(Originally posted: June 6, 2017)
JACOB JAVITZ CENTER, NEW YORK, NY- It was every book lover’s dream at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. Books, magazines, journals, and anything else your eyes could read was available at Bookcon 2017. People packed the convention center to meet their favorite authors, participate in panels, socialize with other book nerds, and go home with tote bags full of giveaways.
I arrived as a modern version of Belle, my favorite book nerd. Gil, Alondra, her friend Ayleen, and Stephanie joined me on this adventure. The line to enter the convention spiraled five times over by the time we arrived at 9:30 a.m. The entire event felt less stressful than New York City Comic Con, which made the experience more enjoyable. I received my lanyard for my badge and walking into literary heaven. A Where’s Waldo Scavenger Hunt had begun, in which you had to find Waldo in five different areas to get a giveaway pack. Alondra and Ayleen went for this challenge. Waldo turned 30 this year. Other famous book franchises were celebrating anniversaries like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Little Golden Books publishing.
Authors sold out tickets for the autographing area and in booth signings. I got to meet P.C. and Kristin Cast (House of Night series). Jenny Han, Nicola Yoon, Miayim Bialik, and Veronica Roth were among the other writers signing books, posters, and other memorabilia. It was empowering to see women inspire so many fans and to share their time with them. Each is known for a popular novel in specific genres, each has told a different story.
The panels were informative as well depending on interests. Some highlighted authors whose novels have become films or television series, like Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything or Hulu’s new hit The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Other panels covered the lack of diversity in the publishing industry and finding your voice while writing a novel. Miayim Bialik from The Big Bang Theory, had her own panel to empower young girls through her new book Girling Up: How To Be Strong, Smart, and Spectacular. Marvel’s Jessica Jones leading lady Krysten Ritter, discussed the next season and signed copies of her book Bonfire.
Various publishers like Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Harpercollins, and Scholastic had a giveaway every hour that included tote bags, books, posters, bookmarks, buttons, and other cool swag. Cassandra Clares’ Shadowhunter series was a popular giveaway booth. Bookcon was also the opportunity for new authors to promote their books and network with publishers traditional or independent.
Pop culture was not absent in Bookcon. Hogwarts houses were well represented and there was even a young woman cosplaying as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. The Strand Booth sold feminist buttons, and one booth sold guide books and other items from television shows and movies. Fans wore t-shirts sporting symbols from book series like Divergent, Dark Hunters, and The Fault In Our Stars. Comic book and graphic novel characters were not left out either.
There is a little something for every book lover at this event. Whether it’s to meet your favorite writer, discover a new author, get sneak peeks of upcoming books, or attend a panel, you cannot go wrong with Bookcon. The Javits Center announced Bookcon will now happen annually, with the next convention happening on June 2nd and 3rd in 2018. Will you be there?
Photos: Rosa Elena Burgos.
Last Updated: July 26, 2019