Friday, May 27, 2011

BookExpo 2011 Awards!

As librarians, booksellers and publishers return to the daily grind, we can now reflect on the past week's activity at Javits Center with the annual BookExpo Awards!

"Here, Smell This" Award

Among the remainders, independent authors and special interest groups in the far, far away land of the 5000 aisles, there stood a booth for Taste Science LLC and retired Cornell Associate Professor Virginia Ultermohlen, Nutritional Scientist conducting research with a most interesting survey on taste and smell and how it links to reading preferences (e.g., a person's sensitivity to the cooling effects of mint influences their preference for reading fiction vs. non-fiction), personality traits, choosing professions and even decision-making!

Best Children's Librarians in the Universe and Beyond Award!

This award goes to two of the best Children's Librarians in the country, oh yes, and in the Universe and Beyond, Karen Brunkhorst and Barbara Pavlovic of the Queens Library as well as to all the Children's and School Librarians who introduce little readers to the world of books during their formative years. We thank you for guiding and encouraging all the little ones to, what we hope will be, a lifelong journey of reading and appreciation of books!

Best Book and Companion Tote Award

1st Place: This award goes to publisher Simon & Schuster for the fabulous in-booth signing of Man in the Moon. This publisher handed out a themed-related tote to attendees waiting in line, who were then greeted by the very kind and gentle author William Joyce, a book and a spin dial. Congratulations to Simon & Schuster on a first-class signing.

2nd Place: Brian Selznick delivers another compelling work with his new book, Wonderstruck and Scholastic's 3 dimensional looking tote!

3rd Place:

Kudos to Penguin on its 3rd place finish with the beautiful book/tote, Home for Christmas by Jan Brett

"That's good to know" Award!

It is sometimes hard to get past the frenzy of all the free books, totes and swag, but let's not forgot that there's an educational component to BookExpo with the ABA Day of Education. The year's programs varied but one program stood out, the "Digital Market and the YA Audience, which included the newly released Bowker PubTrack/ABC survey and the correlation between YA's use of social media and their use of digital media (in which there is very little correlation perhaps due to digital fatigue).
A few points from this program:
1) texting/emailing ranked at the top of teen activities at a whopping 86%, with reading books at 39%
2) young adults are (very slowly and somewhat resisting) adapting to ebooks due browsability issues and the inability to share the ebook. In other words, teens prefer the feel and touch of a book, the ability to physically browse (going to the middle or sometimes peaking at the end), and most importantly, being able to share the book with their friends
3) when reaching out to this social networking generation, whether at your library or bookstore, go to where they live, virtually that is (otherwise that would be creepy and illegal), which is MySpace and Facebook.

The Publisher with the Mostest Award!

The mostest totes, that is! Hands down, this award goes to Chronicle Books for offering not one, not two, but three different totes throughout the 3-day BookExpo (2 of the 3 totes pictured below)!

"Gee, it sure would be nice to have the wi-fi service we paid for" Award!

This award goes to all the publishers and exhibitors, especially in the Digital Zone, who calmly and patiently accepted the puzzling notion that the premier convention center in the greatest city in the world is unable to provide functioning wi-fi service, which is an additional charge to the exhibitors. We hope that BEA can improve this situation for next year's BookExpo so that exhibitors can fully demonstrate their product(s).

The Most Retro Swag Award!

To Merck & Company, Inc. for offering tiny reproductions of the 1899 Merck Manual, which included sections on Materia Medica (Latin for "stuff to make you feel better" featuring entries such as "copper acetate to encourage vomiting"); and Therapeutic Indications (listing see references such as "Brain, Fever of-- See Typhoid Fever"). Thank you Merck for this super awesome swag and for reminding us how very fortunate we are for the advances in modern medicine.

The Department of Homeland Security has got nothing on us Award

Figuratively speaking that is, this award goes to a team of four Children's Librarians, from the Midwest (maybe), who secretly met each morning in a secluded, dimly-lit section on the bottom level of Javits Center! This covert operation began on Tuesday morning at 0700 hours, where this 4-person special forces team strategized to capture every Children's book available at the day's events. These sweet & meek-looking, comfortable shoe-wearing librarians expertly camouflage their tough, hard-as-nails warrior interiors. After the leader issued coordinates for the day, e.g., Mary--5 at 1300, Joyce--3205 at 1100, etc. (Mary goes to Autographing Booth 5 at 1 p.m., Joyce goes to Booth 3205 at 11 am), they broke for grub (where one member fixed a 6-year dispenser problem in 2 seconds at a concession stand), discussed niceties (such as children, husbands and in-laws) and then refocused with serious intent to begin the day's mission. So, this award goes to the Children's Librarians special forces team for their tactical maneuvers, innate problem-solving ability and their capability, if they wished, to protect and lead the free world!

"The stars must have been perfectly aligned" Award!

This award is of a personal nature and goes to the Heavens for opening up on Tuesday morning at approximately 10:37 a.m. when, lo and behold, favorite author Dava Sobel was discussing her upcoming book, A More Perfect Heaven: How Nicolaus Copernicus Revolutioned the Cosmos at the Midtown stage.

The Heavens parted for a second time, later that morning, when this blogger happened upon an in-booth signing of the book and got to meet one of her favorite authors! Now, this is what BookExpo is all about!

