priscilla shay

A Power Reader Goes to Book Expo America, Part 2

The exhibitors at BEA came in all forms. Here are some of the highlights:

The Ellora’s Cave booth was a definite “expect the unexpected” moment. They were the kings of swag, with coasters, tote bags, jar grippers, print editions of their anthologies, and very to-the-point door hangers.

'Do not disturb' is so passe.
“Do not disturb” is so passé.

They also had Ellora’s Cave 2014 calendars available. But to get them, you had to meet the calendar models.

Where no erotica reader has gone before.

Three of the models were there, and they signed calendars, took pictures, and answered my questions. I was burning with *ahem* curiosity and wanted to know more about what it was like to be a Caveman. Unlike other book cover models, the Ellora’s Cavemen represent Ellora’s Cave titles only, with one Caveman doing about six or seven shoots for their covers—in this year alone. They also have a presence at events like Book Expo America.

And what a presence it was.

Next, we chatted with reps from New York supermarket mainstay Zabar’s, as they were interested in expanding their catering market… and sharing cinnamon and chocolate rugelach along the way.

Other fun exhibitor moments and books included:

  • A cute cozy mystery series set in Bath, England from UK publisher Accent Press.
  • A conversation about natural disasters with a rep from Hachette… where I also learned that lady blog Jezebel is coming out with an encyclopedia.
jezebel book
Your main form of procrastination: now in book form.
  • Academic publishers can totally be cool, as the University of Chicago Press showed with some gorgeous new editions of the ancient Greek plays.
  • The American Girl rep letting us indulge in our childhood as Priscilla and I remembered our favorite dolls. Mine is Samantha, forever and always.
Fierce and flawless.

Finally, I was mad about the BEA-themed Mad Libs that were provided by Penguin. Here are some in the bathroom:

In the next (and last) post, I’ll wrap up my thoughts on BEA and share some writing contests!

Other BEA 2013 Posts: Part 1 | Part 3

Priscilla Shay recently wrote a blog post titled “Are You a Book Murderer?” and I have to answer truthfully:

Yes. I am.

I crinkle pages. I crack spines. I dog-ear covers. The e-reader revolution may have saved my print editions—if I hadn’t broken my Kindle.

And you thought you could read your BDSM erotica in public and get away with it.

Water damage is one of my (many) accomplices. I often have a water bottle in my purse, and when I don’t turn the cap fully closed, the books I’m reading suffer a swift death by drowning. Water spills and rain damage have made my mass market editions of A Song of Ice and Fire expand so much they can’t all fit into their gift box.

No books were harmed in the taking of this photograph.

Borrowing a book—which I hardly ever do—fills me with dread. I keep them in safe places, gently turn pages, and return them in the same condition I received them. I may be a book murderer, but not with the paper-bound treasures of others.

I also admire the people who can keep their books alive and well. One of my best friends has a bookshelf that looks like the “New Releases” section in Barnes and Noble. She never cracks her spines or stains her pages. In high school, I would sit next to her in class and marvel how her paper folders would look brand new… in June. Mine would usually be in two pieces by October.

And yet, I still have to defend book murderers like myself. While what we do is perceived as careless and destructive, it can also be a crime of passion. When I read a book, I’ll take it with me everywhere: to my commute, to meals, and to bed. I can be so lost in the language that I almost miss my subway stop and rush out of the train car, shoving the book in my purse and bending the front cover. I can be so engrossed in the story that I won’t notice a drop of spaghetti sauce falling from my fork and staining the page. I can be so absorbed in the characters that I stay up past my bedtime, falling asleep next to it and leaving a cracked spine to wake up to in the morning.

My books have been murdered, but they have also been joyfully, exuberantly, and lovingly read.


Full disclosure: Priscilla Shay is a dear friend of mine and a fabulous up-and-coming author. Check out her website and twitter. You know you want to.

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