by Joanne Rock
I find myself in the enviable position of having too many books this week. It’s a happy position to be in and I use the term “too many” lightly since no dedicated reader really believes there’s such a thing as “too many” when it comes to books. But when you have only so much space to store your beautiful prizes, there is a practical concern about where you can possibly keep them all.
Right now, I have extra books stacked on the floor near my bookshelves, waiting for their spot. Where did I come into this lovely literary windfall, you might ask? A book conference. The largest book conference in the United States, for that matter—BookExpo America.
I might never have attended such a thing if not for being a writer. You see, I attend conferences like this to make readers aware of the books that I write. But the side benefit—and it’s huge—is that I get to drool over booth after booth piled high with beautiful new releases.
Harlequin, Random House, Macmillan, Knopf, Penguin, Norton, Ballantine… all the names that you see on the spines of your books are represented at these shows. They have big posters advertising their new releases and they give away many, many copies of upcoming books to passersby. Sometimes the authors are right in the booth, signing a copy of their latest.
I love romance, of course. I write it, I read it, and I spend a lot of time with friends who do the same. But what’s nice about conferences like Book Expo America I that I remember I also love suspense, psychological thrillers, Young Adult, history, and so much more. I come home from conferences like this with a suitcase full of awesome new reads and some book-related promotional items like totebags and bookmarks, plus things that I purchased at some of the sale booths where they sell literary t-shirts (don’t you want a t–shirt with a picture of Edgar Allan Poe or Minerva McGonagall? Or one that says “Stay Calm and Keep Reading”?) and journals, notebooks pens and book lights for late-night binge reading.
When I attend book conferences, I must have all of these things. I was a reader long before I became a writer and I will be a reader for the remainder of my days. So while my friends might think a fun day trip is an antique store or a small town fair, I’m telling you that if you love reading you won’t regret a day spent at a book conference. There are reader festivals all over the country- look at readerevents.com or you can keep an eye on the website for BookExpo America to see what dates are open to the public for future years.