Russ Marshalek, our man in the field, brings us the news via a running diary from Day 4 of Book Expo America in NYC. If you’re just joining us, you can check out Russ’s previous missives – Day 1 – Day 2 — Day 3. An according to the LA Times’ book blog, Russ’s BEA tweetup party was the place to be. Here are Russ’s texts from the very last day of the Expo:
- 8:33 last day of bea. Kinda want to say ohthankgod but this has actually been a great, great weird set of days. Rushing to get to javits for a session on the google book search and archive and what it means for publishing (rights, etc), the 11 am session is beyond full so a 9am one opened. Probably not going to make it in time. If I do, it will mean sacrificing coffee, and dear reader I will not. I’m going to have to miss one of the big things I wanted to do this weekend: luis urrea reading from his amazing into the beautiful north at kgb bar tonight. I can’t sing the praises of that book enough. Another gorgeous day in new york, another battled hangover, and it does feel like the last day of school: you know you’ll see some of these people again. Some of them you’ve no desire to ever again talk to. Some of them have become real friends but now disperse across the country. Someone should be playing “don’t you forget about me”
- 8:54 dammit not going to make it to the most controversial session here
- 8:57 ah well. Going to miss session. Getting coffee and reading catching fire instead. Can I call it catching fireyah?
- 9:25 feel better. No one could find session. Want to make joke about google archiving rights, but can’t think of one. The exhibit hall is full of books being thrown at attendees. No one wants to lug anything back to polatka.
- 9:38 google session is hot secret ticket. Going to bumrush the 11am session
- 10:16 stephenie meyer doesn’t believe in fun
- 10:24 discussing splitting up neil gaiman and amanda palmer. Can’t tweet about that.
- 10:31 bumrushing the 11am google session. Rumor of food.
- 10:33 ppl lining up at 10:30 for a noon nicholas sparks signing? We know where the housewives are (ed: zing!)
- 12:04 google session had to compete w nicholas sparks signing next door. Was fascinating and overwhelming. I don’t mean sparks
- 12:07 basically, w google archiving content, new distribution methods mean new and added value for titles if rights can be worked out
- 12:57 never gonna pay 10 bucks for rice and beans again
- 1:26 final missive. Big top closing. Don’t don’t don’t you forget about me bea, ill always remember you. Stay sweet have a good summer.
Here was the thing with my first BEA ever-it was incredible. I know folks felt like this was a lesser/off year, but maybe it was the sheer childlike magic that is the inexplicable “social networking” , but I found myself surrounded, on the whole, with really, really good people. You know that obnoxious Kerouac quote about “the only people for me are the mad ones”? Yeah, Javits was, since Thursday, filled with those people-the mad ones. The ones mad for books and literature and in love with the written word in many forms, driven by fear and by need but also by desire and by love. This is a generalization, of course, but it’s true enough with those I encountered, either randomly or purposefully, that everyone wants to not just save publishing but revolutionize it, everyone has an idea, everyone’s so hungry for change, for improvement, for more.
I never, at all, heard anyone utter the phrase “I hate my job” and mean any more than “I hate having to go back to the hotel to get my wallet”. I challenge any industry to top that.
It’s weird-I’m so tired. SO tired. Tired to the point where last night, in a cab back from Brooklyn, I had an utter breakdown to 2 trusted compadres. About life, the universe, everything. And as we crossed the bridge, and I saw the city lights, I realized exactly how full of life the past few days have been. The hunger, the love, the joy that was in that stupid “Catching Fire” line, the publisher of SoHo press, the oldest and also sharpest human being in the Google Book Search discussion session, laying on the table for everyone exactly who we need to realize is dictating the online content pricing rules-it’s all been a whirlwind haze.
I am known for over-emotionalism. (It’s a word, deal with it). But what I saw at BEA 09 was a lot of hope. that may be, I concede, because I don’t surround myself with those who are afraid of the future, but with those who seek to embrace it. I know for a fact that doesn’t include everyone in publishing, but I’ve met enough now where I feel like, should we need to form an army, we could do it.
Now I have to get these books home. All four bags of them.