#FridayReads, June 8–A BEA Cornucopia

#FridayReads Some of the books I brought home from Book Expo America (BEA) and have already been browsing through:

The Devil’s Causeway: The True Story of America’s First POWs in a Foreign Land, and the Heroic Expedition Sent to their Rescue, Matthew Westfall (Lyons Press); Crossing the Continent, Michel Tremblay (Talonbooks); Mind Wars: Brain Science and the Military in the 21st Century, Jonathan D. Moreno (Bellevue Literary Press); Leonardo and “The Last Supper”, Ross King (Walker & Company); Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Union, James Howard Kuntsler (Grove Atlantic); Poe’s Lighthouse, edited by Christopher Conlon (Wicker Park Press); For the Sender: Four Letters, Twelve Songs, One Story, Alex Woodward (Hay House); Turkana Boy, Jean-Francois Beauchemin, translated from French by Jessica Moore (Talonbooks); The Life Squad, Amir Yassai (self-published); Life Among Giants, Bill Roorbach (Algonquin Books); Wilderness, Lance Weller (Walker and Company).

Days 2 & 3 BEA Photos

The final two days of BEA, Wednesday and Thursday, were very productive. The whole convention turned out to be one of the most upbeat book industry gatherings in several years. After a total of four days walking the halls of Javits Convention Center–Monday was the BEA Bloggers Conference, followed by the three days of the actual convention–I am sifting through the mound of catalogs, reading copies, business cards, and promo materials that Kyle and I lugged back to our home office, and replaying in my mind all the great conversations, book ideas, and collegiality we enjoyed. Following up our first day’s photos, here are pictures from the final two days, again taken by Kyle. The photo above was taken at the booth of Zola Books, which had a great response at BEA to their new social reading platform. In it, Joe Regal (2nd from right), made a happy group with his colleagues, under their banner, “The first eBook retailer from the community–for the community.” Additional photos, including the ones we took at Neil Young’s appearance with Patti Smith, will be posted in coming days.
Update: Publishers Weekly’s Rachel Deal has published a good article about Zola. Click through to see all of this post’s 40 + photos.

Day #1 Book Expo America Photos

Written posts to follow later in the week, meantime here are Day #1 photos from BEA and the Javits Center, taken by Kyle Gallup, captions to follow later.Captions written and inserted. Now we’re rushing off to Day #2! Click through to see almost 50 pictures, like this one of the C-Span bus.
Click through to see our first 50 pictures.

Working with Speakerfile at BEA, June 5-7

June 5 Update: As you can read below, I was planning to put the Book Expo America (BEA) live stream on my site, but I found the link for it brings with it a jarring, noisy ad that disturbed and annoyed readers on my site the few hours I had it up as a preview. If you do want to view the live stream, I recommend you go to the BEA site and watch it there. Meantime, below is an updated version of my original post previewing BEA, which stands as relevant as when I first put it up last week. Now, I’m off to the first full day on the convention floor at the Javits Center!

May 31

Next week I will be attending Book Expo America (BEA), the book industry’s annual convention which I’ve been attending regularly since 1978, when with my family I began operating the bookstore Undercover Books. In those days it was known as ABA, named for the American Booksellers Association, the trade group that then ran the show. It’s a sturdy annual rite of rededication to the creative and commercial enterprise that is book publishing where acres of forthcoming books are displayed at publishers’ exhibit stands; authors sign advance reading copies (ARCs) for booksellers and librarians; and book biz friends who haven’t seen each other for at least a year meet and re-meet and share their enthusiasms for the upcoming year’s new books.

This year I will be working BEA with a new client, a Toronto company called Speakerfile who’ve hired me as an affiliate of theirs in NYC, representing them to publishers, publicists, agents, and authors. They’re building a great platform–think eHarmony®–with conference organizers and meeting planners on one side and experts and authors on the other. If you are an author who does public speaking–or you work with authors, experts, and thought leaders who speak in public–and are eager to have more and better bookings, I suggest you visit Speakerfile’s website to get a sense of what they’re building, and ask me for more information. To make it easy if you want to learn more, I’ve placed a promo spot at the upper right corner of my site–a click on it will take you right to Speakerfile’s home page. CEO Peter Evans will be at BEA, so please ask me for an introduction or a demo of their platform. If you’re looking for us, much of the time we’ll be at Bowker’s stand.

