Conference Etiquette for Book Bloggers!

Posted February 4, 2013 by Kaitlynn in discussion / 29 Comments

Recently I had the chance to attend yet another wonderful book conference, this one being ALA’s (American Library Association) Midwinter conference.  This is my 5th time attending a book conference and while most of the people I met and interacted with were wonderful, I was kind of ashamed to be associated with some of the book bloggers that attended.  I know that there is always a chance of ALA being cut off to bloggers in the future and I sincerely hope that doesn’t happen.  If bloggers continue to act embarassing, I do see it happening.  I truly don’t mean to be mean but these are my etiquette tips for bloggers attending ANY conference.

Only take 1 copy of a book!

You would think this would be common sense.  Really, you would.  Nobody needs more than one copy of a book.  If you get a book at the conference and then later receive another copy from the publisher, that’s a different story.  However, grabbing multiple copies of books at a conference for giveaways or friends is not okay.  I understand you feel bad that a friend can’t attend a conference but it happens a lot.  If they are a book blogger they are perfectly capable of emailing the publisher and asking for a copy.  Or, novel approach, they can wait for the book to come out.  There is no reason someone at a conference shouldn’t get a copy of a book because someone grabbed a copy for someone who couldn’t attend.  They paid to be there so they should be the ones getting the books, not your friends.  As for giveaways, that is beyond bad behavior.  Nobody should ever have ALA/BEA/etc. giveaways (unless you have read the books).  The books you get are for you, not to giveaway on your blog to increase your stats and followers.  That’s not okay.

Only take books that you actually want!

Truly this is harder said than done because sometimes the publishers don’t really give you a choice and just shove books in your hand.  I’ve had this happen.  However, there’s an easy way to remedy this.  I always take the time to go through the books I got and if I ended up with ones I didn’t want or multiple copies of one, I take them back to the exhibit hall and I set them on a table or chair somewhere.  People always take them and I don’t have to feel guilty about getting books that I won’t read.

Don’t post pictures, videos, etc. of your haul!

I get that you want to share info about all the books with other bloggers and readers but in this case it doesn’t really reflect well upon you.  (I know I’ve done this in the past but I learned my lesson!)  If you want to share pictures with your close friends, email the pictures to them.    If you want to share with all your blog readers, maybe pick your top ten or something like that.  Conference hauls are a huge reason for jealousy in the blogging community and I know none of us want to add to that.  You really don’t even need to post numbers.  Never say something like “I got this many books!”  It just doesn’t go over well with anyone.

Dress nicely!

It sucks when your whole body hurts from carrying books and walking but it’s only for a little while and the pain will go away.  Work through it and dress nicely.  Go ahead and wear tennis shoes or Toms or whatever but try and look at least a little professional.  You don’t have to go all out in dresses and stuff but at least wear nice jeans and something other than a t-shirt.  Remember that you are representing your blog.  Think about that when you plan your wardrobe.  

Walk, don’t run!

Really, people?  You are supposed to be professional at these conferences!  Running when you hear that a publisher has put out a book is not professional at all.  I get that publishers run out of books but it happens very rarely.  They tend to always have extras held back and if you miss the drop, you can ask for the book and they will usually give it to you.  It’s not only ridiculous to be running in a conference, but it’s also dangerous.  Be smart, be professional, and be safe.  If you don’t get the book, like I said earlier, you can email the publisher or just wait a few months for the release.

Do not shove!

Sometimes the publisher booths get really crowded and you can’t reach the books.  Do not shove people out of your way to get to them.  Ask someone at the front to hand you a copy.  Everyone is super nice and I highly doubt they will tell you no.  Once again, don’t risk injury (yours or someone elses) just for a book.

Say please and thank you!

By the end of the conference you can really tell that the publishers are tired.  It only takes a couple extra seconds to say please when you ask for a book and to tell them thank you for being there and being so awesome.  It goes a long way.

