BEA Recap: Event Overview

Welcome to part 2 of my BEA recap. Where the first part was all about the highlights and fun things I did, this part will be all about the actual event.

This year, BEA was held in Chicago which as we were told, resulted in 1000 more attendees from Illinois (I mean, obviously?) BookExpo boasted that there were also more than 230 more international attendees this year and said that having BEA in Chicago meant that they reached a more diverse audience than they had in the past. All of this might be true but the question is was Chicago > New York?


Financially, Chicago was definitely better for me than New York but I don’t know if the event itself was better.

I overheard several conversations at the event talking about how the setup of this particular BEA was disadvantageous to them. Instead of the exhibition hall being a mix of several things, it was divided such that there was one side with all the publishers and booths that attendees would want to visit and the other side that was completely neglected and empty of attendees. It was actually kind of really sad. I think that is definitely one thing that BEA did better last year. It was also mentioned that having BEA in Chicago meant that less industry professionals came.

This year however, the lines were definitely handled a lot better and instead of multiple disastrous cases involving us lining up early and publishers ignoring the line, there was only one stampede. Basically what happened was that Macmillan was doing a drop for tickets for 4 major signings and a bunch of us decided we really wanted them tickets so we were going to start a line early. Everyone was polite in this line and we did our best to make sure we weren’t blocking any booths but because Macmillan had stated they didn’t want any lines until the time of the drop, when it was time, our fancy line was not acknowledged and everyone ended up running to form a new line for the ticket drop. Tote bags were torn, feet were stepped on, chaos ensued. #BEA2016sobstories

Line to enter BEA on the last day
Line to enter BEA on the last day

One thing I did this year that I didn’t do last year was BookCon. I wasn’t flying this year so I thought I might as well stay longer and see what BookCon was all about. Many of you have heard horror stories and heard people warn to not go to BookCon and I am here to tell you that it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be? I also went a lot later and only went to one ticketed signing so I didn’t actually have to fight the crowds in the same way many other people had to.

A major difference I felt this year was that a lot more people at the conference were vary of book bloggers. I had one person ask me (in the most obnoxious way possible) if I got paid to blog. Two different publicists from two different publishing houses also seemed to have formed opinions about book bloggers and when I mentioned I was one, they said the term with a certain contempt that it threw me off. A person asked what I did and when I said I was a book blogger, they just stopped talking to me. It was actually kind of hurtful because I literally don’t know what is wrong with being a book blogger. We love books and we promote the heck out of them. We don’t have the same influence and booksellers and librarians but we promote books in so many ways. I will stop the rambling now so this post doesn’t turn into a rant about why people need to not be mean to book bloggers and stop looking down on us.

Overall, I don’t think BEA this year was better than BEA last year. Both events came with their set of advantages and disadvantages as will be the case with any event but with Chicago, there was a bigger venue and lines were better managed so yay? I also met so many more people this year because I was a shy turtle last year but I did miss my peeps from last year.  

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Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).


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  1. says

    I’ve always wanted to go to BEA but every year for whatever reason, something comes up and i can never go. Hopefully this changes next year!

    I don’t know what to make of the event being different in itself because it was in Chicago this year but the news about how you were treated not so nicely because you said you’re a book blogger baffles me. I’m so sorry for the way they treated you. i have no idea why there seems to be some disaste for bloggers now but regardless, no one should be shunned out like that.

  2. says

    I know other people had the same reaction from some publishers or people working on booths, but not from other attendees… that’s so NOT cool! I guess we do have some sort of bad rep, but 90% of it it’s undeserved.

