Quirk Books Reminiscing about BookExpo
The Quirk Books team has attended BookExpo and BookCon for many years now, so when ReedPop announced the retiring of BookExpo and BookCon earlier this month, it'll come as no surprise we were sad to see it go. But, if 2020 has taught us anything it's that people are resilient and adaptable, and there will continue to be new and exciting opportunities to serve the book-loving community. We can't wait to see what Reed Exhibitions thinks up in the coming years.
For now, as a final farewell to America's largest book publishing trade show, the Quirk team would like to share a handful of their favorite memories of BookExpo and BookCon.
President and Publisher Brett Cohen's favorite BEA memories range from author events and parties to great meals with staff and crazy adventures in LA and Chicago. But two that immediately stand out involve celeb interactions—and, oddly, they both involve food. One year, Brett was walking with a sandwich back to the Quirk booth and was stopped by a curious woman, asking where he got his sandwich. It was Amber Joy Mariano (of Survivor fame). This was before she was married to Boston Rob…but as a fan of the show, Brett notes it was good to have a quick chat with her—even if it was about a trade show sandwich.
Another time, Brett was also making his way back to the Quirk booth, but this time with a cinnamon bun. The show was getting ready to open, and he was looking down while walking and eating. Always look where you're going because you may find yourself stopped by a Secret Service agent like Brett did. He had unintentionally walked into Vice President Al Gore's entourage. It was after he left office, but Brett looked up, and there was the back of Vice President Gore!
Unrelated, but still important, the best ARC Brett ever received was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
– – –
Junior Designer Molly Murphy keeps it simple and real, saying she'll never forget meeting R.L. Stine.
– – –
Production and Sales Manager Mandy Sampson's memories are booth-related, like being the only person in the booth for the first half hour of the first BookCon, where she was swarmed with teen girls and their moms. She also remembers how legit she felt when industry-folk saw Quirk's new fancy booth for the first time, and how fun Ransom Riggs' (author of the Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series) last Expo signing was—Mandy holding his book high in the air and seeing attendees drop what they were doing to hop in line.
– – –
An unexpected highlight of 2017 for Associate Sales Manager Kate Brown was meeting and getting a signed ARC by WCW/WWF/WWE performer Chris Jericho, especially because he liked her jacket—and if you know anything about Jericho, you know that man KNOWS jackets.
– – –
Publicist and Marketing Manager Kelsey Hoffman fondly remembers seeing friends, parties on boats, trolling for free snacks, and lining up for Coronas at the Elin Hildebrand signing at the end of every show, but some of her key favorite moments were the time Brett followed a pigeon around the Javits while waiting for their BookCon books to arrive, sake bombs at an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant downtown, and the 2016 cocktail party at the Violet Hour in Chicago (the cocktails were amazing!). That last memory was from her first ever BEA with Quirk! She'd only been with Quirk for 3 months, and she created the slideshow and video that projected onto the wall during the event. Also! The most exciting ARC she ever got was a signed copy of The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman.
– – –
Like Kelsey, Assistant Digital Marketing Manager Christina Tatulli will always remember Brett and the pigeon in the Javits and the following team bonding via sake bombs at the all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant. At BookCon specifically, an Epic Acorn Capsule Debate took place (based on which side of these capsules is top and which is bottom) that resulted in a Quirk team survey and division of the office for weeks…maybe months.
– – –
Nicole De Jackmo, VP, Publicity and Marketing, will miss trolling the floor on a search for free ice cream. Most of all, she'll miss the opportunities for camaraderie with the Quirk team—there is no one else she'd rather troubleshoot with and flip a booth from a trade show to a consumer show with in a manner of hours.
– – –
CEO and Owner David Borgenicht states that ABA/BEA/BookExpo was one of the things he most loved about the publishing industry when he started out. He attended the first ABA/BEA in Miami ABA with Running Press, where he was editor at the time. The South Beach setting, the fanfare and excitement of seeing authors and all his colleagues from around the country in one place was a thrilling, immersive three day experience. He got Jon Stone to sign a copy of The Monster at the End of This Book (a brilliant Sesame Street book he loved as a kid that played with the conventions of what a book could be). Over the years, he saw many celebrities from Dr. Ruth to Steve Martin, but what he loved most was being around everyone else who loves books and works to bring them to life. That's what he will miss most, too.