The Jacob Javits Center in New York City was host to the Book Expo America 2012. Many of the major book publishers like HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Scholastics, and Random House set up big booths there to promote upcoming releases and current titles. There were many, many authors (R.L. Stine, Dan Rather, Molly Ringwald, Jim Kelly, Mary Higgins Clark) on hand eager to sign a copy of their book for you and smile for pictures. This was not unlike the countless other comic cons you may have attended except lots of of these books didn’t have pictures in them.
Some of the books did have pictures in them. There was a small contingent of comic book publishers at the Book Expo along with a few writers and artists on hand to greet the public. At the Image table (notice I said table and not booth) they had Ben McCool, Chris Giarrusso, Jim Zub, and Edwin Huang signing over the course of the Book Expo and free comics were handed out. Representatives from Boom! Studios, Diamond Comic Distributors, and Oni press also had tables there and were talking to everyone who stopped by.
On hand to sign books were some other comic book writers like Peter Tomasi (Batman& Robin), Chip Kidd (Batman: Death By Design), and Scott Snyder (Batman, American Vampire). This was my first time attending the Book Expo America and what caught me by surprise was that at these signings they gave away hardcover copies of their book for free. Since this isn’t a comic convention the demand on these creators isn’t as great. This means that they are willing to talk for a little while longer and are a bit more engaging because they aren’t being pulled in a million different directions.
Scott Snyder talked about how there will be some major Batman news that will be announced at San Diego Comic Con. He said that it is something Batman fans have been waiting for. He said that he does see a definitive end to American Vampire but as he writes more and more to that end it seems to get pushed back because he just finds more interesting stories to tell. I’m sure fans of American Vampire want him to take his time so the book can be savored.
There were plenty of publishers there with licensed comic properties. They were mainly for kid books and targeted a grade school audience and kids learning to read. Marvel has a series of books for grade school kids that targets specific reading levels and DK Publishing has similar books using DC Comics characters. My girlfriend is a grade school teacher and I’ve seen firsthand how kids just gravitate to these books. Art Baltazar (Tiny Titans, Superman Family Adventures) was doing promotional work for Capstone Young Readers signing posters for his DC Super-Pets series. Art is always engaging and enthusiastic to speak to fans.
If you are a bibliophile the Book Expo America just might be your idea of heaven. Many people left the Javits Center with sore shoulders as they dragged bags filled with free books home. It is more of a trade show than a typical convention but there is still a great deal to do. From signings to panels to meeting fellow book lovers, there was a lot to take in. In fact I would say I didn’t experience as much of the Book Expo as I would have liked. This is something I plan on correcting next year. The next Book Expo America will be held June 4-6 2013. If you are in NYC or are a lover of the written word I highly recommend checking this out.