The trade show was a feast for the eyes. Although the main focus for the business trip was digital media and E-books, many independent booksellers this year do not freak out about E-books sales, which has experienced a slump. I heard a consensus sigh of relief from publishers that they were not going away, the world was not turning upside down. Some of my feelings about this show:
1. Absolutely huge. Since BEA is about what is being published by whom, it’s good to have a plan and purpose, being it checking out new fall books, meeting the reps, or attending panels and discussions.
2. The new book showcase is not to be missed.
3. Wear comfortable shoes.
4. Bring bags for free books and snacks.
5. Don’t be greedy on freebies because publishers spend lots of money on them. I saw grabby frenzy unleashed from people who are otherwise civilized. Shocking! I didn’t take the ARCs for Elizabeth Gilbert’s and Helend Fielding’s new books because I was interested in neither.
6. I’m neither a buyer nor a store owner. But for those who are, there is a shipping center.
7. Instead of lugging the entire catalog home if I only wanted to remember a few of the books, I would tear out those pages and ditch/recycle the rest of the catalog right at the Javits.
8. Prints are not dying. Independent bookstores are thriving.
9. Contrary to popular opinion, going late gets me in faster since you avoid the long lines of all the avid readers who follow the advice to show up early.
Some of the literary fiction titles that caught my attention at BEA 2013:
Echoes of Ilium by Bob Carnes
A twentieth century coming of age tale set in the American oilfield: Contains action sequences, humor, elements of Greek and oilfield mythology and an introduction to oil well drilling and its people. (Hardback)
The Music . . . Oh, the Music by Francesca Noumoff
This is the story in prose of the discarded. Those who have, after living their lives in its full richness are treated as shivering ghosts as they are placed by relatives in an old age home. (Paper)
The Returned by Jason Mott
With spare, elegant prose and searing emotional depth, award-winning poet Jason Mott explores timeless questions of faith & morality, love & responsibility. A spellbinding and stunning debut. (Hardback)
Foreign Gods, Inc. by Okey Ndibe
Ike, a New York-based Nigerian cab driver, plots to steal the statue of an ancient war deity from his home village in Nigeria and sell it to a NYC art dealer. Fate and Africa have other plans for Ike. (Hardback)
The Apple Tree Blossoms in the Fall by Armineh Helen Ohanian
This book offers a unique insight into Iran, Islam, Armenian culture, and the fascinating life of a jet-setting woman. (Paperback)