by Tony Buchsbaum
Things got much more crowded — and much more musical — on day two of Book Expo 2016. There were stacks of books everywhere and more authors than you could easily count. There was an even a mini-concert: Kenny Loggins performed two songs in the Quarto booth to announce his debut children’s book, Footloose. I didn’t get look at the book, but Loggins was terrific. He sang a version of his big hit “Footloose” with new lyrics that tie into the book. A real treat.
Elsewhere, Jennifer Weiner, Graham Moore, David Levithan, Ridley Pearson, Sebastian Junger, Robert Olen Butler, Marcia Clark, newcomer Nathan Hill, Richard Russo, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Jay McInerney, among others, were all on the show floor today, signing copies of their new books. The crowds were plentiful and enthusiastic, and the authors I saw took the time to connect with people, adding some meaningful chit-chat to each encounter.
The last time Book Expo was in Chicago was 12 years ago. the attendees I spoke with agreed that this year’s show seems a bit smaller, a little more intimate.
I always find the attendee shipping area to be a good indicator of how excited people are about the books they can collect. While this year’s shipping area is a little more compact, the boxes there were overflowing with books, a telltale sign that people are finding books they want to read. And that means you’ll likely find books you’ll like when these start appearing in bookshops. In the end, of course, that’s what all this hullaballoo is for. ◊