Otto Penzler has an amusing reflection in the New York Sun on last week’s Book Expo of America at the Javits Center. I was there, and sympathize with all his emotions. The sheer scale was astounding: a gazillion publishers, authors, agents, and most of all, books! Who said the publishing industry is dead?
Wandering around the convention center and chatting with people, I became aware of how much I’ve learned in just a few months. I am familiar with most imprints of most major publishers; I know how bestseller lists work, how Amazon processes orders, and how bookstores decide to stock books; I know how Barnes & Noble arranges books; I understand the author-agent-publisher relationship; I know a bunch of people in the book publicity world. And yet even with all this learning, I still feel like a newbie! The world of publishing is so vast and so complicated (and so messed up, in many ways).
All in all, though, it was pretty energizing to be in an environment with 30,000 people passionate about books and the business of delivering them to readers.