Some Thoughts on Book Expo as a Blogger
There was a lot of controversy within the blogging community leading up to the event this year. The insane price hike (this year it was $400 CAD each for Chelsey and I) and the introduction of an application system (a timed application system) left a lot of bloggers feeling unwelcome. There was a definite shift at the event, Book Expo felt smaller, quieter. There was a noticeable lack of bloggers clogging the show floor. This was kind of a let down since every year I look forward to meeting new bloggers in lines and at events. We weren’t the only one noticing this lack of a presence. During a signing line on Friday I ended up chatting with a Publicist who congratulated Chelsey and I for “getting in”.
I’m not sure if that’s exactly correct. I find myself agreeing with Ashley at Nozegraze: “Book bloggers are still welcome, they just want to make sure they’re… actually book bloggers.” That being said I think there are other ways to go about searching for accountability. The price hike was pretty alienating for bloggers coming from outside of the USA. With all of the rebranding from Book Expo America to just Book Expo it seems like they would want to be encouraging international attendees. Not shutting them out.
It worked out for us this year, but what I’m more interested in will be next year. Change doesn’t happen overnight, which leaves me wondering what’s coming next. Will there be more limitations on bloggers? Only time will tell.
Book Expo: The Highlights, The Thoughts and The Extreme Hauling
Maggie Stiefvater remembered me. Not much else to be said about this one. Maggie Stiefvater recognized me from a previous signing.
Starbucks. The Javits Center added a second Starbucks to the main floor. Thank God for small miracles. Instead of standing in one extremely large line every morning for your caffeine, you could chose between two reasonable ones. Also Chelsey introduced me to their breakfast sandwiches.
I was Tochi Onyebuchi’s first signing. I don’t think I’ve ever been first in line for anything in my life. Onyebuchi was super excited and nice. I’m super exited to read Beasts Made of Night, his debut novel, a Nigerian Fantasy. Sign me up.
We Met Marjorie Liu. Last year Chelsey and I fell in love with the comic Monstress. We were both really excited to meet Marjorie Liu the comic’s writer.
Diversity. I was really impressed with the wide range of books at Book Expo this year. Even for the genres that were heavily represented there was a nice mix of new and exciting. I love fantasy books but even I can get sick of reading fantasy novels set in the same “no-this-is-totally-not-medieval-europe-you-guys” settings. I’m really excited for all the different fantasy and scifi novels I brought home.
Bill Nye. Sadly I didn’t get to meet Bill Nye. I was nervous that if I did I would have just started chanting BILL BILL BILL BILL at his face and sweating uncomfortably. We did get his new book though and he did pre-sign them. So that’s a thing.
Quirk & The X Files. I love Quirk Books. They were giving out arcs of an X Files picture book. It was one of the most adorable things ever. The art is bright and colourful the story is fun and harkens back to the set up of the original stories.
IT DEVOURS. We got the new Night Vale Novel, thank the Smiling God, All hail the Glow Cloud etc etc. Kevin still gives me nightmares.
Wonder Woman Warbringer. Leigh Bardugo does Wonder Woman. The hype around this book was insane. A line started forming about an hour before the signing began. We were lucky enough to be among the first twenty to get the book. Thank you Penguin was recognizing the unofficial line.
Unearthed. Friday morning we were headed over to Harper Collins to be there for a drop and we found ourselves swallowed into a line at Disney. That’s how Chelsey and I found ourselves holding copies of Unearthed by Ami Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.
Out of Print. I love Out of Print, I want all of their shirts. But sadly the shipping to Canada is a little bit ridiculous. This year at Book Expo they had an amazing promotion on which lead to my buying four tshirts, including their new Handmaid’s Tale shirt.
We Got Basically Everything. There was only one book on our list that we missed. But we got all the books we had our hearts set on. I blame it on a mix of amazing planning, good scheduling from the event and a little bit of luck.
Want More Book Expo and New York Adventures? You’re In Luck!
Book Con: Get In the Line
Where Book Expo is almost relaxing, Book Con is a battle. It doesn’t matter how well you plan. You are not going to get everything you want. You’re going to have to make sacrifices. Understand that if you’re not at the front of the line you are not going to get that beach towel.
There were some definite improvements this year in comparison to the years before it. The biggest (and best) change was that you didn’t need to line up in the morning for signing tickets. Instead the line was the week before and on the website. This made the morning pretty relaxing. Chelsey and I picked up breakfast at the Tree Haus and brought it with us to eat in line.
We mostly spent the day wandering the show floor. I had a ticketed signing with Renee Adieh for her novel Flame and Mist. Chelsey went to the Leigh Bardugo and Holly Black panel.
