Book Expo America is happening in New York City, May 28 - 31. If you work as a frontline bookseller in an independent bookstore, here's why you should come.
1) For your future. This is where you'll meet the people you'll be working with for the next 20 years. It may be where you meet someone who will give you your next job, or connect you with someone to help you do your own job better. It's where you'll establish the relationships that will give you a chance for a long-term career in the book industry, whether in bookstores, publishing, or elsewhere.
2) For the parties. Duh. Even if you didn't get the embossed invitation (that probably went to your boss), you will have the opportunity to go to dinners, cocktails, beerfests, maybe even the odd dance party. (Here's your first invitation: Emerging Leaders party, open bar, Wednesday May 27 -- time and place to come!)
3) For the free stuff. Maybe you already get lots of galleys sent to the bookstore -- but nothing like this. While it's good advice not to load yourself down too much with swag, it definitely makes sense to take advantage of some of the book giveaways (and tote bags, notepads, keychains, buttons, and figurines, if you're into that) publishers are offering specifically for handselling booksellers like you.
4) For the education. The ABA's Day of Education is second to none in terms of professional development for booksellers -- go to the sessions on Thursday, and you WILL be a better bookseller by the end of the day. And the education offered by BEA itself is nothing to sneeze at, either.
5) For your Next Great Read. The books for this summer, fall and winter will be arrayed for your discovery -- you might find the next novel by your favorite author, or some serendipitous great book you've never heard of. (Kind of like browsing in a bookstore, for bookstores.)
6) For new vendors and products. You might not be the buyer in your store, but that doesn't mean you can't discover a great new indie press or sideline manufacturer to bring back to your store. Your eye for the new is as valuable as anyone's.
7) For encounters with authors. Sherman Alexie? Richard Russo? Stephen Tyler? Whoever you're crazy about, chances are you'll have a chance to shake their hand and have them sign your book -- or just hear them rock out in their own inimitable fashion.
8) For putting faces with names. You talk on the phone to your sales rep, you email with publicists, but there's nothing like meeting face-to-face with your professional colleagues. Your interactions afterward will be more interesting and better.
9) For New York City. Yeah, it's an expensive town -- but it's also one of the greatest cities in the world, the center of book publishing, and home to a ton of great indie bookstores. Whether you wanna squeeze in a visit to the Strand, the Met, Prospect Park, or FAO Schwartz, you'll be in the place to do it. It's got a kind of energy that's completely unique.
10) Because the badge is free. If you're a young bookseller and you email the Emerging Leaders Council, we can hook you up with a FREE pass to BEA, for a single day or several. All you have to do is get here (and we can even help you out with somewhere to stay.)
There are plenty more reasons to come to BEA this year. What are some of your favorites?