Category Archives: BEA 2006

BEA Wrap-up

I arrived in DC on Wednesday afternoon, with some time for kill sight-seeing. Here are some pictures I took while exploring the Mall. That night I attended the Emerging Leaders meeting and met Jessica Stockton for the first (and definitely not the last) time as well as many other really nice people. Thursday I spent at panels trying to broaden my horizons as both a bookseller and a blogger. The show floor opened on Friday and I imagine is sort of like the Oklahoma land rush of 1889, everyone racing in trying to grab some attention–and some galleys. The publicists waiting in their booths, eager to hand out the latest novel or memoir or whatever to the grasping hands. I had appointment with various publishers, so I didn’t get an chance to wander the floor at all. I began the evening at the LBC party. Here’s some of the pictures from the evening (a couple of photos in). Most of us left there for the Public Space/Small Beer Press/Melville House/Bomb magazine party a few blocks away. Where our party was rowdy , smoky, and noisy (due mostly to Mr. Segundo I might add), their party seemed more hip, but just as fun. I met David Kipen of the San Francisco Chronicle and the NEA! After some dinner, I went with some great booksellers, James and Laura from Shaman Drum, to a party out by Politics & Prose. This is an annual party where all the booksellers let down their hair (if they’ve got it) and let lose.

Since I was attending the Booksense breakfast the next morning at 8 am, I went home fairly early (okay, 1:30 am). Being slightly tired didn’t stop me from enjoying Barack Obama, Amhy Sedaris, and John Updike that morning. After that, it was back to the floor for more appointments with publishers and some exploring. I went to a cocktail party thrown by Holt celebrating some of their Fall authors. I met Geraldine Brooks and Tony Horowitz, who seemed very nice. After that, I went a few blocks to Jose Andres’ restaurant Zaytinya for the Ecco anniversary dinner thrown by press starter Daniel Halpern. Authors in attendance? Nell Freudenberger, Daniel Handler, Joyce Carole Oates, Robert Stone, and Leonard Cohen—yes I got to meet Leonard Cohen, though only briefly to my disappointment.

After a good night’s sleep, feeling refreshed, Amanda (my co-worker) and I returned to the show floor for more meetings. At about 1 pm, we had had enough. On Sunday, most people are packing up and attendance is way down, but even that did not discourage us from getting outside to enjoy the sunshine. We headed to Dupont Circle, home of Kramerbooks. Sitting around the fountain in the sun did much to restore my energy. I had dinner at a wonderful French restaurant Bistrot Du Coin, which is in the area with 2 great booksellers. We met up with other booksellers to enjoy the nightlife a bit. I have to say that Kramerbooks is quite the hotspot on a Sunday night. A bar in a bookstore! How awesome.

Each year, after BEA officially closes, a group called IBC, or the Independent Booksellers Consortium, meets the day after. We all stay at the same ABA hotel and meet in different groups to discuss the world of bookselling. It’s perhaps my favorite part of the convention each year (okay, I’ve only gone twice now, but still). It’s a great forum to discuss changes in the industry, to exchange ideas, and to just gossip a bit.

And finally, late last evening, I arrived home, weary and with sore feet, thinking that I really love this book world, small as is may be. My only regret is that I didn’t get to spend more time with bloggers. I did get to meet Jessica, Carolyn, Ed, Max, Matt, and many others (sorry if you’re not listed here. Anyone who met me, feel free to chime in). Others have blogged more extensively about their experiences at BEA and I will try to put together a more comprehensive post about that tomorrow.

Another BEA Dispatch

Hello again. Sorry that I’ve been remiss in posting about Book Expo. There’s no free wifi in the DC Convention center, so we can only post back at the hotel, but with all of the parties at the end of the day, who has to time to write? Regardless I will fill in the blanks and report about what I’ve seen here, what’s coming in the Fall and who I have met (Leonard Cohen!). Back soon.

BEA Dispatch

The ABA announcd the 2006 Books Sense Book of the Year Awards at last night’s Tenth Annual Celebration of Bookselling. Here were the winners:

Nonfiction: Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Roughcut) by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

Fiction: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Children’s Illustrated: Zen Shorts by Jon J Muth

Children’s Literature: Inkspell by Cornelia Funke

Among other awards, the Publishers Weekly Bookseller of the Year award went to our friends at Northshire Books in Manchester, Vermont. As former winners of this award, we at Harvard Book Store know what a thrill it is to have your excellence recognized by our peers — Congratulations to everyone at Northshire!

Another BEA Dispatch from Amanda

In Virgina Woolf’s classic essay “A Room of One’s Own,” she recounts a luncheon at Oxbridge where the excellent food and the flushed wineglasses have led to a place where there is “no need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself. We are all going to heaven and Vandyck is of the company—in other words, how good life seemed, how sweet its rewards, how trivial this grudge or that grievance, how admirable friendship and the society of one’s kind, as, lighting a good cigarette, one sunk among the cushions in the window–seat.”

Dinner at the International Spy Museum didn’t quite live up to these heights, but it was still lovely nonetheless. I was seated between Karen Rinaldi, the publisher of Bloomsbury Books, and author Walter Mosley, whose book from that publisher (I can’t remember the name!) comes out next February. He described it to me as an existential sex novel; it made for some rather….interesting dinner conversation. (I’ll admit that I brought back a galley of the book.) I also met William Boyd, a British novelist that my colleague Bookdwarf is a big supporter of. Earlier in the day, I had picked up a copy of Boyd’s new novel Restless (coming out in September from Walker Books), and became engrossed with it during the Metro ride back to the hotel. Bookdwarf had me get a copy signed for her — I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get my copy signed if we can convince the publisher that they should send Boyd to Cambridge. Even just talking to him for a few minutes, I could tell that he’d be a riveting reader.

