Book Expo & BookCon in New York

BY: Jess Ryno

Sorry for the delay June was SUPER busy!!  Anyway if you couldn’t guess from the title I went to the Book Expo and BookCon in New York.

What is that? It’s heaven for book lovers.

Book Expo is for people in the industry like Librarians, teachers, bookstore owners, and book reviewers. Basically anyone a publisher would want to talk to in order to sell more books/get the word out about their books. And because of that you can’t walk five feet without someone trying to hand you a free book. No, I am serious. Sometimes you take the book even if you don’t want it just because they forced you to. All the big publishers are there and in the back several independent authors have tables set up. So there is a little bit of everything. Owl Crate was there with a big booth.  They had a wheel you could spin and win a prize, most of which were books! Occasionally they had authors there signing and giving away their books too. Yes, I just said giving away their book. There are ticketed and in booth signings you can go to as well and at both there is a free item that the author. Most of the time it is a book, or better yet an ARC but I said item because sometimes it is a sampler. This year both Marissa Meyer and Leigh Bardugo gave out samplers of Renegades and The Language of Thorns. I did snag an ARC of Wonder Woman at Leigh Bardugo’s in booth signing at Penguin. The Panguin booth was the place to be!! They had a constant flow of swag. I got a beach towel that says “Don’t get my book wet.” Besides Wonder Woman I also got advanced copies of Warcross by Marie Lu, Jane Unlimited by Kristin Cashore. I also mentioned ticketed signings with free books. The way that works is you can buy an Avid Readers pass and you get 10 tickets (5 for each day) and you get to pick them a month or so before the event or you can get up super early and get in line at the event for free tickets. The show opened at 9:00. They gave out the free tickets at 8:00. I had the avid readers pass and I used that to get the big name people but there were still a few more I wanted so I got there around 7:00. There was already a ton of people in line but I still snagged a few tickets. FullSizeRender(4)I saw Maggie Stiefvater, Mo Williams, Adriana Trigiani, Cora Carmack, Dav Pilkey, Leigh Bardugo, Marissa Meyer, Jan Brett, Colleen Hoover, Victoria Aveyard, RL Stine, and Neil Patrick Harris. I didn’t make it to any panels at the Book Expo. There were just too many free books to grab and signings to go to.  This is my haul from the first day at the Book Expo. Oh I also snagged an ARC of Alexandra Bracken’s middle grade book The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding.


Book Con is a different beast. It is held right after the Book Expo in the same location but some of the vendors pull out and they cut the room in half. Which really makes no sense to me, because BookCon is open to the public and there are 3 or 4 times as many people!! Book Con is crazy. There are still free books but much less and they are done at specific times called “drops”. But you had to get in line crazy early to grab anything good. And they didn’t allow you to make an actual line until an hour or 30 mins before the drop (depending on the booth). So things got really out of hand. Leigh Bardugo did an in booth sighing of Wonder Woman and things got really bad. This is the mass of people standing around, not in a line, waiting to get in line for ticket, to get in line for 100 or so copies of  Wonder Woman. FullSizeRender(5)

Because the show floor was so crowded and that made it nearly impossible to do anything. Example: The Owl Crate line, to spin the wheel, was like two hours long. It had taken maybe ten minutes at the Book Expo. So I went to panels. First thing I did was hit V-Squared (Q&A/meet&greet/signing) in the Epic Reads lounge with Victoria Aveyard and Veronica Roth.


Panel: Do you Ship this? With Danielle Page, Victoria Aveyard, and Veronica Roth.

It was just a big fangirl fest. They talked about their favorite shows, movies and books. They also talked a bit about how they felt about fanfiction of their work and when fans have different interpretations of their characters. The consensus was they loved it. But Victoria did say she’s heard a few strange theories that she just couldn’t get on board with but to each his own.


Panel: The YA/Adult Crossover. With Gregg Hurwitz, V.E. Schwab, Cora Carmack, and Susan Dennard.

The was supposed to be about “How do you decide what stories are YA and what’s adult but YA-friendly? How do you write for both teen and adult fans?” But mostly it was about how YA is not just for teens anymore and how many adults are reading and loving YA.

FullSizeRender(3)Panel: Justice for DC and YA Heroes. With Marie Lu, Leigh Bardugo, Matt de la Pena, and Sarah J. Maas

This was the panel I had waited all weekend for! Like I said before I snagged a copy of Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman( which I am so excited to read) But I can wait for Sarah J. Maas’s Catwoman!! I always thought they could not have paired the authors with the DC charterers better but apparently they got to pick who they wanted to write about. And they picked well.


After the DC panel I hung around for Cassandra Clare’s panel Out of the Shadows.

She mostly talked about her new book Lord of Shadows. I have not read that series yet. But she did talk a bit about the Shadowhunters show and movie. And we all had a good laugh at the disaster.

Her signing was right after the panel so I cut out a little early but I was still one of the last people in line. Well, I guess I haven’t told you how the BookCon signings work yet. They are ticketed like the ones at the Book Expo and they are free. You have to get online and pick your tickets. The link goes live a few weeks before the show and they go fast. (SJM was gone in seconds) Anyway the tickets themselves are free but each author has their own stipulations and most include a limit on the number of books they will sign and they almost always require you to purchase a book from them at the signing. So like for Cassandra Clare you had to by Lord of Shadows (she was the only one that required a specific book. most it’s any book; although the selection is limited)  and then she would sign it and one other book. Well like I said I was one of the last people in line and I guess some people bought more than one copy of Lord of Shadows and they ran out of copies. So they told me I had to by one of her other books that they had for sale. I told them I did not want to buy any of the other books because I already had them. After talking to someone in charge they let me go without buying a book but that put me farther back in the line. While I waited I was texting with a friend and she said she would like one of the books signed and that she would pay me back if I got her one. So I went back to the sale table and bought her a book which put me at the very end of the line. When I got close the lady with the sticky notes came by and asked for a name. I gave her my friend’s name first and then when I went to give her mine she said “No, she will only personalize one.” When I got up to the table one of the helper ladies saw my sticky note and called me by my friend’s name. I shook my head and told her it was for my friend and that the other one was for me. She waved her hand and told Cassandra to personalize both books. Apparently there are perks to being the last in line. She also gave me a rune pin and key-chain, saying I was last so I got everything.

All and all I had a blast at BookCon and the Book Expo and I think I was pretty successful.



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