Do booksellers go junketeering? Of course we do -- when our schedules and funds allow for it. And for many US booksellers the Big Junket of the Year starts today in New York City: BookExpo America. Formerly known as the ABA (American Booksellers Association) Convention, this annual gathering is a time for booksellers from throughout the nation to network, exchange ideas, attend seminars, meet with publishers, attend parties and file into huge ballrooms to attend the Book & Author Breakfasts where eloquent and witty Famous Authors try to keep convention goers awake until the servers manage to get coffee to their tables.
Actually BEA is quite an event that everyone in this business should probably attend at least once. Personally speaking, although there's lots of glitz and excitement, I found it hard to get any actual work done; but maybe that's what defines it as a junket.
For those of us who are either glad or disappointed not to be there -- and for booklovers in general -- C-Span's Book TV channel is coming to the rescue this weekend. Book TV will be present for many of the events including the above mentioned breakfasts, where the speakers will include Pat Conroy, Tracy Kidder, Richard Russo and Pete Dexter. The schedule can be found at Book TV's website, although, as always with C-Span, it's subject to change.
So I can attend the Book and Author Breakfasts, and have my own coffee available before it even begins. Neat!
UPDATE: It now appears that Pat Conroy will not be attending BEA. His doctor has recommended that Conroy not travel, following "unexpected surgery."