These tips really are just common sense to most people.  I know a lot of people get caught up in the excitement and madness of conferences but just behave yourselves.  Always keep in mind that you are representing your blog and just think before you act.

Also, if you have any tips of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Edit: Since so many people have commented about the book hauls point, I want to clarify.  For BEA, I see no reason not to post book hauls.  Bloggers are industry professionals at BEA and we are very welcome there.  However, for ALA it’s different.  The purpose of ALA isn’t for bloggers to get new books to read and review.  ALA is for librarians and us bloggers are lucky enough to get to go.  I feel that in the case of ALA, it’s better to showcase the books in some other way rather than a haul video or post.  Maybe this is just me but after the drama of last year’s ALA, I don’t want to see any more of that between bloggers and librarians.  If that means having to change the way I do things (because I did do an ALA haul in the past), then I’m willing to do that.  In this one case, I just recommend using your best judgement.

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29 responses to “Conference Etiquette for Book Bloggers!

  1. Katie what a great post filled with great advice. This is always a great reminder for bloggers who have attended conferences in the past and to newbies attending. I think you covered it all.

    Oh one more piece of advice since there usually isn’t alot of space in the aisle (between publishers) please don’t stop suddenly to talk to someone you know and hog the aisle more over to the side or out of the way to talk etc

    I think one of my all time pet peeves is seeing bloggers grabbing two or more copies for friends who couldn’t attend or for give aways. That is just wrong and it makes me mad especially when they see the number of people who are looking for that book.

    • Cindy, I totally forgot about the aisle hogging. That’s such a pet peeve of mine since it does get so crowded. Thanks for mentioning it!

  2. I agree with all of these except posting pictures of your hauls. I’ve been discussing this with a lot of bloggers this week and we miss seeing all the ALA hauls we saw last year. There is no reason why someone can’t follow proper etiquette at the conference and share their haul. After all, it helps promote the books. I never get jealous of hauls. I realize some do but it’s very easy to click the ‘x’ in the top right corner and go on with your day. I like to see the books and I think many of us do. I thing bloggers were afraid to post them because of what happened last year. Those girls went overboard but I saw plenty of hauls that were classy and well done over the years. I’m going to BEA and I intend to share my haul with my followers. I paid to go and I know they are going to want to see it. I might not share every SINGLE book but I will share most. That’s what’s going to have more bloggers going to these conferences in the future. If someone thinks I am rude for that, so be it.

    Otherwise, I completely agree with your advice. And I think it is wonderful and needs to be followed by everyone.

    • I’m with Kara. Most of this is very good advice, particularly taking multiple copies and shoving. Some bumping is unavoidable just because it’s so busy and everyone’s like three feet wider than usual because of tote bags, but those people that would purposely shove me are the worst.

      So far as showing the book haul afterwards goes, I really think it’s a shame that librarians are trying to keep bloggers out by using the “bragging” as an excuse. If librarians don’t want bloggers at the conference, fine.

      The review copies are there as promotional tools. Is it really better for people to take 300 books away from ALA or BEA (which I’ve never done, but I’ve seen people do that) and never post anything about them? At least if they post about their haul, whether they’re bragging rudely or not, they at least are doing a bit of promotion for the books.

      There is a case, I think, for doing better informed book hauls after a conference. Giving each book a bit more of a focus than they sometimes get, but hiding the ARCs like they’re shameful really seems like a step in the wrong direction. This won’t make people take less; it just means they’ll not promote most of them at all.

    • I guess my point with book hauls is that they aren’t always the most effective way to showcase books from conferences because most of the time there are just too many books. I know a lot of people don’t want to watch a vlog that’s over 5 or 10 minutes long. And I know it’s not bragging but a lot of the time it comes off that way. (And I’m saying this because I have done them in the past.) I wish they didn’t cause drama because I love doing them. That point is honestly just my suggestion though. Like I said, it’s up to everyone to use their best judgement and decide what they want to post. =)

  3. Great post! I think you really covered it all. My experience at BEA last year was really great but I did see a couple of these things happen unfortunately. I would think that something like don’t shove or run for a book is common sense but I felt really bad for some publishers at the booths a few times when things got crazy.

