On the second day of BEA, your feet hurt. You have somehow, in the short span of hours between day one and day two, grown jaded and distrustful of free books. You develop a strong distaste and general pity for book pimps. Inexplicably, you still snatch every free tote bag you see.
I was faced with a moral dilemma on Wednesday: pimping a book I completely and entirely disagreed with. Of course it was about politics. I couldn't just abandon the book and author based on my personal opinions, could I? As a compromise, I told myself I could simply hold the book and maintain my book pimp pleasant smile--but say nothing. Luckily the book was so compelling (aka controversial) that it had a line well before the signing.
Bullet? Dodged. Morals? Intact.
Later on, a Ricky Gervais type character (short, British, witty) stopped to chat with me. This is something I love about BEA: anyone will talk to you about books. He was in audio books and could not understand why a publisher would have an author sign books and give them away for free.
It is a little odd. Here's my take on this time honored tradition: 1. Giving out free books (esp for debut authors) gets the books in circulation--in the hands of readers who will hopefully order the book for their store or library, blog about it, and tell their friends.
Having an author sign the book increases the book's perceived value more than anything else. It also strengthens the bond between reader and author. And it doesn't cost the publisher anything to have the author signing (plus promoting the signing is another way to get the author's name out there). I mean, maybe travel expenses, but my jaded little soul suspects that more authors would have to pay for their own travel anyway.
Other Wednesday fun included temporarily marching between two men in full stormtrooper gear. Yes, it was AWESOME. I also saw--from a distance--Tim Gunn. He looked just as lovable and charming and well dressed in person as he does on TV.
I ended the day with a couple college friends eating Greek takeout and watching a bootleg of the movie Kick Ass, which I loved (caveat: I have NOT read the comic).
In the morning, I took a cab (Okay, I made my friend hail it for me) to the airport and bid New York farewell. I was home and ready to reflect on the conference as well as pick through my book booty...