Sunday, May 5, 2013

Book Expo America Tips and Tricks!

It’s almost that time again!  BEA is just around the corner and if you haven’t already seen all the posts about it, well, where have you been?  This will be my third year attending the conference so while I don’t consider myself an expert, I do feel like I have some knowledge to share with you guys.  Here are my personal tips and tricks for surviving BEA!
Pack a variety of clothes!

The weather in NYC is very fickle.  One moment it will be hot and sunny and five minutes later you’ll be freezing your butt off in the rain.  Pack for any type of weather!  This is also helpful because the Javitz Center is also really hard to predict.  Some days you’ll be cold, other days you’ll be sweating.  Just be prepared for anything.

Clothes I’d suggest:
  • A light cardigan
  • At least one pair of sandals
  • At least one pair of tennis shoes
  • Some form of rain gear (boots, jacket, umbrella, whatever works for you)
  • At least one pair of pants 
  • At least one pair of shorts/skirt/dress
Bring food!

Yes, you’re in NYC and there are tons of food options but that’s outside the conference center.  If you don’t plan to leave the Javitz for lunch, bring something to eat because you don’t want to pay the ridiculous amount of money they want for a salad or burger.  I packed snacks in my suitcase from home and just brought those with me to the Javitz.  I also brought a bottle for water.  It saved me a lot of money since I think I ate in the food court just once.

Check your bag!

There is the option to check a bag at the Javitz Center and I highly recommend doing that.  It costs $2 or $3 and  you can go back to your bag throughout the day and drop off your books.  It’s completely safe (I’ve never had anything stolen from my bag) and it saves your shoulders a lot of pain.  I have a rolling bag (pictured below) which I use (it can be purchased at TJ Maxx for $19.99) and it holds pretty much all the books I get in a day at BEA.

Share transportation!

If you know someone who is going to the same location as you, share a cab.  If you know more than one person going to the same place, even better.  Cab fares add up so try not to take a cab if you don’t have to but if you do have to, don’t go alone.  (It’s also kind of creepy to take a cab by yourself but maybe that’s just me.)

Ship from the post office!

Try not to ship your books from the Javitz center unless you absolutely have to.  There is a post office only a few blocks from the Javitz and it’s a lot cheaper to ship from there.  You can ship media mail and you can buy all your supplies right there at the post office.  

Have a schedule!

There is so much stuff to do, both in NYC and at BEA, that you really need to have things planned out in advance.  Plan things ahead of time so you know exactly what you will have time for.  The BEA website has an awesome show planner which allows you to plan all the signings you want to go to.  It’s really crazy trying to get from signing to signing but it’s easier if you have a schedule and know where you need to be and at what time.  Also, don’t forget to give yourself time to eat! If you’re planning something outside the Javitz, don’t forget to include travel time!
I know I haven’t managed to cover everything in this post but feel free to leave questions in the comments and I’ll reply to them there!  
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    • Emily

      I agree! I can’t go to BEA, but I might be going to ALA, and I’d love to see some tips for the latter. This is great advice for BEA, though, and I’ll definitely keep it in mind if I ever get to go.

  1. Aneeqah

    I’m actually going to New York for Memorial Day weekend, but I’m leaving the Tuesday right before BEA starts, so I’m unfortunately not going to be able to go. =( But this seems like a fantastic guide for any convention, really. Bringing snacks is such a great idea, as I remember going to ALA and really wanting some food and not wanting to pay expensive bucks for it, haha. Also, having a schedule is also a really fantastic idea as well! It keeps everything organized for you so you’re not completely frazzled. 😉

    Lovely guide, Katie, and I hope you have fun at BEA! <3

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  2. Cindy's Love of Books

    Great tips and I love reading everyone’s post aboout BEA related stuff. This will be my third and final year to attend which is kind of sad but I am okay with it.

    I did notice that afternoons in the Javitis warmed up and the mornings cooler.

  3. Alexia561

    If you don’t want to carry snacks with you, there are usually hot dog carts out front that are pretty reasonable. And they sell other things besides hot dogs too. Can’t make it this year, but hoping I can in 2014! Have fun!

  4. Christina Kit.

    I think your tips here are valid for any kind of similar event, whether it’s a conference, exploring for the day or anything that will require endurance.

    Great tips!

  5. Beth @ Fuelled by Fiction

    Great tips! Just a question–this is my first year attending BEA and I’m going to be staying in Brooklyn. I won’t be able to take a suitcase back to my place at the end of the day. Does the coat check do overnight? Is shipping from Javits convenient if you can’t lug stuff around the city with you at the end of the day?

    • Kaitlynn

      I do not believe the coat check is overnight. I think you have to take your stuff with you at the end of the day. Shipping from the Javits is convenient but it is a bit more expensive. There is a post office nearby though if you are willing to lug your suitcase that far.

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