Also, for the first time I will be at BEA as an accredited member of the press, covering the event for this blog.One perk that bloggers have been offered is the chance to live stream on our websites the BEA’s own video feed of the convention from the Javits Center. So beginning next Tuesday, June 5 through Thursday, June 7, I invite you to visit this site where you can vicariously channel the experience of BEA.(A warning: the embedded link currently begins with an e-reading ad at high volume, so you may want to mute your volume for about ten seconds.) I have no input about which events they’ll be carrying but I suggest you keep an eye out for these two possible highlights:

♦ Wednesday, June 6, at noon when Patti Smith will engage in a conversation with Neil Young, who in October will be publishing his memoir, Waging Heavy Peace. June 5 Update: I’ve been told that due to permissions and rights issues, BEA will not be able to live stream this event. To view the BEA live stream, go to the BEA’s own web site.

♦ Tuesday, June 5, 3:00 PM, when Ami Greko and Ryan Chapman host 7x20x21. In this rapid-fire program speakers have 7 minutes and 20 powerpoint slides to present their publishing   obsessions. Participants are

*Statistician Nate Silver, who writes the FiveThirtyEight politics and polling blog at the New York Times

*Shelia Heti, author of Ticknor and the upcoming How Should a Person Be?

*Robin Sloane, former Twitter employee, writer, media inventor, and creator of the much-lauded tap essay Fish.

*D. T. Max, writer of the upcoming David Foster Wallace bio, Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story.

*Dan Wilbur, creator of Better Book Titles, a blog which offers this replacement title for “Much Abo about Nothing”: “An Extremely Complex Lie Will Clearly Solve Everything.”

#FridayReads, May 25–“Bill Veeck” and “BEA Buzz Books”

#FridayReads, May 25–Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick, Paul Dickson’s superb life of the progressive-minded baseball team owner, filled with fascinating social history and baseball lore. Also dipping into BEA Buzz Books, the ebook collecting 30 top books to be featured at this year’s Book Expo America, with selections from Neil Young’s Waging Heavy Peace, Mark Helprin’s In Sunlight and In Shadow, and many others.

You Can Help Make This Blog a Winner

I’ve entered The Great Gray Bridge in a contest sponsored by Goodreads. They will be selecting 4 top book blogs for special recognition and perks at Book Expo America (BEA) in June. Voting by the public began April 10 and continues through April 23. There will also be a juried element of the competition. I’ll be posting throughout the two weeks to remind folks, and sending out updates via Facebook and Twitter. I also have a handy widget on the right side of my blog just below “Foundational Posts” to vote for this site. In entering the contest, I submitted five entries representative of my books and publishing coverage.  The first one I cited was Lost American Writer Found–Jim Tully.  I’ll put others up as the contest continues. I hope you enjoy reading my blog and will vote for it. Thanks for your support.

The Soundtrack of My Teens–Hearing Neil Young Live in 1969

This is really exciting news. On June 6, to promote his forthcoming memoir Waging Heavy Peace, Neil Young will speak at BEA, the annual book industry convention. I’ve been attending BEA most years since I got started in the book biz in 1978, back when it was still called ABA, and have usually taken a pass on the guest speakers, but not this year. I am very eager to be there for Neil’s appearance and I’m sure lots of other book people will be there too. His publisher, the Blue Rider imprint of Penguin Putnam has put out this release along with the news, explaining that he will be interviewed by someone to be named later. [May 24 update: It’s been announced that Neil’s interlocutor will be Patti Smith.] Speaking of interviews, Jian Gomeshi of CBC Radio One’s “Q” program conducted a great interview last year with Neil, and Daniel Lanois, producer of Neil’s 2011 album “Le Noise.”

I’ve admired Neil since I was fourteen when I saw him perform in Cleveland. I went with my older brother Joel–with whom I would later operate our Cleveland bookstore Undercover Books–and despite my being way under-age, Joel, who would have just turned eighteen, somehow got me past the front door with him. Confirming my memories, Jimmy McDonough’s indispensable book Shakey describes the venue as “a tiny basement coffeehouse,” though I recall it also served liquor. I recall Neil played two consecutive nights, and we even went back for night #2. This was soon after Buffalo Springfield had split up around when his first solo album was released, and before Neil released “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere,” the first album with Crazy Horse.

Neil played solo acoustic sets both nights, but he also had a backing band that opened on its own and later played with him, a tight and country-tinged outfit called Natchez Trace, about whom I’ve found a faint trace online. From that source, a Buffalo Springfield fan site, I see that the shows were on Saturday, May 31 and Sunday, June 1. I recall that the club was not crowded either night. At some point during the two nights, Joel and I availed ourselves of the opportunity to go up and say hello to him. I extended a hand and shared a shake with Neil, then so young, and a bit shy in fringed buckskins and extremely thin, as he was not many years past the polio that had defined his early years, also chronicled in Shakey. When I hear Neil speak on June 6, I’ll be remembering those La Cave gigs and the early days of Neil’s career.