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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Book Expo America 2013 - Power Reader Reflections

So, Power Readers. I know I didn’t really say much about them. So let me take a few moments to chat about the program. I have now been on both sides, so I am really going to try to remain impartial. Last year, I had only been blogging for three months by the time BEA rolled around. I really couldn’t afford to take the time off from work either. When I looked at the stats required to get in to BEA as a blogger, I knew they would not accept my registration. I felt the only option I had to be able to attend was the Power Reader program. Of course, that meant I could only go in for Saturday.

Paula Poundstone used to do this skit were she was an employee of an airline and she was announcing all the cool stuff out the window, but it was always out the right side of the plane. She would go so far as to say they were purposely flying the plane so the people on the left couldn’t see. The people on the left ruin everything. The people on the right are the best people. Well, I kind of felt like that a bit last year. It seemed like all the really cool stuff happened Thursday and Friday and by the time Saturday rolled around there were not as many activities planned.

Don’t get me wrong. I got a bunch of cool books and I got to meet other bloggers, as well as the authors and such. But the Power Reader as a program seemed to be a Fail. There was supposedly a lot of exclusives for the Power Readers that I didn’t know about last year and I found very few things for Power Readers, but I suppose I could attribute that to not knowing where to look for things. I did not have the inside scoop. My finger was not on the pulse of the Expo.

This year, it did seem like they had the program much more together. The had a Power Reader lounge which looked pretty awesome. There were actually chairs to sit down in and they had a popcorn machine running and it looked like coffee/tea available. It was all free to the Power Readers. In the daily newspaper for the show there were adds and in the Expo program, there was an entire section of programs all happening on Saturday and some things were only available to Power Readers. For instance, there was one booth that had a “Spin the Wheel” game only for Power Readers. There were still some big name authors scheduled on Saturday; for example: Neil Gaiman, Diana Gabaldon, Jim Gaffigan, Harlequin had their Teen hour again. Saturday was also the Star Wars Reads Day Celebration.

They got the word out and they did a lot more advertising to tell people where the stuff for Power Readers could be found. When I saw Neil in the morning, a lot of people were Power Reader’s. They seemed to be a lot of the same places as me. I guess that makes sense. I am, after all, a geek.

It was disappointing, though, that a lot of booths started closing up early and there were some booths that didn’t open at all, like the Mystery Writer’s booth. Was it because of the Power Reader’s? I think the perception was that they were going to swarm the place like ants on an ant hill. Some of the rumors I heard also suggested that some of the publishers might have thought the Power Readers would be ill behaved. I saw none of that behavior exhibited.

I am a bit miffed regarding the logic of the Power Reader program. Is it to increase readership? If so, I think the Power readers are all pretty well read. One gentleman I was speaking with couldn’t understand why there was a Power Reader program in the first place. Since they are not in the industry, this gentleman thought they didn’t belong. This opinion does in no way reflect the opinion of this blogger.

So whichever side of the argument you reside on, it cannot be denied that the program was vastly approved over last year. And for those of you in the area wanting to attend BEA, if you can’t get off Thursday and Friday from work, you might want to try that Power reader option. I can only imagine it will be much better in 2014.


  1. A shame you were a bit disappointed but I suppose as they say things can only get better.

    1. I wasn't so much disappointed for me as I was for the Power Readers. Since I got in on the Power Reader program, I know I was disappointed that booths like Harlequin had nothing to give away on the last day. And it didn't seem like as much was going on, because it wasn't. It's a great idea to give avid readers a glimpse into the book industry world, but there should be more going on for them to see.

  2. It sounds like they did a better job with the Power Reader Program this year, so next year should be even better! I wonder what that gentleman you spoke with thinks of book bloggers, as I know there is still a faction that thinks we don't belong at BEA either. :(

    1. He said that he understood a need for book bloggers and the advertising and interest they can generate for books and authors, but he just didn't think there was a place for the Power Readers.
      I felt that a lot of people supported the blogging community, but there are always nay sayers.