As opposed to the people who had a fun time, Tom Spurgeon says NYCC 08 was “bland and pointless, the kind of event that calls into question the entire enterprise more than it makes a case for the ascendancy of a shining new example.”:
Trying to limit my time at the show to better enjoy New York forced me to make a concerted attempt to get what work I can do at a con out of the way rather than have work come to me at its own pace as I might in San Diego or at a Small Press Expo. Working the show rather than hanging out at one, I found a surprising number of booth workers and company employees to be outright unhelpful when it came to doing rudimentary things that is so easy to get people from other industries to do for you at their trade shows. You know, little things like talk to you, recognize you’re standing there, solicit a question, perhaps even agree to do something reasonable when you ask for it rather than send you to someone else. I was snubbed for photos by roughly a half-dozen professionals that chose to continue personal conversations (in a public space, badges not flipped) rather than take 10 seconds to help me cover them. I can recall three publisher representatives to whom I spoke that whiffed on basic questions like what might be coming out the next season. One benign request for help with a photo led to shrugged shoulders and a request to ask someone “in charge,” but no indication as to who that might be. I visited dozens of booths; I was welcomed and asked if I could be helped at exactly three of them. Two exhibitors picked at the legitimacy of this publication before deciding to answer rudimentary queries about future books, or, really, listen to me at all. It was a long day.
We won’t argue that perhaps there are horrible, negative undercurrents at the show that bespeak an industry in decline, but there is one message that screams out from this: People, please be nicer to Tom Spurgeon!