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Event Recap: BEA is Better than BookCon & How BookCon Improve

Last week I returned to Book Expo America (BEA) at the Javits Center for my second time attending the show since 2012.  For the most part, I knew what to expect from the event and I spent a ton of time beforehand making a list of all of the signings and giveaways that I knew I wanted to grab which was really helpful.  The most important thing about BEA is being organized and prioritizing what you cannot miss.  It’s the one convention where wandering around aimlessly will not work to your benefit.  On the first day of BEA, Kristina and I spent some time getting the lay of the land.  One the second day, we were much better about getting in specific lines and finding out what time ARCs were being dropped and by the third day we were PROS.  We were first or almost first in line for every single book we wanted that day (and we got them all!).  At BEA, all of the books you’re waiting in lines for are free so the waiting isn’t so bad.  From the last time I attended I had learned to be picky about the books I accept especially since I then become the one who’s responsible for carrying them for the rest of the day.  There were only about 3 books I ended up with this time that I hadn’t already planned on taking but I ended up leaving them because I couldn’t justify why I had accepted them.  Sometimes you just feel bad when someone is really trying to hand you their book and it’s easier to say okay and put it down somewhere else later.  All of the authors that I met, chatted with, and took photos with were at BEA (I’m much less interested in waiting in line for celebrity “authors” than I am in people like Patrick Ness and R.L. Stine).  We also had a beautiful sit down dinner with Quirk Books, and a really fun Epic Reads party to attend after BEA whereas I hadn’t heard of many events going on after BookCon.

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Since I was unable to attend last year due to various weddings and such, I missed the initial madness that is BookCon.  I have been hearing horror stories about it ever since and while they certainly made me cautious about what I was getting myself into, I was not going to miss the opportunity to see it with my own eyes.  For those who don’t know, BEA is an industry only event which is full of publishers, authors, press and literary agents while BookCon is open to the public.  While you can still win some free ARCs at BookCon, those in attendance are purchasing the majority of the books they take home.  Before BookCon started, half of the convention floor was dismantled and a temporary wall in the Javits Center sectioned off a small portion of what we had been walking around for the past three days.  It seemed strange to me to have a bigger event in a smaller amount of space.  I think BookCon could have utilized the other portion of the floor if they had added in vendors that the public would be likely to benefit from.  For instance, I think there is a HUGE missed opportunity for an Artist Alley (similar to comic conventions) to highlight artists who create bookish artwork, fan art and prints.  It would also be AWESOME to see Etsy vendors selling bookmarks and book inspired jewelry.  Plus, COSPLAY.  I think an event where readers cosplay as their favorite characters would be the coolest.  I could definitely see myself dressing as Celaena Sardothien, Luna Lovegood, or several other characters if that were to become a thing at BookCon. The one thing I did love was the platform at the Epic Reads booth where we were able to stand behind a cutout and take photos as if we were on the cover of Kiera Cass’s new spinoff book in the Selection series, The Heir.  I didn’t spend much of my time at BookCon because I felt as though I had gotten my fill during BEA.  I’m almost tempted to try to start my own book convention using my suggestions!

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10 Responses to “Event Recap: BEA is Better than BookCon & How BookCon Improve”

  1. B says:

    Was BookCon ran by ReedPop? If so, you should send them your suggestions! They always seem open to feedback.
    B recently posted…And Then Chip Fed Us CheesecakeMy Profile

  2. I was really hoping to get up to NYC this year for these events, but work was just not in my favor. Book Con seems like it could use some major overhauling still, from what I’ve heard. But hopefully next year it’ll get its act together (and I’ll be able to take some time off!)

    • Kristin says:

      I really hope I’ll be able to make it next year too! It’s moving to Chicago (sad face) which is why I used almost all of my vacation days on it this year! BEA is probably my favorite event of the year and it’s not going to be the same without it being local!

  3. Sierra says:

    I feel bad saying it since know a lot of people are unhappy about it moving to Chicago, but as a Missourian I couldn’t be more stoked. I’m already planning my trip for next year now that it’s within my means. I’m always so jealous of everyone who attends!
    Sierra recently posted…Bookyum is now Geek&Glitter // Welcome to my shiny new space!My Profile

    • Kristin says:

      I’ve only been to Chicago once and I loved it! So while it’s definitely a lot less convenient, I am going to do my best to get there! It’s like New York except small and clean!

  4. Alexa S. says:

    I’m so glad I caught you ladies at BEA! It was lovely to see you <3
    Alexa S. recently posted…The Lexie Project: On BFFsMy Profile

  5. Glad to hear you had a good time! I love reading everyone’s wrap ups even though I’m behind haha. BookCon last year was so insane that I just didn’t want to do it again but I hear that this year was better.

    • Kristin says:

      Haha same! I still haven’t even posted my BEA haul! I honestly didn’t feel like I got anything out of BookCon besides being able to say I actually went. BEA is definitely so much better<3

  6. […] see!  I am so happy with my experience at BEA this year and you can read a more in depth recap of BEA vs. BookCon in my wrap-up post.  Happy […]

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