What’s that? A “Comic-Con” for books? All this needs now is Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and it’d be like it was tailor-made for me.
Sorry, I may have jumped ahead. I’m talking about BookCon, which you can read all about in this Vulture article. TL;DR: It’s a new-ish (they’ve been doing something similar for the last two years under a different name) part of Book Expo America (BEA), one of the biggest book trade fairs in the world, which is happening this weekend in NYC. While the multi-day fair is pretty much for industry types looking to buy and sell publishing rights, they’ve set aside one day for a public festival, organized by ReedPop, a more consumer-savvy and pop culture-oriented subsidiary of the BEA’s organizer, Reed. Book fans can pay $30 to interact with authors in a way that they hope is like those rabid fan conventions with Spock ears and overnight lineups. So far, 8,000 tickets have been sold, which is a long way from the ~150,000 attendees San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) gets.
The article goes into some detail about challenges and issues (e.g. lack of diversity among the panelists, the lack of an actual literary focus in favour of more entertainment and blockbuster-y/commercial books, etc.), but I still think it’s a really neat experiment, and I’m bummed I can’t attend this year (though I’ve added it to my Google calendar for 2015). I understand the need to feature celebs like Neil Patrick Harris and Tina Fey alongside authors like John Green and Veronica Roth, though I hope that as the festival expands (if it does), they can offer room to lower profile, but equally awesome, authors. It’s super early, though, and no one really knows what form it’s going to take yet. (Publishers aren’t even sure if they’re going to sell books there or not!)
As a two-time SDCC attendee and a book nerd, I’m just so tickled pink to see things like “Literary quiz shows” on the docket and a policy about bringing weapons (as in, don’t) to the con, including “sharpened metal-bladed weapons (including axes, daggers, hatches, knives, kunai, shuriken, swords, sword canes and switch blades).” Oh gosh, I really hope book cosplay takes off.