I’m up earlier than I planned to be on a rainy (!?) Sunday morning, back in Southern California. Some thought-out content and pictures related to my week in New York for BEA and BookBloggerCon is coming, but as I am not yet fully coherent, it won’t be in this post.
I heard from more experienced BEA-goers that there were far fewer galleys available this year, but since this was my first time, I can’t compare. I know that I only shipped home one not-quite-full box of books – a mix of ARCs and finished copies – that I accumulated between Tuesday and Thursday. (And that box included a half-dozen books I actually bought in bookstores, but decided to ship rather than pack.) Since I picked up almost as many books as I shipped at a publisher event on Thursday night and at BBC on Friday (which had to ride home in my luggage), I don’t think there was a shortage of books available. They weren’t all ARCs – that might matter to some people, but not me. Some were in stacks and free for the taking, while others were only brought out for author signings. In my experience, very few were shoved into my hands. There were probably more books on display than there were for the giving/taking, and some publishers just had a few samples and catalogs.
But BEA is a trade show. Along with the educational sessions aimed at various aspects of the book industry, there are sales to booksellers and libraries to be made at BEA, and I tend to think that’s its main purpose. It’s like film festivals in that respect: yes, attendees get to be the first to see new movies, but most of those movies are brought to festivals in the hopes of getting sold to distributors so wider audiences can see them too.
The books at BEA were gravy for me, anyway. I didn’t have plans to get very many, and I wasn’t ambitious about seeing publishers and hobnobbing with authors (although the one time I did was incredibly fun!). I was primarily in New York for the Book Blogger Convention, and the people I wanted to hobnob with were fellow book bloggers – and while I didn’t get to spend much time with everyone I hoped I’d see, I got to know some I didn’t really know before and got to know others a lot better.
Books aren’t everything. Friends are, and I feel like they’re the best thing I brought back from New York City.