When: June 3-5, 2005

Where: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, NY.

Hailed as the largest book publishing event in the United States. From the BEA website:

BookExpo America is the only industry event where you can experience the entire scope of book publishing from the U.S. and the world — all in one place, all at one time.

BookExpo America is the event for Book Industry Professionals from across the U.S. and the World. Booksellers, Retailers, Librarians, Educators, Rights Professionals, International Publishing Executives, Publishers and anyone involved in the wonderful, exciting world of books. BookExpo America — where books matter!

Eldon had the following to say about his first time at BEA:

“What a madhouse! I was told by a veteran of this expo that if I had attended Comic-Con, then I had nothing to fear from BEA. Ordinarily, perhaps. But with the event being held this year in the center of the publishing world, she may have underestimated things. Had I not seen it for myself, I’d never have imagined it possible to shove so many people into so tight a space—and that convention center wasn’t small! By day two, I’d had just about as much jostling as I could handle without wishing I could turn the place into a full-fledged mosh pit. Given that the crowd was comprised mostly of industry professionals and mild-mannered librarians, I didn’t figure that would be too wise. So I accepted the punishment of the throngs as best I could and tried to enjoy myself.

With all the free books one can imagine, this was pretty easily done. Still, I didn’t want to tote the things around all day; nor did I want to make a pig of myself. So I settled mostly for picking up books that I thought might make good gifts for friends, and thus left with just a few volumes.

The highlight of any such event, of course, is the people you get to meet. On the plane from L.A. was a woman who handles literary rights for the intellectual properties of NBC and Universal Pictures—fun conversation there. (Unfortunately, her name, like most, escapes me now, weeks later.) In addition to catching up with a few longtime writer friends, I had a great time getting to know Mike Macauley of the amazing Shurtugal.com. Thanks to Mike holding for me a place in line, I was also able to say hello to Christopher Paolini of Eragon fame, and take home a signed ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy) of Book 2 in the Inheritance trilogy, Eldest.

Other highlights included time spent with Bob Salvatore, legendary author of the Dark Elf series for Forgotten Realms, the Demon Wars saga, and others. Bob’s a great guy to hang out with, regardless of venue. I also got to meet the renowned George R. R. Martin and his brave editor, who were happy to announce the recent completion of the eagerly awaited A Feast for Crows. Oh, and I met quite a few nice folks while waiting in line to receive a signed copy of Inkspell from the delightful Cornelia Funke.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I did not thank the good folks at HarperCollins for allowing me to attend this event, and especially my editor, Diana Gill, for a wonderful lunch and the time taken out of a hectic schedule to meet with me. Also, a great big thanks to my good friends Damian and Teah Laviolette, who were good enough to ride the train up from D.C. so that I did not have to tackle the New York nightlife on my own.

All in all, it was a learning experience, and a person can never have too many of those. With any luck, I’ll get to do it again next year. And hopefully, I’ll decide to bring a camera, since photos would have been much more interesting to look at than this meaningless train of random thoughts.”