I Went to BEA and This Is What I Thought
I walked into the Jarvits center and was staggered by its size. Here was a convention center, its atria clad in glass, that took a couple of minutes to walk from end to end. It was huge (but also probably just normal convention center size; I’d never been to one before). And all of it was filled with publishers and authors and books.
A match made in heaven.
Given that New York was only the first stop on my backpacking trip around the world, I was extremely limited in what I could take. I had decided that I would only leave with two very specific books – Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys and Stand Off by Andrew Smith. As it turns out, the two books I did take were neither – but that’s a different story entirely.
Like everyone else there, I walked the floor – the exhibition floor. The area where hundreds of publishers, big and small, entice you to read their books.
What struck me about Book Expo America was its wasteful consumerism. There were books everywhere. That in itself isn’t wasteful (or consumerist). But the way people were walking the floor was. Many had huge bags stuffed with books; others had entire suitcases checked in where they would deposit their amassing collections of proofs and galleys. BIG suitcases.
I – having limited myself to only 2 books – couldn’t help but wonder how many books would actually get read. How many books were being picked up because bloggers and reviewers were genuinely interested, and how many were doing so because HEY, FREE BOOKS?!
I knew that had I not limited myself I would have been no different – I would have grabbed whatever I could have, plus a whole lot more.
It made me think about how many books I had on my shelves at home that I hadn’t read yet.
I’m not quite sure what I thought of BEA. It was so many things at once. Would I go again? Maybe. I don’t know.