As mentioned previously, we were at BookExpo America all day Wednesday, and will be there all day Thursday. The show is much smaller than in recent years — the children’s book section which once took up the entire bottom part of the Javits is now just a corner of the main floor. The Diamond alley of comics publishers seems smaller this year, as well, although Dark Horse, Image, Dynamite, IDW and Marvel are all set up, along with a few others.

By contrast, Fantagraphics was set up in the Norton Booth right at the front of the hall and was practically the first thing you saw as you walked in. They are giving away galleys of Moto Hagio’s HERE COMES THE SON and Joyce Farmer’s SPECIAL EXITS, which we have and have flipped through, but haven’t had time to read yet. Something to look forward to in life, thank God! Fanta assoc. publisher Eric Reynolds explained that he felt that this year it was more effective to pay for more galleys to give away than to have an author appearance, and given the alacrity with which people roaming the floor scoop up those galleys, it might be a good idea.

Marvel was set up in the Diamond aisle, despite plans to switch over to Hachette in the fall. Marvel had one of the biggest booths but the smallest presence, with a lone employee manning the booth, who explained that given the switchover, they were keeping a low profile this year. In other Marvel news, it was announced that Disney will take over Marvel’s kids’ licensing program:

Disney said it will create new content and work with licensees to bring Marvel’s brands and characters into a range of formats for worldwide distribution. Upcoming Marvel programs will focus on the feature films Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011, as well as classic characters such as Spider-Man and Iron Man and multicharacter brands such as Marvel Heroes and Super Hero Squad.

GIven Disney’s status as the world’s biggest licensed publisher, it’s a smart movie.

Last year, David Small’s STITCHES and Crumb’s GENESIS were two of the buzz books of the entire show, but on the whole, the graphic novel presence is more subdued but still everywhere this year. Zenescope is doing a major push for their line of licensed and fairy-tale inspired books. Several educational publishers, like Rosen, have big displays of their graphic novels for younger readers. We haven’t seen the entire floor yet so we’ll have more later.

Overal,l it’s a pretty subdued show, what with so many huge publishers having reduced presence. And in the comics corner, a kind of unease seems to have descended. With the Great Manga Correction now underway — and some more adjustments coming — there’s a sense of change in the air, and not the voluntary kind. It isn’t the comics themselves, it’s just the business model.

I’ll be discussing all this and more at the ungodly hour of 9:30 tomorrow with Calvin Reid, Rich Johnson, Judy Hanson, Mike Martens, and Carol FItzgerald. Stop by if you are around.

To be continued.


  1. I grabbed a galley for SPECIAL EXITS too, in fact one of the only gallies I grabbed in my one day at the show (yesterday). But although show wasn’t as big as previous years, it seemed pretty busy and buzzing with talk of e-books, etc. Saw lots of iPads at the show.

  2. Is there any reason why the BEA couldn’t be more like the LA TIMES Festival of Books, open to the general public?

    REED Exhibitions should send out a delegation at the next one to see how it’s being done here at the West Coast…

  3. Marvel has always had a subdued presence since 2002, when BEA started their GN push. They have author signings, but those authors sign comics, not trades. They also left early on Thursday, around Noon.

    I missed the Fantagraphics galleys (oh well… still happy to see their catalog!) but hit the autograph tables at 3:30. DC pop-up, To Teach, lots of good stuff and lots of lines.

    Spanish, Italian, and French pavillions all had GN titles on display. Cinebook approaches 25 Lucky Luke volumes and has two movie tie-ins, and increasing sales. Big surprise: 2000 AD has S&S distribution (more Moore to sell!) and Campfire has Random House distro.

    Oh, and Abrams had a giant Batman typewriter on display!

  4. “Is there any reason why the BEA couldn’t be more like the LA TIMES Festival of Books, open to the general public?

    REED Exhibitions should send out a delegation at the next one to see how it’s being done here at the West Coast…”

    There have from time to time been conversations about adding a consumer element to BEA, or having BEA more prominently promote other open-to-the-general public events (in fact, BEA did go out of their way to create and promote a bunch of consumer book programming over this week this year: http://bit.ly/a4nxfb )

    That said, Book Expo America is, at heart, a trade show. That’s what its exhibitors and attendees want it to be, and the reason the core show is not more open to the public is because its exhibitors and attendees kinda don’t neer or want it to be.

    That doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be more open-to-the-public book events and ceratinly, things like the Brooklyn Book Festival, though not on a scale of the LA Times Festival of Books or the Miami Book Fair, do happily exist.

    And that doesn’t mean that there might be some way to add a modest public component to BEA itself–if attendees and exhibitors are OK with the idea.

    But the essence of the Book Expo America is as a trade show and I don’t foresee that changing to such a degree as to open the show, as it is constituted now, to the general public. After all, I personally may be interested in getting a new vaccuum cleaner, but I understand that that interest may not convince the Vaccuum Dealers Trade Association that I should be among the attendees of their trade show…

  5. Heidi. We must have not attended the same trade show. This was our busiest & most productive BEA yet, but I guess it’s more interesting to play up the doom & gloom media story. Cheers.