BEA Set for Big Opening in New York City

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Thursday, May 2, will mark the beginning of a very busy New York City visit for independent booksellers and others in the book publishing industry as BookExpo America opens at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Set to run from May 2 - May 5, the show will feature full days of networking, educational panels, meetings with publishers on the busy trade floor, and lots of opportunities to hear authors discuss their latest works.

Bookselling This Week will be providing readers with daily updates throughout the show at and via e-mail. (To sign up for a free e-mail subscription to BTW, click here.

As the final items are being crossed off the pre-show to-do list, here’s a quick review of some BEA highlights for independent booksellers.

Education and Professional Development

There will be a full day of ABA educational programming for booksellers on Thursday, May 2, at the Javits Center. The program will feature panels on marketing, bookstore finances, and inventory management; special programming for children's booksellers; a Large Store Roundtable; and more. For more on the day’s "Marketing Strategy Session," click here.

A Special Focus on Independents and Book Sense

On Friday, May 3, independent bookselling will take center stage at the Celebration of Bookselling, which will be held from 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. in the Special Events Hall at Javits. All BEA attendees are invited to greet and visit with colleagues and to hear the announcements, for the first time, of the 2002 Book Sense Book of the Year Award winners. Distinguished historian and writer Doris Kearns Goodwin will host the event. The doors of the hall will open at 5:00 p.m. to give attendees a chance to participate in the fifth annual Secret Garden Silent Auction to benefit the Association of Booksellers for Children. (Admission to the Celebration is free and open to all BEA attendees. The event is co-sponsored by The Atlantic Monthly and Smithsonian magazines.)

There will be a wide variety of ways to learn more about -- including a special session for publishers on Thursday, May 2, from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. at Javits. Booksellers can see demonstrations of the product and have discussions with staff in the Book Sense Lounge (Room 1E02-03) at Javits beginning on May 2 and throughout the show. On Saturday, May 4, from 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., there will be three Book Sense Bookseller-to-Bookseller Roundtables that will concentrate on ways to get the full benefit from Book Sense and, especially for those looking for increased sales, and for stores looking to sign-up for the first time. Admission is free, and the roundtables are open to all ABA members. There will be two roundtables on getting started with Book Sense, and one roundtable on getting started with

The Book Sense Lounge opens on May 2, and it will offer ABA members a place to meet with ABA Board members and staff, to log onto computers, plug in laptops, and check e-mail. The lounge is a comfortable, convenient place to relax off the busy exhibit floor with other booksellers and to enjoy some complimentary refreshments. Phones are available for credit card calls. The lounge will be open all four days of the show. At the ABA/Book Sense Booth (#718), booksellers will find a wide range of key information, and, for the first time this year, a chance to meet the authors of some of their favorite Book Sense picks. There will be live demonstrations of the new ABA Book Buyer’s Handbook Online, the new enhanced printing options for BTW, and the improved electronic reporting options to the Book Sense Bestseller lists.

There will be a special Book Sense panel for publishers on Thursday, May 2, from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. at Javits in Room 1E17K, where they can learn more about the Book Sense Bestseller lists and the Book Sense 76 program,, the Local Marketing Intelligence program, and the ABA Book Buyer’s Handbook Online. Admission is open to all BEA exhibiting publishers.

An Opportunity to Communicate With ABA

At the ABA Town Hall, on Friday, May 3, from 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Room 1E12), ABA members can voice opinions and share ideas with ABA Board members and staff in a less formal setting than at the ABA Annual Membership meeting. The annual meeting will follow the town hall, from 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., and it will update membership on the past year and look ahead to future association projects. Voting cards will be available outside the meeting room two hours prior to the meeting. Members will also have a chance to provide input to the development of the new strategic plan at BEA. There will be three ABA strategic planning sessions on Friday, from 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. (Room 1E12), from 9:45 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. (Room 1E13), and from 11:00 a.m. - noon (Room 1E13).

Author! Author!

The Book & Author Breakfasts on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will feature a wide range of authors, and on Friday, May 3, the AudioBook Tea is set for 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. There will also be a Sunday Literary Luncheon, from 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. on May 5.