Most Dedicated Author who color-coordinated with her Book Cover Award

This award goes to fan favorite Melrose character Jane Mancini a.k.a. Josie Bissett, who, coincidentally, wore blue nail polish (as seen in letters c, m, e, though a bit deeper in color) that was perfectly coordinated with her Children's book, Tickle Monster.

Best Catalog Cover Award

There is great thought, creativity and design that goes into catalog covers, with the aim of drawing in potential customers while reflecting the essence of the publishing house, publisher, and/or book distribution company. Bears and apples dominated this year and the winners are:

1st Place: BenBella Books with its reminder to keep Mother Earth's NYC green and clean
2nd Place: Blue Apple Books' smart choice of a cutesy bear in onesie pajamas
3rd Place: Candlewick Press' patient and polite bear and his special hat
Special mention: Publishers Group West's belief that gentle giant bears and young make believe princes can find laughter together

1971 was a Great Year Award

Well, maybe not a great year, but it marks the beginning for three exhibitors that celebrated a 40th Anniversary at this year's BookExpo--IPG, Wiley's Dummies series and Ziggy. In fact, many publishers and exhibiters celebrated anniversaries at BookExpo, setting a record high. Happy Anniversary to all who celebrated milestones and a very special happy birthday to Ziggy!

The Cat's Meow Award

There was a surgent of dogs represented at last year's BookExpo, however, the cats have reclaimed their terrority this year, as represented by the wild imaginations of three beloved, though not always well-behaved, felines-- Nick Bruel's Bad Kitty , Judy Schachner's Skippyjon Jones and Kids Can Press' Binky the Space Cat!

Autographing Area vs. The Exhibits, which is better? Award!

Silly question, right? Both are winners! These two events are polar opposites and provide completely different, rewarding and unique experiences, leaving many attendees wishing they could be in two places at one time.

The Autographing Area is scheduled so attendees have a lot of control over which books and signings to wait in line for, yet requires some flexibility if an author is a no show, or a particular line snakes into the Children's pavillion and may alter getting other autographed books within that hour. It requires patience, but affords the opportunity to meet, greet and talk with colleagues from all over the country. This is perhaps one of the richest and most treasured experiences of BookExpo. And if you were lucky enough, you might have been able to wave to Mo Willems' life-size characters Piggie and Gerald the Elephant.

On the other end of the spectrum, attendees can travel, aisle to aisle, through the world of the Exhibits Hall in search of new books and products (code for swag and totes), experience the more intimate in-booth author signings and partake in special celebrations, such as a Judy Moody party with bite-sized cupcakes, feather boas, free t-shirts and the chance to see the young actress playing the book's character, which was one of the many celebrations that filled up the Exhibits Hall with fun, excitement, spontaneity and joy.

Thanks for guiding the masses Award!

Our great appreciation to Kirkus Reviews' 2011 BEA Big Book Guide and Library Journal's Barbara Hoffert's BEA Galley & Signing Guide 2011 special BookExpo supplements, featuring book reviews. These supplements help guide the librarians through the plethora of books and hopefully becomes a regular feature of BookExpo. And may they one day incorporate "the fine art of swagging" into those supplements!

Best Tote Award

The award is given for the most excellent totes. There were many exceptional totes this year, but three totes stood out from the rest, and they are:

1st Place: Little Brown's Tintin tote

We applaud Little Brown and Company on its brave show of support by celebrating over 80 years of boy reporter Tintin and his dog Snowy. The Tintin series has drawn criticism over portrayals of certain groups and people, however, it reflects the attitudes of those times. To hide these truths lends to us forgetting and more importantly, opens us to repeating history. Bravo to Little Brown!

2nd Place: Priddy Books (imprint of Macmillan) offered this organic tote in celebration of 10 years of great books, if they say so themselves!

3rd Place: Capstone's Stone Arch Books onomatopoeia-inspiring (Bam, Swoosh, Vroom, Wham, Whizzz) tote

Special mention: The insect green colored tote "I Wonder Why" by Kingfisher (Macmillan)

Best Swag Award

All swag wins, however, there were 3 publishers that went above and beyond by offering original, enlightening and purposeful swag to introduce their new books!

1st Place: For originality and educating us on farm anatomy, Storey Publishing takes the top spot for its 4-postcard design

2nd Place: Orange Palm and Magnificent Magus Publications for guiding us to the supreme path while enjoying a cup of tea

3rd Place: Bowtie Press for promoting urban farming with a starter packet of tomato seeds

As we close the last chapter on this year's BookExpo, we return to our libraries where many face deep budgetary restraints and continue the fight to maintain quality service with so little resources. And for this, we thank BookExpo giving us a momentary escape as well as the reassurance that we are not alone in this struggle. And to our publishers and authors, we thank you for helping us fill up our shelves, especially at a time when we need it the most. We'll see you next year!

Pictured below:

Primitives by Kathy (top left); author/illustrator Peter Brown and his friend Lucy (top right); Penguin's display of book covers; the Amulet Books 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' snow globe; Mo's Nose new clothing line; Kristi Yamaguchi's NY Times best-seller Dream Big, Little Pig ; Abbeville Press display for Flip-o-Saurus and Flip-o-Storic; Lulu's fun body displays; Good Books' display of Children's books, newcomer Pink Pig Press; and Sarah Dessen's travelling promo