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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

BEA 2016 Recap

A few weeks ago I had the the privilege of attending Book Expo America -- the largest publishing trade show in North America -- which is always an amazing experience!

The best way to describe it is cornucopia of the publishing world, including established and debut authors of all genres, panels on industry trends and, as you'd expect, plenty of books.

Book Expo has historically made it's home in New York City, but this year the show had a change of venue, moving to Chicago and McCormick Place. Of course, the largest convention center in North America would be a fitting place to house the largest publishing trade show on the continent.

I've made some amazing blogger friends in the seven years I've been blogging and seeing them was was a huge highlight of the trip. I ran into too many people to list, but it was great to see them all and meet some new book-loving friends along the way. (Note: I was having such a good time that I took hardly any photos inside BEA.)

Since the exhibit hall didn't open until mid-afternoon on the first day, I grabbed breakfast with Katie from Mundie Moms, Stacey from Page Turners Blog, Heidi from YA Biblophile and Emily from Emily's Reading Room. While we were there, we ran into Katie from Katie's Book Blog

Then we headed out to the Lincoln Park Zoo. I haven't been to a zoo in years, and this free gem was nothing short of fantastic! 

Heidi (right) formed an instant bond with the guardian of the zoo gate. 
Our mission was simple - See a rhino. At least, that was what brought us to the zoo in the first place. In our quest to find them on the maze of zoo paths, we found baboons, tigers, lions, zebras, gibbons, giraffes and more. And yes, we did find the rhinos, and Emily was super excited (see below for photographic evidence).

After the zoo, we headed to McCormick Place where we dropped Stacey off at Blogger Con before heading upstairs to wait in the ridiculous but completely expected line to get onto the exhibit floor. The hustle and bustle of BEA began the moment the flood gates opened.

There were numerous familiar faces at booths and on the show floor, and it was wonderful seeing them and having an opportunity to talk books. I also was lucky enough to be invited to several fabulous publisher and publicity company events, including a breakfast with Simon & Schuster Children's and parties for Fierce Reads and Big Honcho.

I confess that I did miss the closeness of NYC. While public transit is very user friendly in Chicago, there's definitely something to be said for being able to walk a few blocks from the Javits and grab a bite or go back to the hotel to drop your bags off in between events. McCorcmick place is a bit of an island, and getting to food or entertainment from the convention was a bit of an endeavor.

But I have to say I enjoyed having Book Expo America at McCormick Place. Compared to the Javits Center, it seemed less claustrophobic -- Less like you were always in a crush of bodies. There just seemed to be space for everything. The autographing lines had somewhere to spill over when the queue filled up, the meeting rooms were off to one side and out of the high traffic area, and rooms where events were being held were on separate floors, cloistered away from the throng of people often crowding the exhibit hall.

I'm proud to say I was more discerning with regard to books this year. I only picked up about 25-30 books at BEA and the other events I attended while in Chicago. Take a look below for some of the upcoming releases I'm most excited for and look for reviews in the next few months!. 

The Graces
Our Chemical Hearts
The Forgetting
Last Seen Leaving
What Light
The Diabolic
The Edge of Everything

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