June 4, 2019

BookCon was either a snoozer this year, or you almost got killed


According to Publishers Weekly, that is.

In an article titled “Mixed Reviews for this Year’s Literary Fan Fest,” PW’s Claire Kirsh reports that BookCon, the YA fan festival that follows on the heels of BEA (same expo center), felt a little underwhelming to its attendees.

Never mind an article topped by a photo of a crowd of people running through the open doors to grab that swag. Never mind that one of them was sprinting in heels. Never mind that a few had flown over the ocean. Never mind that one of them was a woman quoted as getting her PhD in YA literature, (which is like one step removed from getting a PhD in swag). The real story is never what people expect to get, but what they end up getting. Evidently, not much swag.

One attendee told Kirsh: “It felt like the publishers just phoned it in, that they didn’t care at all. There weren’t even that many books to buy, fewer games than last year, and less swag.”

What has America come to? According to one Harper Collins staffer: “a lot of screaming.” She continued: “We were afraid the [booth] wall was going to fall on [people]. I read on Twitter that someone called BookCon ‘Game of Galleys.’ So true.”

Does this mean we should stop calling BookCon the swaggiest swagstival this side of swaggerton mcswaggy? Maybe. At least someone was quoted as saying BookCon was “awesome.” If he’d said “gawesome,” you could anagram that to “swag emo.” Just sayin.



Michael Barron is an editor at Melville House.