Monday, January 28, 2013

Book Expo America 2013 Planning Tips

Right now, Book Expo America 2013 (aka BEA) seems a ways away.  However, I guarantee that very shortly that time will be upon us again.  I’ve been lucky enough to be able to attend Book Expo America the past two years and while I definitely don’t consider myself an expert on the subject I thought I’d take some time to share a few things that I’ve learned from my experiences.

Plan early!

Book Expo America is an expensive trip if you don’t live in NYC or the surrounding area.  If you are flying in from out of state, plan your trip early.  Hotels fill up fast for Book Expo America and flights are not cheap if you wait until the last minute.  Well, they aren’t really cheap if you buy them early either but they are cheaper!

Find some roomies!

Paying for a hotel room all on your own is not fun, especially in NYC.  Find some fellow bloggers/readers/authors that are going to Book Expo America and ask them to room with you.  It’s best if you know your roomies, even if only through email and chat.  Also, 4 people in a hotel room is best  if you’re looking to pay less.  It might be a little crowded but honestly, the only time you’re in your room is to sleep and shower.  Trust me.

Get a hotel close to the Javitz!

My first year at Book Expo America I stayed in Brooklyn and took the subway to the Javitz every morning.  It was not fun.  My second year at Book Expo America I stayed at a hotel that was located right across from the Javitz center.  It was so nice!  I didn’t have to get up super early every morning and I could take books back to my room throughout the day.  The best part though was that it was very centrally located so I could walk pretty much anywhere I needed to go which saved a lot of money.

Register early!

If you know, for certain, that you will be attending Book Expo America and you have the money handy, register.  Prices do go up as it gets closer to the show so it’s good to have this booked in advance.  Also, if you want to attend any of the paid events, they do sell out sometimes.

Book Expo America registration does get a little confusing sometimes so bloggers, here’s a great post with some information about what category you fit into.

Create a budget!

Plane tickets, hotel rooms, and registration can be paid for early but you don’t want to run out of money for other things while you are in NYC.  Remember that you will have to mail books home.  I’d recommend setting aside about $85 dollars for this.  That also includes money for packaging.  Personally, I shipped priority mail from the post office and it was about $85 total but my books actually made it home before I did.  It was worth it because media mail tends to get lost and beat up.  Other than postage just remember that you will need to eat (if you eat at the Javitz, it’s expensive), there will be things you want to buy (souvenirs, etc.), and there might be events where you want to buy something (such as book signings.)  To be honest, I probably spent $500 (including postage) while I was in NYC.

Like I said, I’m certainly no expert on this topic but if you have questions feel free to leave them in the comments or email me!

16 Comments

  1. Jennifer

    Wear comfortable shoes, plan your schedule early, bring a suitcase for books so you’re not carrying a ridiculously heavy bag all day. Plan ahead in ALL aspects because if it’s your first time you WILL be overwhelmed. I’ve gone since the early 2000s and I always am amazed at how much people take and don’t need. Just get the stuff you want and try to enjoy it because it goes really, really fast.

  2. Cindy's Love of Books

    It seems like BEA is so far away but it will be here before we know it. The only way I can afford to go to BEA is with roomies. Which I will be looking for again this year..if anyone is interested please let me know.

    Jennifer’s comments are great tips as well. The first year I went it was hard because people who shove things at you and you would walk away with a ton of stuff you didn’t want or need but last year I was really good and said no to alot of things.

  3. Candace

    Well, as you already know (from your recent experience) comfort is more important than style, so wear comfy shoes!
    I agree with the hotel thing, trying to get one close. I haven’t been to BEA but at ALA I know I wouldn’t have been able to haul my books on a bus and it worked best when I had my car at the convention center cause I could keep unloading them in the car. I did both ways, one day I was dropped off, and the next I drove. I should have drove the first day cause it was a NIGHTMARE carrying 7 bags of books even just a block to where I was being picked up. Obviously if you just ship the books as you get them that’s not a problem, but I would want to have all my books and see what I have before I’m shipping them off. It’s so easy to forget what you’ve even gotten when there’s multiple days.
    I SO wish I could go to BEA, but ALA was probably enough for me! And it was pretty low key feeling, I never felt stressed or rushed or anything.
    It was AWESOME meeting you!

  4. Becca Bee

    I would so love to go to this, but New York is pretty far from where I live. Thanks for the tips, though. I’ll be sure to use them if I ever make it on my dream vacation to BEA. ;)

  5. Jill Marie

    Thanks for this!
    This year will be my first time at BEA and in NYC! I’m so excited.
    I have everything booked already and since I’ll be an exhibitor along with the gals from Spencer Hill Press a lot of my planning stress has been lifted.
    Although, I have 3 people coming with me (we live in California!)
    Are we really going to have to ship books?
    Do you think just checking an extra suitcase at the airport would be better?
    Shipping cost from NYC to San Diego is going to be a lot…
    Thanks!

    • Melissa Buell

      Hi Jill,
      Answering your shipping question – I also live in CA and I shipped home my books. I ended up sending 1 huge box and 2 smaller boxes of books home, using Media Mail b/c it’s cheaper. I was able to get a lot of books b/c I knew I didn’t have to squeeze them into my little suitcase. I could have taken an extra suitcase, but the airlines I flew on charged $50 for an extra bag. The mailing cost was less than that. :)

  6. Hannah

    It does seem like BEA is a long way off, and to an extent it is. But now is the time to decide whether or not you’re going so you can make a plan and budget. It’s hard to decide mid-March you want to go and come up with all the money at once.

    This is a seriously great post. I had SO much fun last year, but I honestly thought last year would be my only time going and now I’m going back this year, too. It’s so much fun, and I cannot wait.

  7. Christina Kit.

    Your tip about staying in a hotel close to the event is really helpful, and not just for this event but any kind of event. I’d have stayed in Brooklyn too as it would be cheaper and there’s public transportation, but I’ve heard from lots of people that what you save isn’t worth it, that it’s best to splurge on a hotel that’s closer. At least that way you focus on the event!

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