I am back from a magical weekend in New York.
I attended, for the first time, the Book Expo America at the absolutely enormous Javits Center. For those who haven’t attended this behemoth of a book conference, it’s All Things Book – publishers, sellers, and over 700 authors. Those authors were giving away copies of their books, and were signing copies for those interested.
There were a lot of people interested.
The conference is for book professionals, including librarians. The last day of the conference they open the doors to the general public, who can get tickets to come and see their favorite authors and get signed copies of books. (One of the “authors” was Grumpy Cat. There was a huge line of people waiting for books and a chance to see the cat. Who knew.)
This thing is absolute book crack for people who love books; the day the conference opened to the general public 7,000 people bought tickets. It was crazy and exhilarating and great fun.
While I am a book lover and librarian, of course, I was not there in either of those roles. DBF has written a wonderful novel that’s being published and it was introduced at BEA. I was there as her entourage. It was wonderful to be there as my dear friend first saw piles of her books, saw the posters announcing her book, and signed her first autograph. We both shed a few tears of absolute joy.
In any case, I was thinking about the weekend on the way home. In the last few years there have been a number of articles mourning the death of the book, of readers, of reading in general. Given what I saw this past weekend, I would beg to differ. The people who were there were from all walks of life (judging on appearances, granted) and were of all ages. They were giddy at the prospect of meeting and interacting with authors, and in discovering new books to read and cherish. The book, for them, is very much alive and well. To paraphrase Twain, the reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated.
I don’t think we’ll see the death of the book anytime soon. And I’m glad.