72 Hours in NYC

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A Suggested Itinerary for ABA Members to Get the Most Out of BookExpo America 2014 (#indiesBEA)

Summer in the City…

Usually around this time, as ABA staff is printing and sorting and packing for BEA, we are also sweating and swearing and praying for a cool front to move in. Not so this year. As for many of you, spring 2014 in White Plains is quickly following winter ’13/ ’14 as the most disappointing season in modern history. The PTWS[1] has been slow to dissipate. Which is why I can say with the utmost certainty that May 28 to May 31 will be gloriously warm and beautiful, the spring we never had, complete with gentle breezes and fresh, green leaves on all of the trees in Central Park. So despite BookExpo being held in a windowless, air-controlled convention center, your visit to NYC will be no less invigorating — three-plus days of connections, both planned and spontaneous, with industry friends, editors, publicists, marketing folks, sales reps, and each other.

So why not kick it all off with a party?

[1] Post Traumatic Winter Syndrome


1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.: Before doing anything, ABA members should stop by the welcome desk at Hotel ABA, the Grand Hyatt New York at 42nd Street, and pick up a welcome bag, supplied by Simon & Schuster. (Bags are for Hotel ABA guests only, please.) The program schedule and eight ARCs from a bunch of publishers[2] will be your reward.

One penguin + one random house = Penguin Random House

9:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.: De-stress from your travels with nightcaps[3] at Hotel ABA. Penguin Random House is the host and all ABA members are invited, wherever they are sleeping. Come to the Gallery, on the lobby level. PRH staff will be there, so you can quiz them on just how everything will work now. (Wear your bookseller badge!)

[2] Galleys are from S&S, Random House, Hachette, Sourcebooks, Algonquin, Riverhead, Other Press, and William Morrow. Thanks to all.
[3] A nightcap is an alcoholic beverage consumed right before going to bed.


8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.: If you are staying at Hotel ABA and missed the ABA welcome desk last night, no worries. We are open in the morning until 11:30 a.m. The desk is located on the mezzanine off the lobby escalator.

8:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., give or take, and only until 10:30 in some cases: Hasn’t every book lover wondered about the putting-together process? Doesn’t everyone read the last line first to see how the story unfolds? (Or is that only me?) I hope all you curious folks signed up for Meet the Editor, a unique opportunity for booksellers to go behind the scenes at top publishing houses and experience the book editing process firsthand. Preregistration is required, BUT if you haven’t signed up and you’re reading this on or before 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 25, and really, really want to go, send Joy an e-mail and she will work her magic and find you a slot.

A real, live editor at work. I’m sure she’d like to edit this e-mail.

A few notes for those of you going to Meet the Editor: Meetings will start at 9:30 a.m. and last for 90 minutes, except for those at kids’ publishers. Those meetings will last for 60 minutes. Anyone who signed up for the Illustrator Studio Tour[4] will make it there on time. Look for your publisher assignment by e-mail to arrive in advance of BEA and meet your group in the Hotel ABA lobby at 8:45 a.m. You can also cheat and go directly to the publisher’s office at 9:30 a.m., but that’s no fun.

11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.: A bunch of lucky ABC Group members will be visiting a total of 18 different artist studios, all over the city, for the ABC/CBC Illustrator Studio Tour! If you didn’t sign up this year, make a note to do so next year. This trip gets raves, and not just because so much of it is in Brooklyn. This year it begins at The Czech Center[5] at 11:00 a.m., where there is an exhibit of Peter Sís drawings and, more impressively, Peter Sís himself! Lunch will be served, and then the buses, cabs, subways, and other modes will depart. Registered tour-goers will receive all good details via e-mail. The day ends back at Javits in time for the ABFFE Silent Auction.[6]

If you’re heading to Javits…

Take the BEA shuttle from Hotel ABA. It stops in front of the hotel on 42nd St. Just follow all those people with lanyards and book bags. Click here for the schedule.

11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.[7]:

The ABA Lounge looks just like this, except with different chairs, lights and tables. And no windows.

