Sunday, June 07, 2009
While it was a pleasant enough day out and attendance was high, the Printers Row Book Fest mainly just a large used book sale. Relatively few publishers attended, and most of them were very small presses. While I was there (during the middle of the first day, Saturday) there was no apparent involvement of "big name" authors. I saw some poetry readings from children from the Chicago area (some of whom, dare I say, could be helped to enunciate a little more clearly), and a discussion lead by the author of a book about comics who had some interesting points to make.
I would suggest that some of the authors staffing booths need to strike a better balance between enthusiasm and rank desperation. Nobody wants an author to a) verbally assault them with a barrage of unwanted information while flinging bookmarks at their face, or b) or to lean back in there chair with glum and vaguely hostile detachment as if having given up any hope of selling the book. In contrast I would point out the guy at The Echelon Press table who opened conversations by asking what people liked to read, and steering them casually to books they might like. I just hope industry involvement in this event with rebound when the economy does.