Booksellers and Coffee House Press staff gathered to promote a book in which they all played a part: Read This! Handpicked Favorites from America's Indie Bookstores, edited with a preface by Hans Weyandt and introduced by Ann Patchett. An ode to the art of traditional bookselling and independent bookstores, the book is a collection of top 50 lists from 25 booksellers around the country--from Fireside Books in Alaska to Inkwood Books in Florida--along with anecdotes and interviews about the life of being a bookseller, reader and engaged citizen. The project began as a blog by Micawber's Books, St. Paul, Minn., owner Hans Weyandt and will be coming out from Coffee House in September.
At Thursday morning's Book and Author Breakfast, Roberta Rubin, owner of the Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka, Ill., accepted the Bookstore of the Year Award from Publishers Weekly. She thanked her "entire staff of 22 people," and noted that "what we do in our individual stores is part of a team effort in this amazing industry."
Random House sales reps Michael Kindness and Ann Kingman, who also run the Books on the Nightstand podcast, accepted their Rep of the Year awards. "The role of sales reps happens behind the scenes," she said. "It's a vital piece of connecting books with readers in our communities."
If you walked past the Biblioasis booth more than once over the course of BookExpo, you might have noticed the display for Anakana Schofeld's Malarky got more elaborate as the show went on. Publicist Tara Murphy could often be spotted knitting the latest in a series of "willy warmers" in the colors of the Irish flag, a prop with thematic significance to the Irish-Canadian author's debut novel. While the warmers were for display purposes only, Biblioasis did offer more traditional swag in the form of Malarky-themed tea bags.
In the Perseus booth, Andrew Shaffer (aka @EvilWyliesigned copies of Fanny Merkin's Fifty Shames of Earl Grey: A Parody (Da Capo Press, July 31)--complete with tea bag bookmark.
Joshua Henkin stopped by the Random House booth. His latest novel, The World Without You (Pantheon, June 19), was reviewed in Tuesday's Shelf Awareness.
Authors Maryjane Fahey and Caryn Rosenthal heard some interesting stories from the people who stood in line to get copies of Dumped! (Sept., Sellers Publishing)--like the woman who said she was giving it to her boss's wife "because she's fabulous and he isn't, so she should dump him" and the gentleman who wanted a copy for his recent college grad daughter who had just dumped her boyfriend "because he deserved it"). Here they are, with a surprisingly interested future buyer of the book.
Simon & Schuster hosted a luncheon in celebration of Bill Joyce, pictured here holding his Oscar for the film The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Joyce said that it began as a book inspired by his friend and mentor, William Morris, who worked as director of library promotion for 50 years. The project just took a few unexpected turns, so it wound up as a movie and an app before it was bound between hard covers (Atheneum/S&S, July). "There's always a book that changed your life," Joyce said. For him, it was at age five, when he read Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. From that point on, Joyce knew that book-making was what he wanted to do. Joyce also showed his artwork for The Sandman (Atheneum/S&S, Oct.), his newest picture book addition to the Guardians of Childhood series, which launched with The Man in the Moon. Guests at the luncheon also got a sneak preview of the November movie Rise of the Guardians.
"I think the concept of the bookstore is no longer vital," Marva Allen, the CEO of Harlem's Hue-Man Bookstore and Café, confessed during a Thursday morning session about the state of the African American literary marketplace. When it comes to bringing consumers to books, she elaborated, it's time for the industry to find "a different way that is not bookstore-centric," such as the live "Page to Stage" show Hue-Man produces in collaboration with the Symphony Space theater on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Author and radio host Michael Baisden (right) agreed. "We're not going to come out for just a book signing," he said. "You've got to sell them more than one thing"--and when it comes to audience size, "I'm a thousands guy."
Troy Johnson, the founder of the African American Literature Book Club (AALBC.com), pointed out in addition to the significant number of independently owned and operated bookstores that have closed in recent years, the number of websites dedicated to African American literature has declined, with those sites that remain often losing traffic. Given how much easier it is to create and launch a website today than it was even five years ago, he argued, "there should be much more competition in this space."
From l., Lauren Oliver (The Spindlers, HarperCollins), Sharon Creech (The Great Unexpected, HarperCollins), Judith Viorst (Lulu Walks the Dogs, Atheneum/S&S) and Shannon Messenger (Keeper of the Lost Cities, Aladdin/S&S) gathered on the Uptown Stage for a discussion about "Writing Strong Female Characters in Middle Grade Books." Viorst admitted that the voices of her characters "lurk somewhere in the region of my belly button." Oliver agreed with Creech that every project begins as a mystery: "What's this book about?" All four authors rallied around the idea of a "bad girl" or, as Viorst termed it, a "hard like," as a way of revealing a character's complexity (though Messenger said she started with a "bad boy" character in Keeper, and a secondary girl character who's slow to win us over will get a larger role in her next book).
And as we bid farewell to the 22,365 industry professionals attendees (provisional count) and to the beloved Javits Center, mark your calendars: BEA 2013 is scheduled for Tuesday, June 4-Thursday, June 6, 2013. It's been fun!