BookExpo: One Long Hot Blur

By Neal Comment


The BookExpo weekend is crazy and hectic enough that, at least for me, stories like the Valerie Plame/Simon & Schuster lawsuit against the CIA, or the two-book deal HarperCollins just signed with Michael Chabon, tend to get lost in the shuffle. You keep thinking you should do things like contextualize the book deals for Scott Turow and John Grisham, even if the new Grisham isn’t a legal thriller, but then you’d have to log onto the Internet, and there’s an independent publisher serving champagne two aisles over in five minutes…and before you know it, it’s 4 P.M. Sunday afternoon and you’re hustling to get on the shuttle buses back to midtown before the rain gets serious. And you never once ran into the Spier NY vloggers who were covering the event, yet you saw half a dozen of those stupid Borats.

But at least you got to meet Valerie Plame (above)! And Sunday was a much better day on the convention floor than Friday or Saturday, not least of all because the Javits people finally got the air conditioning working at something approaching human comfort levels. “I’ve been to CBA in Dallas and Orlando, in July,” one attendee complained representatively, “and those conventions are as big at BEA and I was comfortable and cool while there.” Add that to the grousing over the WiFi prices, and it’d be enough to make Reed Exhibitions rethink the Javits as a BEA locale…except that people seem to like having the show in New York, which is why we’ll be making the same complaints in 2009.