    • I totally know what you mean. You wouldn’t expect to see some of these things at professional conferences but some people do act this way.

  4. oh wow.. that is very embarrassing…. running? shoving? taking more than you need? I just don’t get why people don’t feel the need to act politely and professionally in such environments. This post is great and I hope that people who did some of these things unconsciously (usually from over excitement) they would be careful next time.

    I am planning on attending BEA and I would love for a discussion post on what is a day at BEA. what do you do when you arrive? do you just check out books first and ask publishers directly for books or is there a sign that says you can ask or not? also, when do authors sign books? or do you need a special pass for that? That would be a great post for potential first timers!

    great post as usual Katie!

    – Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  5. The only thing I don’t agree with is the bragging part. I’m from Europe, so I can’t exactly afford to go to every big book conference in the USA. So I want to see what goodies others got. I might get a little jealous, yes, cause I’m human, but I get happy for the blogger that got them. And this is kinda true for every In My Mailbox/Stacking the Shelves meme out there. Because if you talk about books you bought, then ok, fine, if I save money, I can buy the same books. But the USA/Canadian bloggers sometimes get their hands on some very awesome ARCs that internationals don’t. So it would be the same thing. I’m happy that someone has them.

    But yes, dress nicely and definitely only get one copy. Why get more, it’s kinda rude.

  6. Wonderful Post!!! And at the same time, it’s so sad that there is a need for such a post!
    I agree truly with everything apart from the image postings. I know it might inflict jealousy, but then, each week every IMM/or “whatever it is called now” does the very same. Then, we must stay away from all such posts. Actually, I would love to see what exciitng books you get and be happy with you. Not everyone is jealous. There are also people who are happy for others when they get amazing books:))

    Other than this.. I hope some poeple take this piece of advice..
    Oh and “thank you” and “please” do help wonders right? 🙂

  7. I’ve never been to a conference before (or any book-related event, really), but I mean to get around to it eventually. At times, I’ve been kind of thrown off because I’m not sure how welcome I’d be, as a book blogger, since some of us have given such a bad rep to the others.

    Like other have said, though, I do think that as long as a book haul post is tastefully done, there’s no reason not to make a vlog/post. Bragging is one thing, but saying “hey, look at these new titles coming up, maybe you’d want to check some out, too?” is fine by me. After all, ARCs are for publicity purposes.

    Anyway, great post, Katie! I’ll be sure to keep your tips in mind for my eventual trip to a conference.

  8. Like Renae, I’ve never been to a conference before (planning to go to one later this year though). It’s kind of depressing that these common sense tips are needed… Is it because blogging is more or less sitting in front of a computer thing and it somehow doesn’t seem like we need to follow rules we would (hopefully) follow in our lives elsewhere? *sigh*

    Anyway, thanks for the great post, Katie!

    • I truly think a lot of people just get caught up in the excitement. I’ve seen it happen a lot and it’s almost like some people don’t even realize they’re doing something they shouldn’t. It’s crazy.

  9. Great post! It’s so good to see these things pointed out, as I’m finding common sense is no longer so ‘common’ these days. I agree, sometimes, people do get caught up in the excitement, and a type of crowd mentality takes over.

    The ALAMW was a lovely event though.

  10. All extremely great pieces of advice! It’s kind of a dream of mine to go to BEA someday, probably not this year since my blog is still small but next year is defiantly what I’m aiming for. I was wondering do you need to be a certain age to go?

  11. It’s awful that people would act like that! I feel like each blogger on there own are great people but shoved together at one place where they all want a lot of the same books just makes some people act wild. I mean every blogger at ALA is passionate about books. And to be given the opportunity to get review copies makes people jump at the chance. I guess there are a couple people at ALA who set a bad example which just make there actions spread and more people copied them. That’s why people like you need to set a good example and let librarians know not all bloggers are there to get free books. Also, I think the competitiveness of the blogging world adds to that because the more ARCs a person reviews/ gives away (like you said) the more followers/stats they get.