This year marks the return of The Rock Bottom Remainders, who will be performing from 9:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, at Greenwich Village's historic Webster Hall. Tickets can still be purchased at and picked up at the ABFFE Booth in the Crystal Palace at the Javits Center. They can also be purchased at the on-site registration area at Javits.

And don’t forget the author autographings at the ABA/Book Sense Booth on the trade floor, set for Friday and Saturday of the show. On both days, the signings will start at 10:00 a.m., and the last signing session will begin at 4:00 p.m. on Friday and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The authors signing on Friday are: Paulette Jiles (Enemy Women, Morrow); Joseph Kanon (The Good German, Picador USA); Jennifer Watson and Dave Marx (PassPorter Walt Disney World 2002, PassPorter Travel Press); Kate Jennings (Moral Hazard, 4th Estate); Patty Lovell and David Catrow (Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, Putnam); John Griesemer (No One Thinks of Greenland, Picador USA); Carlo Lucarelli (Almost Blue, City Lights Publishers); and Andrew Miller (Oxygen, Harcourt).

The authors signing on Saturday are: Leif Enger (Peace Like a River, Atlantic Monthly Press); Reed Farrel Coleman (Walking the Perfect Square, The Permanent Press); Sharon Randall (Birdbaths and Paper Cranes: A Family Tale, Sleeping Bear Press); Karin Slaughter (Kisscut, Morrow); Joe Queenan (Balsamic Dreams, Picador USA); John Scott Shepherd (Henry's List of Wrongs, Rugged Land Books); Marnie Mueller (My Mother's Island, Curbstone Press); Michael Malone (Handling Sin, Sourcebooks Landmark); Dominique Raccah (Poetry Speaks, Sourcebooks MediaFusion); Ross King (Brunelleschi's Dome, Walker); and Craig Childs (Desert Cries, Arizona Highways).

In addition, The Reading Room (Room 1E12) will feature Paul Auster, Kate DiCamillo, Louise Erdrich, and Michael Malone, all reading from their works in a relaxed, intimate environment on Saturday, May 4, from 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. (The Reading Room is open to all badged attendees.)

Important Panels

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) is co-sponsoring a special free speech panel ("'9/11': Civil Liberties in a Time of Crisis") on Friday, May 3, from 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. in Room 1E12. The panel will feature filmmaker Michael Moore, author of the bestselling Stupid White Men; novelist Barbara Kingsolver; distinguished journalist Nat Hentoff; Yolanda King, author and daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.; John MacArthur, publisher of Harper's magazine; and Alan Dershowitz, author and Harvard law school professor.

There will be two other key panels on Saturday. The first -- from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. in Room 1E04 -- looks at the topic of succession planning. A number of key questions and topics will be addressed by professionals with experience in valuing and selling businesses, including insights from booksellers and industry professionals who have been involved in the process of exiting various-sized businesses. The session will be moderated by Ivan Barkhorn, formerly a partner at McKinsey & Company and a consultant to ABA on strategic matters. On the session's panel will be Frank Kerrigan, CFO of Ingram Book Company, Nashville, Tennessee, and Ned Densmore, former owner of Village Book Store in Littleton, New Hampshire.

Later that day -- from 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. in Room 1E12 -- attendees can learn the latest on how community-based retailers are working to more effectively advocate on important political issues in their cities and towns. This special one-hour panel on "Main Street/Alliances/Political Advocacy" will feature Utah Senator Orrin G. Hatch (author of the upcoming book Square Peg from Basic Books) and two booksellers with extensive experience in civic affairs, outgoing ABA President Neal Coonerty of Book Shop Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz, California, and former ABA President Richard Howorth of Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi. Coonerty served as mayor of Santa Cruz from 1992 to 1993, and Howorth is currently serving as mayor of Oxford. The panel will be moderated by ABA COO Oren Teicher. All of these panels are open to all badged BEA attendees.

Great Value and Great Fun

The annual ABFFE Silent Auction will run from Friday, May 3, to noon on Sunday, May 5, in the Crystal Palace at Javits (main lobby). In addition, ABFFE will run a weeklong online auction on its Web site,

And the Kentucky Derby Party is set for Saturday, from 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. in Room 1E04, featuring Mint Juleps, a beer/wine bar, and the most exciting two minutes in sports.