My Orientation to The Press and BookExpo America
As I’m completely new to both the Press and BookExpo America (aka BEA), I really had no idea what to expect when I found out on my first day that I would be working at Cambridge’s booth. To be honest, the idea of talking to the media and the general public about Cambridge made me want to hide in the supply closet — I had only started work on Monday and was assigned three days later to help run the booth for a full day.
However, it turned out to be one of the most fun work orientations ever.
While at Cambridge’s booth, I got a clear sense of just how eagerly anticipated and respected our titles are. Our booth drew a diverse crowd of booksellers, librarians, industry professionals, the media, and book enthusiasts—all of whom were eager to get their hands on upcoming titles. A constant stream of exhibit-goers also came up to our booth for Cambridge’s giveaways: small blue boxes of environmentally friendly Post-It notes. Note to department for next year’s BEA: the smaller the giveaway, the better! No one could resist the Post-It notes, even when they were carrying a mother lode of advanced reader’s copies, catalogues, tote bags, and other BEA swag.
In rare moments of downtime, my colleagues in sales and marketing kept the booth lively with celebrity sightings and random contests (e.g. guessing how many lost-looking people asked what booth number we were—Laura won). We caught a glimpse of millionaire skateboarder Tony Hawk at his book signing; Dr. Ruth approached us for a chat; Laura spotted Pele; Cindy took a photo with Alex McCord and her husband Simon van Kampen, of Real Housewives of New York fame.
[Caitlin’s Editor’s Note: Three words – Kathie, Lee, Gifford, signing her new children’s book; alas I didn’t stop to get a copy. Also spied Newsweek’s Eric Alter at his book signing, and a man dressed as a clown who probably wasn’t famous but entertained me nonetheless. Lastly, I maintain that I won the first day’s contest: guessing how many people were going to pass the booth in a hat; unfortunately the rules were a bit ambiguous as to whether we would maintain the count over two days, and if we were counting men only or men and women. I still think I won.]
No one caught keynote speaker Barbara Streisand, but apparently she really hates the color orange. Of course, we all took breaks by wandering around the other booths and inevitably getting free stuff left and right.
I’m told no BEA is complete without the parties, and Cambridge was no exception: we hosted a reception at 44 ½ in Hells Kitchen. The venue was packed with colleagues and friends of the Press, including the President of OUP – USA and the President and CEO of Wiley. Plus, the fancy pink cocktails and tasty hors d’oeuvres were a welcome treat after a long day out on the exhibition floor.
Alas, all good things must come to an end, and as soon as it was 5pm on Thursday BEA was literally over: construction men rolled in with their machines and started tearing everything down and ripping everything up. However, I know I’m already looking forward to next year’s BEA 2011!