BookExpo America

Hello again from Adair Heitmann. On their day off from work most people play. Me? I went to NYC for the BEA. BookExpo America is the largest publishing show in North America with over 1,500 exhibitors displaying their upcoming titles in all formats and genres. The expo introduces the latest books, advanced read copies and galleys that will be buzzing for the summer and fall seasons. Both Library Journal and School Library Journal hosted the annual Day of Dialog on Tuesday, May 25. Each event was packed with panels and author presentations. Esteemed groups of international professionals met to discuss issues affecting both the book and library worlds. As a writer, and a Community Education Liaison at one library, and a writing workshop leader at another, I wear many hats. Immersing myself in forums for authors, librarians, publishers, educators and vendors was exhilarating.

Vendor tables were packed with information about audio books, library services, e-books and e-reading devices, downloading services, and much, much more. There were books, books, books everywhere! At midday I sat at a table with librarians, directors and educators from Japan, Washington, California, Maine, New York and Connecticut. Interesting to hear what is really on the minds of literary professionals today. The conversations covered two subjects . . . e-books and graphic novels. Everyone talked about the pros and cons of e-reading and how to incorporate it (or not) into their library offerings. A graphic novel is a narrative work in which the story is conveyed to the reader using sequential art. Libraries once ignored comic books but graphic novels have gained increasing acceptance as desireable materials. This brings up the complicated question of where to shelve them.

Lively intellectual curiosity brought me into a panel discussion on the psychology and literature of tweens. I don’t write for the 8 – 12 year-old market but the panelists educated me to the fact that most authors, psychologists, and educators do not like the word “tween.” The consensus was that it demeans the child and implies that they are in-between, waiting for something, and that the term does not let children be children. The audience and panel agreed that it is Madison Avenue who coined the word to serve their own advertising purposes.

An Author Talk by Cornelia Funke who wrote Inkheart rounded out the day. I returned from BookExpo America lit up like a Christmas tree. Spending all day observing new trends in publishing  jump-started me to consider dusting off some old book ideas and possibly preparing them to see the light of day. Stay tuned.

Until next time, keep on writing.

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