Friday, May 30, 2008

Book Expo… or Crack?

Tony Buchsbaum, January’s man in is the aisles at BookExpo America, is so overwhelmed with joy at books, books, everywhere he hasn’t been sending many words. Yet. But he’s filed some great photos from his iPhone.

First up, at left, the entrance hall to Staples Center in Los Angeles, where BookExpo America will run until June 1st.

At right is the photo Tony filed as “Heaven, or crack?”

And the last one, at left below: “Definitely crack.”

OK, clearly we’re going to have to get tough with Buchsbaum and tell him to quit partying and quit drooling over books and send us a story.

For instance, he has instructions to file something on the weird-sounding smell-a-vision type books being published by the Big Imagination Group that include “Press-2-Smell technology.” (I’m not making this up.) They’re in booth 5431. (Hurry up, Tony: I hear they’re giving out scratch n’ sniff t-shirts or bookmarks or something.)

Stories are managing to come out of BookExpo… just not from us. And a lot of them are filled with either doom and gloom for the industry (the death of the book thing we’ve been hearing about every few years for the last couple of decades) or triumph against all odds.

First some doom and gloom. This ran in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times under the headline “Troubled book world is going for novel ideas” (Wocka, wocka, wocka):
As Book Expo America, the nation's largest annual book convention, opens today in Los Angeles, innovation -- some would say desperation -- will be the main order of business. More than 2,000 exhibitors from every facet of the publishing world, nearly 1,000 authors and more than 25,000 people will be gathering at the L.A. Convention Center this weekend to discuss the state of an industry that's at a critical crossroads.
Meanwhile, Gayle Feldman, blogging from BEA for The Bookseller wonders if all the empty seats at the panels might mean the convention won’t be back to LA any time soon.
This year, in any event, there is the sense that given the economy, the distance from New York, and the calendar closeness to LIBF, a lot of East coast people and Europeans stayed home. On the other hand, for those from Asia, LA couldn’t be more convenient, and it looks like the Chinese will be here in force.
And nearly a year after the publication of the final Harry Potter book, The New York Times asks if there can be life in the industry after Harry. The answer: not so much. (OK: that doesn’t seem so much like a BEA story, but wait for it: it’s there.)

And another piece from The Los Angeles Times tells us something our man Tony knows for sure: you may think it’s about books, but really? It’s all about the parties.

Go Tony!



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