Book Con – May 31, 2014
Book Con has come and gone. Events like this always amaze me as they seem to take forever to arrive but end in the blink of an eye. I also still have trouble believing that I was in New York attending this event. It was definitely worth the bus ride (which is also easier to say now!).
Thoughts on Travel
- Method: Greyhound bus
- Duration: 8-9 hours each way including stops
This was our first time traveling with Greyhound, and overall it wasn’t too bad. The “open reservation” system did make me a little nervous, but we arrived about an hour before our bus was scheduled to leave and didn’t have any problems getting a seat. The stations weren’t as clean as I would prefer, but I’ve seen worse. It was frustrating that disembarking on one occasion was mandatory (even though we weren’t switching buses…?). Otherwise we just had the travel problems that can happen anywhere (a few rude riders/staff), but overall I would do it again if I had to.
Thoughts on Food
Sadly, due to the exciting waiting in very long lines morning at Book Con we didn’t get a chance to grab breakfast which wasn’t awesome. This played a part in choosing to grab lunch instead of waiting in line for one of the panels we’d been hoping to see. Be aware of the prices if you’re planning to eat at Javits. It is very pricey at least at the cafe where we ate. A lunch meat sandwich (which I did not realize had mustard – eww!) and a bottle of tea cost about $15. We were worn out by dinnertime (and I was feeling queasy about facing the bus again), so we just grabbed a quick bite at Dunkin Donuts for dinner. I had an awesome bagel and the staff was really nice.
Thoughts on Book Con
LINES! If you’re going to Book Con be prepared to wait in lines repeatedly and for extended periods of time. I had expected lines to be a part of an event like this, but even I was surprised by the disorganization and pure chaos that most of the lines we waited in were. I don’t know if the turnout was more than the staff/volunteers had expected, but it didn’t seem like they were prepared to adequately deal with the crowds (The Fault in Our Stars and Epic Storytelling lines were probably the craziest we were in). Also, when standing in lines talking with your friends, PLEASE try not to spoil the ending of a popular book that’s been out less than a week. I will guarantee you that not everyone standing around you has read it (I’m looking at you, girls who wouldn’t stop talking about City of Heavenly Fire). It’s just very inconsiderate.
Timing was also a major problem. What we were able to see/do was awesome, but I felt like we weren’t able to do very much. A lot of the panels/autographing sessions overlapped which was frustrating, but also, you’d have to line up roughly an hour before anything in order to get in. So, in the end, we were at Javits from 6:30 AM until maybe 5/6 PM and were only able to see two panels, attend two autographing sessions, and spend maybe 15-20 minutes walking around the floor. I’ve heard rumors that they plan to split Book Con over two days next year (which would definitely help), but I also wish the show floor would have been open later.
Ideas for improvement: More open bathrooms (saw one that was closed and the other had maybe 10 stalls). No lining up for next panel/signing until first is done (this was Fig’s tip as she missed out on Ann S. Martin’s signing for this reason). Keep the show floor open later/expand event over two days so there’s more time to actually see things. SIGNS! A little directional help would be greatly appreciated. Expect huge turnout for events like TFiOS and Epic Storytelling panels and either use old-fashioned velvet rope lines or have enough staff/volunteers to corral/guide line formation.
Overall, despite the bus ride and the occasional chaos, Book Con was marvelously exciting and fun. My favorite part was definitely the two panels we saw (Epic Storytelling & TFiOS), and I was also thrilled to get books signed by Maggie Stiefvater and Morgan Matson. I didn’t come home with a crazy book haul, but I was lucky enough to snag an ARC of Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater, a signed e-copy of Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson, and get a couple of cool tote bags. All of which I’m immensely grateful to have gotten, but ultimately, getting to see so many awesome authors and hear them speak was just brilliant.