* * * Countdown to BookExpo * * * ABFFE Programming at BEA to Feature Something for Everyone

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At this year's BookExpo America (BEA), the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) plans to have something for everyone, ranging from serious discussions on free expression issues to award-winning comedy to a silent auction, offering great bargains. On Saturday, May 31, Vermont Congressman Bernie Sanders (I), sponsor of the Freedom to Read Protection Act, will participate in a panel on the First Amendment. Later that evening, Ellen DeGeneres will perform at The Wiltern theater in Los Angeles in a Book Industry Foundation concert to benefit ABFFE and the Association of American Publishers' Get Caught Reading campaign. And, throughout the trade show, attendees can stop by the ABFFE Silent Auction to bid on hundreds of bargains.

Rep. Bernie Sanders

Free speech will take center stage at the ABFFE panel "Terrorism, Dissent, and the First Amendment" on Saturday, May 31, at 2:00 p.m. The guest speakers for the 90-minute panel will be Sanders, David Cole, a Georgetown Law School professor and author of Terrorism and the Constitution (New Press); and Gloria Feldt, the president of Planned Parenthood and author of Behind Every Choice Is a Story (University of North Texas Press).

"We're really looking forward to hearing from Congressman Bernie Sanders, Professor David Cole and Gloria Feldt at the ABFFE panel on Saturday," said Chris Finan, president of ABFFE. "They will be bringing us the latest news from the frontline of the struggle to protect civil liberties after the Patriot Act."

Rep. Sanders will brief booksellers on his fight to restore the protections for the privacy of bookstore and library records that were swept away by the USA Patriot Act. Cole is an expert on the Patriot Act and previous anti-terrorism laws that have undermined the exercise of First Amendment rights, and Feldt will discuss the important role that privacy has played in the growth of civil liberties in the U.S.

Admission to the panel is free, and all BookExpo attendees are invited to attend. "Terrorism, Privacy, and First Amendment Rights," which will be held in Room 309, South Building of the Los Angeles Convention Center, is co-sponsored by the Freedom to Read Foundation and the Association of American Publishers.

At ABA's Annual Celebration of Bookselling on Friday evening, May 30, Rep. Sanders will be honored for his continuing efforts to repeal Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act.

Comedian Ellen DeGeneres

On Saturday evening at 9:00 p.m. at The Wiltern, an historical art deco theater in downtown Los Angeles, Emmy-winning writer and comedian Ellen DeGeneres will perform in a solo comedic benefit for the Book Industry Foundation (BIF). DeGeneres has won numerous awards for her work as a writer and actress on her comedy series, Ellen, on which she played a bookseller. Ticket prices are $25; two for $45, and five for $100. Attendees may purchase tickets in advance as part of their BookExpo registration or at the trade show.

Also at BEA, ABFFE will be holding a Silent Auction, located in the hallway between the South and West buildings. The Silent Auction will offer great bargains on hundreds of items of interest to booksellers and other book industry professionals. Attendees can bid on books, sidelines, sports, entertainment events, and travel packages for the regional bookseller assoication shows this fall.

ABFFE is encouraging attendees to become a charter supporter of the Book Industry Foundation by checking off the appropriate box on their registration form and adding a $25 tax-deductible contribution. In return, charter supporters will receive the BIF Gold Pass, a one-time pass that allows them to proceed straight to the head of any author autographing line. Additionally, BIF charter supporters become members of ABFFE and receive all the benefits of membership, including a subscription to ABFFE Update, a monthly online newsletter; the ABFFE handbook, Censorship and First Amendment Rights; ABFFE's pamphlets on protecting customer privacy, obscenity and hate speech; and the ABFFE membership pin.