Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Daedalus delves into new books at BEA

Here's a shot from the June BookExpo America (BEA) of Daedalus Books and Music's Senior Vice President Helaine Harris (left) going over Norton's fall catalog with Deirdre Dolan (VP & Associate Sales Director, right). It was an highly focused meeting, with veteran buyer Helaine listening intently to Deirdre's summary of the virtues of key titles and gauging which offerings would appeal the most to Daedalus customers (being the avid and informed readers you are!). Besides carrying quality remainders at bargain prices, Daedalus has increasingly delved into stocking new books and offering them at an attractive discount. The unfortunate demise of so many bookstores—both independent and chain—means that customers can increasingly look to Daedalus in future to pick up the slack and offer intelligently chosen new books at a competitive price. This also benefits the many "midlist" authors (i.e., not the million-selling ones) and their fans.
At the BEA each year, Helaine and staff view the new books coming out in the Fall–Christmas season, and buy then for those catalogs (and the website). The excitement of encountering so many great new books in the three days of the event never dissipates. As I scanned the Norton booth, for example, I was smitten by two upcoming titles they are distributing for Thames & Hudson: the newly photographed Book of Kells (above) and Joseph Cornell's Manual of Marvels (a facsimile of 60 pages from Cornell's copy of an illustrated handbook of advice for French farmers. On its pages he inserted collages, photomontages, and drawings.) At the Abbeville booth, I reverently held and had a foretaste of their upcoming title The Grand Medieval Bestiary: The Animal in Illuminated Manuscripts (more about that tomorrow!)
Above is a view of the exhilarating whirl that is the BEA, the largest publishing event in North America. Publishers have booths where they display their new titles for booksellers, librarians and academics, the media, and other bookpeople. Popular writers (like Jo Nesbo, Junot Diaz, Barbara Kingsolver, and Stephen Colbert, below) sign mountains of books and speak at packed author breakfasts. (We have discounted titles by all four; just follow the links.)
During the entertaining keynote speech and slideshow by popular fiction writer Jennifer Weiner (above) at the pre-BEA Bloggers conference, I sat at a table with 10 people. Five of them texted the entire time. Is there no undivided attention any more? Are people complete slaves to their devices? I await your comments!

11 comments:

  1. That looks pretty much like heaven on earth (or it would, if there were fewer people. Introvert here). I'm jealous you got to see Stephen Colbert!

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  2. Ditto, Morag! To be that close to Junot Diaz would have been amazing, too. Daedalus has always been tops, but will certainly be filling increasingly more holes in the book world.

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    1. I did see him actually at his publisher's booth .... so cool to match the face with the stories I've been reading.

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  3. Those bloggers could have been live blogging instead of texting, which I
    have discovered makes for informing readers of the blog more than the
    actual blogger, so your point is still made. Thanks for holding out until
    after the talk was over to get us the information!

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  4. BEA!! Very cool. It's like the book equivalent of E3 (which is for video gamers)!! Can you tell me how many different booths had interactive sort of displays? Was there a lot of blurb reading? Was the air electric? :-)

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    1. That's a good question ... being such a physical book person, I don't think I would have spotted them as readily as you. The air was buzzing, esp. when authors were signing and people were giving out cool free stuff.

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  5. To answer your question, undivided attention went out the window with the smart phone. It's like everyone got these phones and all of the sudden EVERYONE is so busy haha. I think the book convention sounds amazing. I'd love to sit around and listen to people talk about books all day! That's like and English majors heaven. that's very cool that they all get to go.

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  6. BEA looked like a blast this year!!!!! It sucks that people couldn't pay complete attention to the speaker though, I really feel like instead of connecting people, all of these gadgets and devices have actually distanced people from having meaningful interactions and focus on just one subject.

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    1. The first time it really got to me was when I tried to talk to my 13-yr-old niece at a family event and her eyes and thumbs couldn't be separated from the cell phone. I know I must seem ancient and irrelevant to her, but jeez!

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  7. Ironic that devices made to be convenient take up so much of our time. Ironic that we now have friends whom we don't know and have never seen.
    Ironic, too, that...oh, excuse me. I have to get that.

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