That oasis of candy, coffee, and comfort, the ABA Indie Bookseller Lounge opens. We will operate during the trade show hours this year.[8]  The lounge has moved, so come straight up the escalators by the registration booths to the main show floor and head to the 200 aisle; we are towards the front side of the floor, in Room 214. ABA staff will, of course, be there to chat about whatever you’d like, and some of our business partners — Libris, Bancard, NetGalley, Shelf Awareness, Binc, Ellerkamp Paper, and Kobo — will be on hand for informal Q & As.

The lounge hours are Wednesday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (closing for the ABA Town Hall and Annual Meeting); Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

A special treat this year: BEA breakfast speakers, Indies Choice Award winners and honor recipients, and Indies Introduce debut writers will be autographing in the ABA Indie Bookseller Lounge! The full schedule will be on site and in your printed program, too. N.B. There will be champagne at the Indies Introduce event… just saying.

1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.: The future is now, claimed writer William Gibson[9], and so it shall be at BEA’s opening keynote, The Future of Brick and Mortar Retailing (1E12/13/14). ABA CEO Oren Teicher, Tattered Cover Book Store owner Joyce Meskis, and other retail and book industry leaders discuss new industry business models and hopeful trends. Start your BEA experience off right by envisioning what’s to come.

3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.: Two cool sessions are being presented in the afternoon — James Patterson’s $1M Indie Store Campaign, in Room 1E10, and How to Manage Social Media With Hootsuite, in Room 1E07. Divide and conquer: One staffer learns how to apply for a Patterson grant, and one staffer learns how to spread the word about (perhaps) winning the grant! Speaking of trends, ABA programming at BEA is now focusing more on the “meet and greet” and less on the “sit in your seat.[10]

4:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.: And now for one of the biggest reasons you’ve come to BEA: to learn about upcoming titles. Will the buzz book of the show be highlighted at the BEA Adult Editor’s Buzz Panel (1E12/13/14)? ABA Board member Robert Sindelar (Third Place Books, Ravenna, Washington) will moderate the panel.

5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: Calling all art lovers and defenders of free speech — it’s time for the Children’s Book Art Silent Auction! The River Pavilion is the perfect backdrop for the more than 100 pieces of art from well-known children’s illustrators to be auctioned. Proceeds benefit the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Kids’ Right to Read Project, and Banned Books Week.

9:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.: Just when you thought it was safe to crawl into your hotel bed, along comes the irresistible Algonquin Buzzed Panel (there’ll be drinks there, get it?) at Hotel ABA’s Gallery on Lex, highlighted by the “You Can’t Do This at a Trade Show Buzz Bowl.” Teams of authors and booksellers will compete against each other as well as against a one-man team: eight-time Jeopardy! champion, author, and new independent bookstore owner Tom Nissley (Phinney Books in Seattle, Washington). Uh, welcome to your initiation to bookselling, Tom! Prizes will be awarded.

[4] More about the Illustrator Tour later.
[5] 321 East 73rd Street, NYC
[6] The auction starts at 5:00 p.m. and tickets are on sale here. Free for ABC Group members.
[7] The CIROBE Remainders and Sidelines Pavilion is also open then, on the main show floor.
[8] Except for Thursday when the lounge closes at 3 p.m. for the Town Hall and Annual Meetings.
[9] Also claimed by a bunch of others, apparently.
[10] In other words, we mean to get people interacting with each other in non-traditional ways, e.g. Meet the Editor and One-on-One Publisher Meetings.


8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Ticketed booksellers are sure to enjoy a great BEA Author Breakfast with Neil Patrick Harris, Anjelica Huston, Lisa Scottoline, and Tavis Smiley. If celebs can get up early, then so can you.

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Trade show floor is open! Ready, set, go. Don’t forget to pop into the ABA Indie Bookseller Lounge (Room 214) when you want a break or need to meditate. (But do it before 3:00 p.m., because the lounge will close then for the ABA Town Hall and Annual Meeting.)

10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.: You can get last night’s buzz back at the BEA Young Adult Editors’ Buzz Panel in Room 1E12/13/14. That should do nicely. ABA Board member Valerie Koehler (Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Texas) will moderate the panel of editors.