    And heeeey, my cardigan is in that liiiiines pic!! =D

    Also, I think this BEA was so much better organized when it came to lines and the like compared to last year, except for the Macmillan stampede!
    Pili @ In Love With Handmade recently posted…Tell Me Tuesdays #37!!My Profile

  3. says

    Sometimes I wonder what would happen if book bloggers weren’t around. Honestly I get most of my news from other book bloggers, and when I wasn’t in the community, I didn’t even care about new books coming out. I feel like book bloggers/bookstagrammers/booktubers are the ones driving the sales. So, I’m not sure why publicists or other people are so rude. I really think it has to do with the fact that we’re all young adults.
    Valerie recently posted…Review: The Marked GirlMy Profile

  4. says

    I can’t believe people were so rude to you because you’re a book blogger! *hugs* I think book bloggers are very important and we definitely help promote books. Inge from Of Wonderland actually did an excellent post about why book bloggers are needed – here’s the link if you’d like to check it out:
    Kyra @ Blog of a Bookaholic recently posted…Top ten reasons why reading is my favouriteMy Profile

  5. says

    How did I not even know in advance that you were at BEA, Rashika? Now I’m so sad we didn’t have a chance to meet up :( Not sure I’m going to go to another BEA, as I think I prefer RT to BEA and will be going to Atlanta for RT next year. But who knows, right? NYC is only a direct flight away, so one day, I might just try that, too.
    It looks like you had a great time :)
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews recently posted…Review: The Raven King – Maggie StiefvaterMy Profile

  6. says

    That’s sad about people having such a negative attitude towards bloggers. I never noticed that during previous years! Also, I heard that BookCon wasn’t as crazy this year but to be honest, it was already better last year then it had been when it launched in 2014 – THAT year was a total nightmare O.O

    Considering that usually BEA stays at a city for 5 years (more or less) and they’ve already confirmed that it’s going back to NYC next year, I think a lot of people must have felt like you did with it being divided all weird and the bad attitudes. Hopefully that all means that next year will improve on that :) Thanks again for sharing your experiences with us girl, I MISS YOU TOO ♥
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday *132*My Profile

  7. says

    OH NO, I’m sorry BEA didn’t turn out as good as last time. :( And what happened during BookCon was heartbreaking. It breaks my heart seeing how badly bookbloggers are treated even though most of us really do put the effort in to promote books. I hope you’ll have a better experience next year? Don’t let it get you down, okay? :D
    Maryam @ Once Upon A Story recently posted…Review: The Unbound (The Archived #2) by Victoria SchwabMy Profile

  8. says

    Woah, why the book blogger hate? I totally get that on some level if we dislike a book it can be bad publicity for a book or author and there have been a fair share of blogging “scandals” where authors have retaliated against reviews and what-not, but for the most part bloggers do SO MUCH for the book community! We generally aren’t paid and take the time to maintain a blog, review books, and publicize events for authors and publishers. Wow, I am ready to fight someone if they diss book bloggers and our community. *glares*

    Anyway, I’m glad you still had a good time despite those encounters, Rashika! Thanks for sharing, dear! :)
    Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings recently posted…Review: The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie ThorneMy Profile

  9. says

    Maybe they should rotate between NYC and Chicago? I was really happy that it is going to be back in NYC next year because I only live 3.5 hours away by bus. I wouldn’t mind only going evry two years. The only reason I was sad it was in Chicago this year was because my last year’s roommate made plans with other people and she told me too late to be able to make other arrangements I could afford, so I hadn’t been able to attend. So, I was kind of sad I couldn’t go this year. Everyone who stayed in the hotel attached to the venue said they liked it way better than NYC. That “blogger thing” is awful. We do much work for zero money. This is the first I am hearing this and it is sad. It must be because we are usually only intetacting with other bloggers and the authors and don’t come in contact with other industry people much. Great post and good idea to split them up into fun and serious posts!

  10. says

    Wow, I had no idea that the term BOOK BLOGGER was sometimes received as a bad one until reading this post. In Australia, whenever I got to bookish events and mention that I’m one, it’s usually met with surprise and admiration. Sad to see this isn’t always the case anymore elsewhere :(

    I love being a blogger and you’re right, we DO promote books and most of us aren’t in it for the freebies. We genuinely love to talk and post about books!