The evening ended at a crowded party in a bar next to Politics and Prose, the famous DC bookstore. A lot of us independent booksellers ended up in the parking lot out back, drinking and swapping gossip about the dinners we’d just come from, and figuring out our schedules for the next few days. It was a relaxing way to end the day.

Another BEA Dispatch from Amanda

Today was the first official day of BEA. Navigating the aisles was treacherous as booksellers vied for galleys and freebies. The frustrating/funny thing about BEA is that many of the people that you want to talk to have more important people to snag, and the people who want to talk to you are those you’re trying desperately to avoid.
We met this morning with people from Picador, which publishes superb paperbacks (Marilynne Robison is one of their authors). They told us about a new collection of interviews from the Paris Review (our buyer Carole was really excited them), and they have three books they’re reissuing in conjunction with films debuting next fall: Zoe Heller’s What Was She Thinking: Notes from a Scandal, The Good German by Joseph Kanon (both of these movies star Cate Blanchett), and Augusten Burrough’s with Scissors. We’re excited to work some of these books into Harvard Book Store’s new book club program.

Before lunch, we strolled around and stopped by the McSweeney’s booth and talked to Andrew (from The Believer Magazine) and Eli from McSweeney’s. We chatted about the possibility of having some type of big event in the fall, since several of their authors are local. I’d love to do it, and hope they come through.

This afternoon, we met with people from Harvard, Yale and MIT University Presses. They always publish a lot of local authors, and this fall will be no exception. Highlights include Alan Wolfe, Jon Levenson, Jon Meada, Martin Nowak, Nancy Seasoles and Owen Gingerich. I was excited to see that they have a collection of poetry from Geoffrey Hill, a British poet that a lot of my friends have been raving about.

We also talked about how October is the 100th anniversary of Hannah Arendt’s birth. Her student and biographer, Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, is coming out with a new book about her. We’re starting to think about how we can celebrate Arendt and her work with a display or some type of author event.

Tonight I’ll be attending a cocktail party with the LBC people before heading off to a dinner hosted by Walker Bloomsbury at the International Spy Museum. I’m a closet spy novel fan and I am incredibly excited.

More later!

More from Amanda

The Washington Convention Center is bustling this morning as publishers arrive to set up their booths, and booksellers take place in educational programs arranged through the American Booksellers Association. I spent an interesting hour listening to a panel on “Shop Local: Forming Business Alliances in your Community.” It’s a topic that we at Harvard Book Store are particularly interested in because of our involvement in Cambridge Local First, an organization of locally-owned Cambridge businesses trying to raise awareness in our community about the economic and social impact of spending money at independent businesses rather than chains.
The most persuasive speaker, from my perspective, was Stacy Mitchell, author of The Home Town Advantage and the forthcoming Big Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America’s Independent Businesses, coming out this November from Beacon Press. I hope we can get her to come to Harvard Book Store — this is such an important issue in our community. Many people think that Cambridge is the last place that independents should have to worry, but Wordsworth’s closing in 2004 and the recent troubles of the Brattle Theatre were a big wake-up call. Overall, the panelists felt positive though, and I was reminded of how happy and excited we are about the Grolier’s and Globe Corner Bookshop’s recent reopenings.
Off to another panel!

More BEA Updates

Today was the educational day of BEA, where booksellers, publishers, and everyone else attend seminars on topics ranging from handselling books to getting the most out of your website. I sat through a lecture by Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, called ‘Long Tail Prescriptions for the Book’. He argues that blockbuster movies, music, and books are being replaced with more people buying smaller numbers of things. It sounds obvious, but he maintains that people have the ability now to specialize their interests via Netflix, Amazon, or iTunes. There are a million songs on iTunes, but though none may reach blockbuster proportion, a person can be guaranteed to find something that actually fits their interests. Technology now allows people to specialize in effect.

The last panel of the day I attended was called ‘The Best American Fiction since 1980: From the New York Times Book Review Survey’. I’ve blogged about this before (or at least mentioned it). In my opinion, the New York Times picking one book out of so many to represent the “best” book seemed too arbitrary. Plus the group lacked women. The panel was composed of Tom Mallon, Liesl Schillinger, Cynthia Ozick, Sam Tanenhaus, and Greg Cowles (though he left halfway through). Tanenhaus seemed defensive from the beginning in my opinion, as if he felt he had to defend the whole enterprise. I thought Cynthia Ozick was amazing, as was Tom Mallon. And I have a new respect for Liesl Schillinger. My friend Ed Champion queried Tanenhaus but his response left something to be desired. Ed will have more on that later. All in all it was a good day of panels.

Tonight I went to the French Embassy for a cocktail party celebrating the Reading the World program, where I met many other booksellers and bloggers. We ate cheese, drank wine, and talked about the book world. Now I’m back at the hotel, ready to sleep and prepare for a new day.

Dispatches from BEA in Washington DC

From my colleague Amanda:
Hello from Book Expo America! I’m Amanda from Harvard
Book Store, and I’d like to thank my colleague
Bookdwarf for letting Harvard Book Store use her blog
to report on our booksellers’ experiences at Book Expo
America (BEA). Our goal is to let readers know about
the literary, publishing and bookselling news and what
we have to look forward to (bookwise) in the coming

This is my fifth BEA. Last year’s conference was in
New York and a lot of publishing people who otherwise
might not have attended flooded the conference floor
and the dozens of dinners, parties and concerts that
occur every night. For many booksellers, this is the
only time each year when you get to meet publishers
face to face.

We suspect that this year’s conference will be a
little more low-key, but we’re ready and willing to be