The importance of booksellers was at the forefront of many of the speeches. Astronaut Scott Kelly, who broke records by spending a whole year in space, spoke about discovering Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff in a book store as a college freshman. Jesmyn Ward likewise celebrated booksellers, highlighting the independent book stores at the center of her community in Mississippi.
Otherwise, politics was the dominate theme of the remarks, as it is in the national (and online) discourse right now. With President Trump set to announce his decision about the US's participation in the Paris Accord on climate change later today, Kelly related an anecdote about the amount of pollution he could see from space and how much visibly denser the rain forests used to be. (Yesterday he put it his way on Twitter, "My 1st space flight was in 2001, my last in 2011. I saw our planet change in one decade. This is nuts.") Late-entry on the panel Obama photographer Pete Souza showed images from his book Obama: An Intimate Portrait (Little, Brown, 11/7) chronicling the president's eight years in office, drawing a strong visual contrast to the current moment.
Also seen and heard in and around the convention today:
- PEN America will be presented with Book Expo's Industry Ambassador Award today.
- Points to St. Martin's for staking out the game-changing Number Seven subway entrance by Hudson Yards as a giveaway spot for tote bags for B.A. Paris's forthcoming The Breakdown.
- While the super-spacious aisles and smaller crowds leave more room than usual for hanging out at the show, for reliable wi-fi and free snacks remember to see if you qualify for the American Express lounge out by the main entrance. (You're welcome.)
- Skyhorse's Hot Books imprint just finished crashing the book tie-in to Oliver Stone's The Putin Interviews, which air on Showtime starting June 12 in four episodes. Promising "substantial material" beyond what will appear on air, the book publishes June 16.
- Another topical book, announced earlier this week and landing July 18, is Bloomberg Businessweek reporter Joshua Green's Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump and the Storming of the Presidency, said to be written with Bannon's participation, from Penguin Press.
- And speaking of politics, Trump and Putin, what was Carter Page doing registering for Book Expo yesterday?
At Berkely, Heather Connor has been promoted to publicity director and Diana Franco has been promoted to associate publicity director.
Chelsea Lindman left Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, where she worked for the past 8 years. She will continue to co-host the Northern California Writers' Retreat, which she founded with editor Heather Lazare in 2016, and can be reached at email@example.com.
Wendy Friedman will join Quarto as vp, director of international sales this summer, reporting to chief operating officer Ken Fund. She has been at Parragon for the last 16 year, most recently as president/cco of Parragon Global.
Sanj Kharbanda will join Beacon Press, where he has served on the board of advisors, as director of sales and marketing on June 5. He was formerly vp, digital strategy at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
At Cave Henricks Communications, Jessica Krakoski has been promoted to vp, managing director of the agency.
Ingram's Publishers Group West will distribute Canongate Books (again) in the US and Canada, starting June 1.
Carla Gray, 52, died unexpectedly. She worked at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for 20 years, most recently as executive director of marketing. Bruce Nichols, svp and publisher of HMH said, "The world has lost a great champion of the written word, a tireless advocate for authors, and a dear friend of booksellers across the country. HMH has lost a beloved colleague of 20 years. We will miss Carla every day."
In the UK, Patrice Lawrence won The Bookseller's YA Book Prize for her debut novel, Orangeboy.
OverDrive corrected their announcement about their cost-per-circulation initiative to note that only Simon & Schuster digital audiobooks will be included, not ebooks (and S&S notes their participation mirrors what they are already doing with other audio library distributors).