Friday, July 20, 2007

The Thrill of Free Books

Book Expo America (New York City)

Now that I've gathered the remainder of the photos from BEA, I thought I'd wrap up the original post. These images are after setup -- the show is filling with a crowd at this point. Imagine this many people walking about for most of the day. Moving through the throng is a slow process. But there are free books!

I'm not sure how many exhibitors or guests attended the convention, but the number is vast -- Large enough to fill a few New York City hotels. Of course, people attending are publishers, writers, editors, book buyers, librarians, readers, and myriad people associated with the publishing industry.

There are a few clear walkways, particularly around the afternoon. On both sides of the "blue isle" are countless publishers (and this is only the first floor). Floor maps help locate vendors displaying at the show. Normally wheeled carts or bags are not allowed in the building. This is done to prevent people from loading a heap of books and rolling from one place to the next, gathering more. An arm full of hardcovers weigh quite a bit.

One question that I'm often asked is "how many books can you get at the show?" The answer is as many as you can carry out within 3 days. Luckily, there are shipping companies located outside of the exhibit hall, reading to pack and ship books. And for the exhibitors, there is a freight company at the call (the temptation for the exhibitors is great, as many have a ready means of "book" transportation).

Typically different books are given away on each of the days. Also, pens, book bags, mugs, reading lamps, stuffed animals -- really, most everything can be found at no cost. For those book collectors attending, perhaps the advance reading copies are the most popular. I did manage to get a Foucault Mug of Madness, but I couldn't get the reprint of his book on the history of madness.

And for those curious, Elder Signs Press (ESP) and Chaosium were located on the main floor, stacked alongside Blackstone Audio (they did give away some audio books). As there are far too many images to post, I'll keep it limited to a close shot of the ESP corner of the world.

Occasionally someone would amble by, and walk away with an bundle of books, or inquire about upcoming books. As mentioned previously, questions about Frontier Cthulhu are what inspired the "hunt down the author" contest. I figured if people at BEA had heard of the book, certainly someone on the Internet had as well.


Jeff Edwards said...

Sounds incredible. When I was more closely associated with the computer industry, I used to go to a few conventions and always enjoyed the freebies. But free books!!! That would be perfect.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've got to get to one of these some day. The thought of free books makes me salivate.

William Jones said...


The convention is amazing, and very much like the computer industry conventions. It is the promise of new titles and free books that move the show forward. I guess it is something like a publishing industry party.

William Jones said...


If you every get a chance to drop by one, do so. They tend to shift between NYC, Los Angeles (next year), and maybe D.C. or NYC the following year. So maybe next year is the closest it gets to you. Yeah, free books. Can't beat them.

I know last year a number of people picked up advance copies of King's latest book, and promptly sold them on Ebay for quite a profit. The convention frowns upon that, but it is to be expected.

Also a great place to meet authors, agents, editors, and publishers.