Overall it was probably one of our best Book Con experiences. I expect this was due to the lack of a dire need for anything. We had managed to get all the books we had wanted while we were at Book Expo. Anything that we got today was for our own entertainment.
The best thing I brought home with me was two Grady Hendrix books. The first being the paperback release of My Best Friend’s Exorcism which had this nostalgic VHS cover design and an arc was his upcoming book Paperbacks from Hell. A reference book about old school horror cover designs. Paperbacks has the vibe of a passion project, which is something that I can get behind.
We left Book Con a little early. All of the early mornings and walking around for the past few days had finally caught up with us.
We got back to the hotel, dumped our books and hung out for a bit. Chelsey had a Wonder Woman screening that night. When it was over we ordered sushi up to our hotel room. The one thing about New York City I will always get behind: 24 hour take out. #thedreamisreal
But speaking of New York City…
New York City Tourists
The best part of Book Expo being in New York City is that we get to spend some time wandering around New York City. There are always awesome things to see, food to eat and miles to walk. We managed to do a few tourist things around our busy Book Expo and Book Con schedules.
Kinky Boots on Broadway
This year I really wanted to see a Broadway show. We meant to buy tickets months in advance but we kind of forgot. I figured we were probably going to see Wicked. We both love Wicked. But one dull grey morning I happened to be scrolling through twitter and came across this gem:
It’s no secret that I love Panic! At the Disco and Brendan Urie (I mean just look at this music video). I snagged us tickets. We were three rows from the front and off to the side. It was amazing.
The Natural History Museum
Chelsey needed to be reunited with the giant blue whale and I wanted to go to the wood room. The museum had a special exhibit on about mummies which was awesome. That meant I also got to witness a bunch of kids introduced to their own mortality (yay?). All in all a great afternoon.
The Met is my favourite museum ever. We spent a few hours there Monday and got lost in the upstairs galleries. I found this gorgeous David Bowie art print that as much as I wanted it, I had no room for.
Chelsey found the Tenement Museum the last time we were in New York. The museum consists of a guided tour though an old tenement building. This time around we took the Sweat Shop Worker tour which was really interesting and informative. As per usual my favourite part of the tour was in the ruined space in the top of the building. This room has been kept in the state that it was when the building was first acquired by the museum. You can see the multiple layers of wallpaper peeling off the walls. If you have a chance to take one of their tours I would highly recommend it.
I love The Strand. Both Chelsey and I picked up copies of The United States of Absurdity: Untold Stories from American History by Dave Anthony, Gareth Reynolds. We also both got a bunch of reader swag: tshirts, postcards and stickers. Also I saw a Drake (and Bowie) prayer candle… which was different.
The Mummy Experience
We stumbled upon this when we were at Rockefeller Plaza. There were two VR experiences. The first being a game where you were tasked with holding off hordes of undead mummies first in a helicopter and then on the ground. It was so much fun (and much better than the movie). The second was a behind the scenes look at how they filmed one of the action sequences from the film. Which was pretty cool but blurry for me since my glasses couldn’t fit under the VR goggles.
The Food (So much food…)
What is a trip to New York City without New York City Pizza?
Lasagne. Ceasar salad. Meatballs. Tiramisu. It’s not a trip to New York City without at least one dinner at Carmines. The restaurant is family style, so bring some friends. Also maybe make a reservation.
I don’t know how they can call what they sell cookies… they’re more like cakes. I watched Chelsey drop $40+ on cookies. She brought most of them home for people. Or at least that’s what she told me. If it had been me I would have kept them all for myself.
This place was a block away from our hotel. The last time we were in NYC we stopped there for breakfast and I had the best french toast of my life. This year I managed to convert Chelsey to the ways of the french toast. We went there almost every morning.
The Beetle House
I managed to snag reservations to The Beetle House, a Tim Burton inspired bar. All the food and drinks were based off of the director’s filmography. The place had a great atmosphere, the food was really good and it was purple inside. Also, we watched our waitress jam out to Lazarus and that was a bonding moment.
Another year, another Book Expo. The trip is always a blast. And I hope we get to go back next year. Now it’s time to sit back, relax and read all the books we brought home. If you’re a blogger, a librarian or part of the publishing industry in any way shape or form I suggest you go to Book Expo 2018. While you’re there make a stop at Carmines for Tiramisu. Trust me. You’ll love it.
Check out the vlog we filmed about our trip for more details about our adventures and stay tuned for the reviews on the books we picked up while at Book Expo.
Till next time, happy reading!