Mar 12, 2015

BookExpo America vs. The Book Con

In 2014, BookExpo America and ReedPOP introduced a new concept and part of the traditional BEA lineup: The Book Con. Originally an idea to marry the industry with the consumer, Book Con turned out to be a confusing, frustrating crush of people crammed into a corner of the spacious Javits center. It divided the line between professional and fan, turning one 1/3 of the floor into a madhouse and the other 2/3 into a ghost town.

Almost every review of the event I saw was negative to the point of scathing. But it seems ReedPOP took the complaints and issues seriously and reconfigured The Book Con to satisfy all sides. So I want to clear up a few questions people may still have.

Dates: May 27, 2015 (Wednesday) 1pm-5:30pm
           May 28, 2015 (Thursday)    9am-5:30pm
           May 29, 2015 (Friday)        9am-5:00pm

Dates: May 30, 2015 (Saturday)   9am-5:00pm
           May 31, 2015 (Sunday)     9am-5:00pm

Industry vs. Consumer:
BookExpo America (BEA) is an industry based show. This means that professionals attend hoping to explore new and upcoming titles as well as recent releases they are interested in selling, buying, and/or promoting. As such, the books are free, provided in the hopes of building buzz. 

The Book Con (TBC) is a consumer driven show. This is designed to bring the reader together with the authors. Books will be for sale, and less will be free or given away. There will be more versatile panels to reach a variety of readers and the focus will be on celebrating authors and their books.

Authors and Signings:
BEA and TBC will have separate authors attending each event. While there may be some overlap, don't count on an author you see attend TBC as being at BEA and vice versa. Make sure you keep an eye out for the official schedules on both sites to see what authors will be attending/signing and when.

Books from home:
BEA is not the place to bring your books from home to be signed - but TBC is. However, keep in mind that authors and publishers have the right to refuse something to be signed due to time constraints or anything else. If your favorite author is attending TBC, don't plan on getting at 53 of your books signed and personalized. Most authors get a 1 hour signing window and will have a line of a hundred or more attendees. A few books is all right - a few dozen, not such a great idea. Also keep in mind that rolling bags/suitcases are not allowed on the Javits floor (you can check them for $3 and access them throughout the day, but cannot cart them around with you).

Again, BEA is not a signing opportunity. Authors will be signing and attending BEA to promote a certain book - not to sign a dozen of their backlist titles.

As BEA is a professional environment, attendees must be over 18. TBC welcomes children of all ages. Depending upon their age, they may or may not need to have an official ticket to TBC to enter. Make sure to check the website to be certain what pass your child qualifies for.

Last year BEA passes included access to TBC. This year you must buy a pass for BEA and another pass or TBC. Having a BEA pass does not get you into TBC.

The only exception to this rule is press pass holder who have access to cover both events for their outlets.

In 2014, the final day of BEA was merged with TBC which meant dividing the Javits center floor into a choppy mess that shoved 80% of attendees (both for BEA and TBC) into one cramped area. This year TBC attendees will have access to the entire floor of the Javits, thus alleviating the stress of putting everyone together in one area.

Last year people complained about the safety of having so many people in such a confined area (with a lot of BEA badge holders seeking refuge on the BEA side of the floor to escape the masses), but this year people will be spread more evenly across the Javits.

I truly believe ReedPOP is striving to make Book Con a great event for fans. I'm curious to see how it will go this year (it can only go up after last year). As a 4 year BEA attendee, I'm also excited to get BEA back to being an industry event that no longer overlaps with a consumer event. Separation between the two will (hopefully) contain the chaos of both.


  1. I really hope the new layout/plan works. That TBC was a complete disaster last year.

    I was one of the crushed seeking refuge on the other side lol

    I don't think I'll be going TBC anyway - just BEA but I still hope it runs smoothly for everyone else.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

  2. I love this post, very informative. Thank you Hannah :)

  3. Awesome post. Last year tested my anxiety big time! I was grateful I was able to escape to the other side. I took refuge at the Scholastic booth & met the most awesome rep. We talked & looked at book & ate cookies. It was very memorable.
    I'm happy they're doing it differently this year. 2 days is good.

  4. I'm curious on how it will turn out, but I guess I'll decide on Saturday if I take a peak or not ;)

  5. Great post. I'm really glad I missed the headache that was TBC last year. The reports I was getting on twitter were downright scary. (All those safety concerns!) But I hope this change will work out, especially since it'll be my first year at both.

    Dreams @ Once Upon A Dream Books

  6. I am curious to see how this works out. It was horrible last year but sadly, I can't make it THIS year.

  7. I'm not sure if I'm going to Book Con yet, after last year's debacle but I might be willing to give it another chance. Thanks for the super helpful post, as usual.


I hope you know that every time you comment, an angel gets its wings.

OK, not really, but thanks for popping by!