




About Stephanie Whelan

I'm a children's librarian with a life-long love of all things science fiction and fantasy.

Posted on June 8, 2015, in General Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’m sorry our paths didn’t cross! Although probably they did, but not close enough for name tag reading…..

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