My First Time At BookCon.
This weekend was my first time attending BookCon and I loved it!!! As an avid reader it was like a dream come true, book everywhere and some of them free!!!! All of the big publishers were there Scholastic, Harper Collins, Penguin Random house, Macmillan, Shadow Mountain, and more. This convention follows Book Expo which is very similar to the convention itself except it’s target audience is that of other industry members and not so much everyday readers. Book Expo is also a larger event than that of BookCon.
So here is my overall review of the con. The convention can definitely be overwhelming for first timers, especially if you do not attended other conventions. If you are used to comic con this a much less intense experience. The showfloor was about half of the main floor of the Javits Center, here in New York City. Unlike New York Comic Con many of the giveaways involve a book and the weight soon add up to a very heavy bag. The first day of the con i brought with me one tote bag. I soon had moved on to a second tote bag which I received as swag(as soon as I walked in!!). By the end of this day I had 3 very heavy totes which I had to carry home. On the second day I decided to save my back and us a rolling bag I had at home. This is something I saw many people do on day one, some brought luggage. I found this change to be extremely beneficial. I was much more comfortable not having the weight on my shoulders and back. I kept all personal items in a fanny pack, making me feel very free. Even with this upgrade and carrying capacity I still ended up with a very large very heavy tote bag which I was able to carry on top of my rolling bag.
I found that because bookcon is a relatively small convention compared to some of the other conventions that Jacob Javits Center holds there are very unlimited food options within the venue. But,keep in mind there are very few option close to the convention center. Because I went alone I found very little free time between lines and interviews to sit down and eat. You spend most of your time in lines at Bookcon. I know lines are common at conventions but you really spend the majority of your time in line at this one. These lines can be somewhat frustrating because it is almost never obvious what the line is for and there is a line everywhere you look. I found that some people took the strategy of just standing on any but I found this counterproductive. You don’t want to spend your precious time standing online for a book which you will never read. Many of the exhibitors had a wheel spinning game in which you could win anything from a free tote to book related swag or a book itself. Many of the books that are giving away are preview copies of books to come out. These books are often not the final edition which will be sold to the public. There are also many autograph opportunities.
One problem I did come across is that those who worked at the booths often did not know what was going on. I am not sure if this was a strategy as to not provide some people with information that others did not have or if they were actually ignorant of what was going on but either way I found it extremely frustrating. Exhibitors did usually have schedules posted of schedules for the day. These included about 95% of signings and giveaways. I found that you do not often waste your time waiting in line for no reason. Many of the lines had a capacity matching the amount of books available and they attempted to make sure only those who would be able get a book we’re standing on line. I appreciated that very much. If a line was capped I could move on to another line.
The first day of the convention I did no significant planning prior to my arrival. I found myself very overwhelmed. I felt as if I was missing out on what I want really wanted and getting only what I happened upon. The second day of the convention was a complete 360 of day one. I used the Publishers Weekly Bookcon show daily magazine and the book con show guide to plan the day. I also followed all of the publishers and which I was interested on Twitter and turned on the Tweet notification. I found this to be a much more successful strategy than that of the day one. I found that I got more books in which was interested then in the case of day one.
If you’re interested in this convention be prepared to do a lot of walking, a lot of standing and a lot of waiting. In all honesty you will spend most of your time waiting in line. The lines are not extremely long however I would say you wait an average of 20- 30 minutes depending on where in the line you find yourself in line.
In the conclusion I would highly recommend this convention to anyone who loves to read. No matter what your into y’all find a book you will love. You may even get to discover something you would have never tired otherwise. I will definitely make a habit out of attending this convention. I had a great time and I am super excited for next year. The last three photos is my haul.
Hope to see you there.
P.S. Here are some photos from the convention.