  12. Wow… definitely sad that what should be proper etiquette isn’t observed. But can I say something as a reader and not a blogger? (I don’t have a blog but I read a lot of them 🙂 ) Maybe among bloggers it is fun and exciting to share what you got but for us non bloggers who can’t and/or don’t go to these conferences, showing off your “haul” does come across as “bragging”. I mean, really, how in the world could you possible read and review all of those books? And correct me if I”m wrong, but I thought the purpose of the ARCs is to get buzz going *before* the book is released. Most of the time, I find that bloggers who show off stacks and stacks of books in their “weekly haul” posts hardly ever get reviews up before the books are released. So doesn’t that defeat the purpose other than just a way to score free books? I don’t mean to sound like bitter apples here but the “hauls” get a bit ridiculous in my opinion. But even after saying that, I do deeply respect and enjoy the book blogs. I’ve found a lot of new authors and books b/c of them and I will base my buying off of these same reviews. So please don’t take this as harshly as it sounds.

  13. This is a great post! And I know which people you’re talking about. It was embarrassing sitting anywhere near them.
    I ended up with one double copy one time because I kept hauling my books out to my car so wasn’t able to check. I honestly thought I didn’t have it yet. It’s all good cause they had LOADS of that particular book and there was no rush for people to get it. I sent it on to another blogger who loves that author.
    Then on Sunday right before closing I got two copies of a book but I asked them about it and she said to take as many as I want as they were at the point of just wanting to get rid of them (it was third in a series so less people wanted it) and that was for a particular person and I even told the publicist and stuff. I didn’t grab anything for giveaway of course but I do have one for giveaway because I tried to read it and it was too scary for me.
    I didn’t post a book haul post and I stopped IMM over a year ago because I got tired of being asked how and why I got so many books (when most were actually borrowed). I did want to share with people but didn’t want to come across as bragging so never really even considered it. I did post some pictures on instagram but didn’t tweet them and only posted on my personal facebook. I have been thinking of doing something to spotlight the books I got (other than the reviews I’m doing).
    It is easy to accidentally knock into things (especially with a backpack) but saying sorry and excuse me works fine. But the running is just horrible. I didn’t run at all and didn’t even ever really rush to anywhere. I was a pretty relaxed person, I think. I may have done the rounds but wasn’t really stalking booths to where I just stood and waited for new things to be put out. And I did ask about books but always tried to remember to say please and thank you. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and if I were to do a do-over I would be even more generous with the thank you’s. I think I said it every time they gave me a book, but still…

    Anyway, hopefully some of those with bad behavior will try to be a bit more considerate in the future.

    Oh, and at lunch Saturday Sara and I sat with librarians and we had a great conversation! I had this fear that all the librarians would hate me since I’m a book blogger but that definitely wasn’t the case.

  14. Great post. I go to BEA and encountered all of the above. And I totally agree with the comment about the aisle hogs. I also don’t appreciate people bringing rollies and baby carriages when they are not allowed. I wish I had a dollar for everytime my foot was run over.

  15. Christina Kit.

    Never realized people took multiple copies of books! That’s so awful!! And when there aren’t unlimited supplies, it’s so unfair to others who wait in line and just take one!

    Never new book hauls were a source of contention – good tip about focusing on the ones you’re excited for!

    • Christina Kit.

      Sorry! Never KNEW – and I agree with your addendum about that applying to ALA which is for librarians and educators

  16. Beth

    Great post Katie! As a librarian, I also get embarrassed by the behavior of some of my colleagues at these conferences too. I come away with a ton of books and I just walk the hall calmly, finding books that seem interesting and would want to review and promote. It’s a big deal to use manners like please and thank you and smiling at those in the vendor booths…its a long few days for them.

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