11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.: This should be interesting — we’re not expecting any protestors at Common Core: An Update for Booksellers and Librarians, but certainly the challenges of the new standards program will be addressed. A don’t miss for anyone involved in selling children’s books or to schools.

12:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.: Where better to feed your hunger for lunch and author sightings than the festive ABA Celebration of Bookselling and Author Awards Lunch? The Indies Choice and E.B. White award winners and nominees will be seated throughout the hall. Don’t be shy! Go right up to the author at your table and introduce yourself. He/she will be happy to sign their book for you. (A limited number of seats have just become available, so if you haven't registered, contact Mark Nichols now.) Many of the authors will be signing in the ABA Lounge (Room 214, main show floor) afterwards, so the Celebration love continues![11]

3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Conducting ABA business is part of every BEA, and the Town Hall at 3:00 p.m. is the place for members to share their opinions, questions, thoughts, and suggestions. ABA Board President Steve Bercu and Vice President Betsy Burton will preside.[12] The Town Hall will be followed by the ABA Annual Meeting at 4:00 p.m., which is open to all members. Yes, those cookies right next to the voting cards are for you. Satisfy your curiosity about association business at the Annual Meeting. Plus, Oren Teicher, ABA’s CEO, will give an overview of the industry, looking back at the last year and forward to the next.

[11] The lunch is by reservation only, but the lounge signings are open to all ABA members.
[12] If you’d like to speak at the Town Hall, there will be a sign-up sheet in the ABA Lounge.


The kids are alright…

9:45 a.m.: Get this: All three of the BEA Children’s Author Breakfast speakers will be signing in the ABA Lounge after the event, exclusively for ABA members! And we mean Mem Fox, Carl Hiaasen, and Jeff Kinney. Pretty great… Tickets are required for the breakfast (8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.), but all you need is an ABA bookseller badge to get into the lounge autographing!

11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.: Keeping with the theme, editors on the Middle Grade Buzz Panel, moderated by bookseller Holly Weinkauf (The Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, Minnesota), tout books for young readers.

12:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.: ABC Group members have all the fun. First the Illustrator Tour, now the Speed Dating Lunch With Children’s Authors. The list of authors is so long it won’t fit in this e-mail, so go to BookWeb.org and read for yourself. For registered booksellers only.

Fine china not included.

3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.: Another event just for ABC Group booksellers? Yes, the relaxing Tea with Children’s Authors and Illustrators. How civilized! For registered booksellers only.

4:30 to 5:15 p.m.: First tea, now champagne, who needs dinner? Finish the day at the Indies Introduce Debut Authors Reception and hear from the authors and bookseller panelists who read them first. These are recommendations at their freshest. Did I mention champagne will be served? [13]

[13] The ABA Lounge will stay open for the entire event. You won’t have to spend the night in Javits!


It’s been more than 72 hours, but who’s counting?

8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: BEA saved some of the best for its last Author Breakfast, namely Lena Dunham, Martin Short, and Colm Tóibín as guests, and Alan Cumming as moderator. Tickets are required. Colm will join us in the ABA Lounge afterwards to sign books.[14]

10:00 a.m. to Noon: We heard those booksellers who feel they don’t have enough facetime with publishers at BEA, so ABA created the One-on-One Publisher Meetings. This is speed dating with a twist: Heads of houses will be sitting down with owners and managers to discuss topics of mutual interest. Registration was required. Please be on time! The program is very tight and there is little or no wiggle room for your appointments.

9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.: Your ABA bookseller badge gets you into all the Saturday activities at the new BookCon. Previously Power Reader Day, this is the time for you to be a fan and a reader, and just enjoy. There’s lots to do at BookCon, “where storytelling and pop culture collide”; read about it all here.

[14] Colm can sign anything of mine, actually.

And the show is over!

Enjoy whatever time you spend in the city; we love NY too and can’t wait to see you here next week!

Safe travels.

Meg Smith
ABA Membership and Marketing Officer