Nothing is more heavenly for a bookseller than to be surrounded by forthcoming books in all of their different manifestations, and nothing is less enthralling than the big business aspect of books (Barnes and Noble, anyone?), which is why attending Book Expo America is both sheer pleasure and a reminder that the book business can be as cut-throat as show biz.
This year BEA is being held in Los Angeles so the show business aspect will be more visible than ever, but since I'm attending under the auspices of ThingsAsian Press, a small, very independent travel publisher, I don't need to pay much attention to the glitz, except to gape and be appropriately awed.
My focus is the bookseller, which is always my favorite part of BEA, meeting fellow booklovers and talking about what we've read and like and dislike. This year I'll be roaming the exhibit floor, handing out ThingsAsian bookbags, and a book or two to those who are interested, and meeting people who love travel literature and will be happy to find a new and innovative collection of books to sell and to enjoy.
That's what it's all about really. People who sell books on a retail level do it because they love them, and love showing them to people who are eager for something new. I'm lucky to have the chance to meet booksellers and to chat about our consuming passion for print.
If you're going to be at BEA, look for the small, plump, darkhaired woman with bright orange ThingsAsian book bags slung over her arm. (That would be me.) Or for the tall, slender blonde woman with the very same bookbags. (That would be my friend and colleague, Kim Fay.) Both of us are eager to meet you and to talk about books, whether they be from ThingsAsian or from others.)
If you're a bookseller who won't be at BEA, let me know and I'll send you a bag (with some gorgeous postcards and a small catalogue.)