Now in it’s second year, BookCon is an annual event for book-loving consumers. It took place on May 30-31st at the Javits Center and is part of Book Expo America, which is the publishing industry event that immediately precedes it. It’s organized by ReedPOP, who also runs ComicCon and other events. Because of the volume of activities this year, the event was expanded from one day to two days. I attended on Sunday.
BookCon is fun, exciting, big and diverse. It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you don’t plan ahead. A good strategy is to check the agenda the day before and select the events you’re interested in. What kinds of things are there to choose from? Here’s a sample of what was offered:
- panel discussions
- autographing sessions
- opportunities to interact with authors, publishers and celebrities
- over 200 exhibitors to visit
- tons of giveaways (books and swag)
- children’s programs
There were so many interesting panels, it was difficult to choose. The first one I attended was “Telling Women’s Stories”. The discussion was led by Lily Koppel, New York Times bestselling author of The Astronaut Wives Club, which is being made into a TV series this summer. The other three panelists were Candace Bushnell, author of Killing Monica, Elin Hilderbrand, author of The Rumor, and Emily Holleman, author of Cleopatra’s Shadows. Bushnell is well-known for her first book, Sex and the City and if you haven’t heard her speak, you really should. She’s the real deal. She talked about her latest book and shared her personal experiences as a writer. The other two panelists, Hilderbrand and Holleman, also talked about how they got their ideas for the female characters in their books and their journeys from conception to publication. It was all very interesting.
The second panel I attended was “BookTube 101”. It was moderated by Lainey Kress and Monica Watson. The panelists included Christine Riccio of PolandbananasBooks, Jesse George of JesseTheReader, and Kat O’Keeffe of Katytastic, all stars of the YouTube book community called BookTube. I must confess that I had not heard of BookTube, but it’s something I’m definitely going to check out further. They all shared their experiences with books, reading and creating their YouTube channels. They also talked about the future of the medium and how publishers are gradually starting to notice and embrace it. I visited each of their channels after I got home and they all share a fun and lighthearted approach to books and reading that seems to appeal to young people especially, judging from the audience members at their session. They took questions from the audience and were available for photo ops at the end.
There were also, of course, lots of opportunities to purchase books at BookCon. I had to practice some self control and limit myself to buying just two books, Feel Good Every Day: Let Your Thoughts Change Your Life by Mikael von Matern and The Core Teachings: Essays in Basic Buddhism by the Venerable Master Hsing Yun. I’m really looking forward to reading these books.
It always feels good to be a community of people that love books as much as I do. If you’re a fellow book lover, BookCon is an event you don’t want to miss. It’s the ultimate celebration of books!
Here are a few tips for attending next year’s event:
- check the agenda the day before and pick the events you want to attend
- get a good night’s sleep the day before
- eat a good breakfast the morning of
- get there as early as possible
- wear comfortable shoes
- bring your camera
- bring a backpack (the swag gets heavy)
- bring water and snacks