Elizabeth here. When Alison asked us to be guest bloggers, I asked for some topic ideas. She gave me several good suggestions, but then she hit on my secret bete noir: checking out the best swag on the floor. I am not, frankly, a swag hag. I am, in fact, swag-impaired. While other booksellers sail by with the coolest stuff — you know, totes autographed by forty-seven Caldecott illustrators, or in the shape of Marge Simpson’s hair, or jeweled Faberge eggs — I am still consulting my floor map to find out why Roaring Brook is not in the same hall as Candlewick. Pins, purses, pens that do animated things when you press tiny buttons — I will, guaranteed, be the last to find out about them. I just don’t have swag mojo. This doesn’t especially bother me, except that I also miss out on those special galleys — the ones tucked under the booth curtains or in locked drawers that only booksellers in the know are authorized to take home — unless a kindly sales rep who knows my unfortunate deficiencies takes pity on me and sets one aside in advance.
Since I did not leave the show floor with any swag except a very handy tote from new (to the U.S.) publisher, Egmont, I interviewed a few people on the subway back to the show hotel. We had time to chat, because we took the wrong line (now there are only three lines, and I used to live in New York, for crying out loud, which has something like ninety, but I still got on the wrong one). Turns out Little, Brown was giving away a very snazzy beach towel. An oversized Art Spiegelman book sample looked extremely cool, and there was a fabled Chronicle tote that starts off compressed to about 2" square (I didn’t see one, so I can’t verify this) and expands to the size of a small hippopotamus.
But, no worries. The nice folks at Egmont assure me that, since their tote is made from hemp, if the show floor gets rough, I can smoke it.