Friday, May 29, 2009

Photos: Friday at the 2009 BookExpo America

Though the bulk of our collective attention may be split between the siren songs of DVR, the internet, and video games, I think most geeks maintain a special place in their hearts for regular old books. It's certainly true of me, and it's why I love the BookExpo America, North America's biggest book publishing convention. The sheer concentration of booths filling the Javits Center in Manhattan makes the NY Comic Con look like the Montgomery Flea Market.

I was able to pick up review copies of a few upcoming comics (including the very awesome looking Pixu) and I'll be posting about those soon. In the meantime, here are some Friday highlights (frilights?) from the convention floor...

As you may already know, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies from Quirk Books is a paperback best-seller, cultural phenom, and further proof that geek memes are pushing their way into the cultural mainstream. The formula is fiendishly simple; take the ultimate romance novel, insert zombie mayhem, and publish to a waiting nation of zombie fanatics. Love that public domain!

At the Quirk Books booth, publishing reps were promoting a new Deluxe Edition of PPZ coming out this winter, which will include "30% more zombies". I half-jokingly asked the rep if this addition was a concession to reader demands, and she answered in all seriousness, "Yes, we got a lot of reader feedback on the subject."

The big news is that on July 15th, the next "...With Zombies" title will be announced. The only hints I could get out of the rep were:

1. It won't be another Jane Austen book
2. It will take place in the Regency era (I'm guessing they'll stick with the Romance genre too)

I'll call it now: Jane Eyre With Zombies. Maybe cause that's the only Regency era book I can think of that isn't Jane Austen.

Neil Gaiman was signing copies of The Graveyard Book at the Harper Collins booth, bringing fans to tears with a mere word or touch of his hand. The autograph line was absolutely soul-crushing, so I just snapped a picture and moved on. We're BFF on twitter, though.

Life-sized Clifford is actually pretty frightening.

Let's talk bookmarks. Old and busted.....

It took me a minute to understand the point of an XMarxit, but it's actually pretty smart. You point the dot at the spot you stopped reading, so when you open up the book you know exactly where you left off. Boom. Elegant it's simplicity.

And if you ever need to prove that you're a bigger nerd than someone else, whipping out a speciality bookmark is going to be your ace in the hole.

The idea of making a tiny Ultimate Fighting ring for the Ultimate Fighting book to live in is totally adorable, but I question whether it's a good idea to give Beat-Em-Up gloves to a person who is so obsessed with Ultimate Fighting that they'd want this thing in their house. Someone in that house is going to get punched, that's all I'm saying.

From the publisher's notes: "Meet all these cute baby animals that find clever ways to solve their not-so-small problems". I have a problem with crying when I read children's books. I didn't even try to read these on the floor because there would have been trouble.

Oh look, it's a little tiny novelty book!

Or is it....?I can't decide if this is a great idea or not. Playaway is a self-contained audiobook - you'd just get it from the library or as a gift, plug headphones in, and listen to it like an iPod. It's kind of cool to not have to transfer CDs to your computer to your music player before listening to something, and the "tiny book" visual impact is definitely appealing.

My biggest problem is the packaging...

WHAT THE HELL? Why would you create a giant VHS sized package for something that's smaller than a cellphone? Just because something is going to be housed in a library doesn't mean it HAS to look uncool.

In case you were wondering what to get your mom for Christmas. My mom might actually like this, actually.