BEA Day Two Update

Josie Leavitt - May 26, 2011

The second full day of BEA is over and things are good. The crowds don’t seem to be as crushing as I feared and the overall attendance seems smaller than in years past. The galley piles are as smaller as well.
One thing several booksellers are talking about are the lack of galleys compared to past years. Many publishers seem to be releasing galleys, much like timed vaults, on a very tight schedule linked to booth signings. To be fair to the publishers, at every meeting I’ve had, I have seen attendees literally move furniture out of the way to get to the galleys that are clearly not intended to be on the floor yet. Some booths are bereft of books at all. Walls of booths adorned only with posters of books and nothing to actually hold or look at. I asked a publishing friend what was going on and he said the drayage charges were so much that they just couldn’t afford to bring in all the books.
While there may not be as many galleys, there certainly are people who found a ton to ship back. I’m always amazed at the sheer number of boxes waiting to be shipped. The shipping room was full of hundreds of boxes that needed to get home. I just traveled light and left a little room in my suitcase for the carefully chosen galleys I have selected. But to be really honest, I will be be availing myself of the hotel business office to ship back some books.
This year is the first year that I have actually set up meetings with publishers. Our 15th anniversary is this fall and I wanted to meet publicists and let them know that northern Vermont can be a great place to send authors. So far, these meetings have been really productive. It’s an eye-opener for me to see what each publishers focuses on. Some focus on driving audience to an event, some focus on book sales. All were happily surprised to see how many Vermont stores can be covered in a weekend. The only thing lacking from my publisher packet was a map, which is easily remedied with a Mapquest diagram of Vermont and a quick email.
While I was resting my very tired feet in the lovely ABA lounge, I got an answer to my previous question about the Children’s Book Group liaison from Mark Nichols.  A job description has been written and a full-time person should be in place shortly.
The evening party was the annual ABC Not-a-Dinner silent auction that featured many delectable works of children’s art. Sadly, for me, many of the works I wanted, like Elisha Cooper’s Beaver from Beaver Is Lost, were quickly out of my price range. I don’t know how much money the auction raised for ABFFE’s new Children’s Division, but judging by the number people camped out by their art at the closing bell, I’d say most of the art sold and people were gleefully carrying art out of the Javits Center.
While I might complain about the crowds, the lack of actual books and what not, I am reminded at every BEA, when I have dinner with friends, that I love this business and I adore my colleagues.

6 thoughts on “BEA Day Two Update

  1. Kitti

    Galleys/ARCs have changed so much in the last decade. Now there will be fewer of them? I guess that makes sense, in that print is declining. I guess there isn’t an electronic equivalent of a galley, eh?

    1. Chris

      Netgalley has tons of eGalleys. Baen carries galleys in their eBook shop. I know Simon has an eGalley program as well. There’s quite a few of them out there, if you know where to look.

    2. Stephanie is a site that offers electronic versions to booksellers, librarians, etc. As much as I LOVE the feel of a print book in my hand, there are times that electronic is more convenient and I have started using them. It also helps to reduce the landslide danger in my house!

  2. Sarah

    It was great seeing so many wonderful booksellers in NYC, but I also was a bit frustrated at the lack of galleys. And just today we recieved our first ABA children’s white box, with only 3 galleys! This may be because we are basically a new store with new owners and a new location, but I was very disappointed.

  3. Trish Brown

    Josie, I think your idea of meeting with publicists is a great one, and I’d love it if you’d post something about putting together your publicity kit, and what worked and what didn’t work. Hope the Flying Pig gets some great authors in the coming year!

  4. Ellen Mager

    The large number of boxes being shipped home and number of galleys available to booksellers, I think, all are a part of the same problem, I think 50% of the people there were not booksellers and they were getting items, going to shipping to add them to boxes and returning for more (overheard this on the shuttle Thurs. AM). The were more badges for Librarians, teachers, publishers (?) companies (bindery, et. al) than booksellers The word Free has them bringing groups of people for a “vacation”. They get there before 7 to get the tickets get 6 and then check out what is being given at the signings ( also overheard these). I think the situation with people shlepping around large rolling suitcases (with their medical tags on their wrist) added to the mayhem. I could not even get near booths on Wednesday, Most of the educational sessions (2 out of 3 for me) were worth the trip and the parties/dinners I attended were terrific, I am looking forward to ALA (saved my points for flight and 1 & 1/2 nights stay – got 2 nights in NYC) to actually be able to visit the booths (Spring Sunmmer as well as Fall will be available) and if I want to buy books, people are so much calmer, expect the wait and are much less grabby. The publishers do wonderful literary meals (like the Children’s breakfast), as they used to do at ABA/BEA and you can really talk to people, whether they be authors and illustrators, editors, publicity and marketing and you are truly presented the lists. Now the publishers support ALA, IRA and NCTE, but not as much BEA. I truly miss the way it used to be and wonder if there could be a Bookseller only day or booksellers to get tickets to get galleys or something….


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