Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Comment: Conference Geek-Out

Dude, is it just me or have the book reviews been taking over the blog lately? Time to talk about something else. It's still months away, but it's totally not to early to get excited about Book Expo America!

For the uninitiated, BEA is the biggest book industry event of the year. Sponsored by Reed Business Group (the company behind Publishers Weekly), it brings together publishers, authors, agents, booksellers, media types, and a few of the curious. Galleys and ARCs flow like water (big, chunky water that's so heavy you have to ship it home); authors from the obscure to the exciting are on hand to sign their new books; there are educational workshops, big mixers, and of course, parties!

This year BEA will be held in Washington, D.C., from May 18 to 21. For complicated reasons, I haven't made my reservations yet (minor biting of nails...). But come hell or high water ("Lord willing and the creek don't rise," as my mother used to say, only slightly ironically), I am so gonna be there. At previous BEA's I've been enlightened by the workshops, and impressed by the publisher tables. I've gotten warm fuzzies from all the old and new bookseller friends I've met, and made connections with publisher sales reps and other industry folks. Not to mention I've dragged home books that have become my handsells of the next year.

And this year I have particular reasons to need to be there. I've already been chattering with fellow booksellers about the parties we hope to crash and/or get invited to (Litblog Co-Op, anyone?...) And if you can believe it, this year your Book Nerd has actually been asked to be... a panelist! I literally can't say too much about it right now -- the details are still in the works -- but I'll (most likely) be joining some other booksellers on the other side of one of those workshop tables. I should probably be casual about this -- but hello, I'm a book nerd, and I think it's really, incredibly, impossibly exciting. Further bulletins as events warrent.

On a smaller scale, this coming weekend is the New York Comic-Con. No bookstore is gonna send me to this one -- my store has a few graphic novels, but it's not a field they're necessarily looking to expand. But I've become a small-scale comic book geek over the last couple of years (under the tutelage of the ALP, of course), and I'm hoping to grab a couple of fellow geeks and see what all the craziness is about. This isn't the big Comic-Con -- that one's held in San Diego every year and is where the real freaks come out of the walls. This New York version is relatively new, but there are a couple of artists and writers I'm hoping to get a peek at, not to mention the glimpse into new comics on the horizon, and hopefully a free giveaway or two. I'll keep you posted...