I had had such a good time being a Power Reader at BEA last year. When I heard they were turning the Power Reader day into more of a convention I thought it was going to be that much better. Sadly, I was mistaken.
Firstly, the show floor was teeny tiny compared to last year. BEA was next door and they had guards posted so there was no way a Con goer could sneak over. Shame, because I couldn’t get in to see my Harmony Ink/DSP folks (although they told me after the fact I should have let them know and they would have sneaked me in! Hehe Now I know for next time). A smaller floor wouldn’t have been so bad except the amount of people there was ridiculous. You couldn’t get through the aisles without cutting through a line of people waiting for something. Sometimes we waited on lines that just ended up disappearing! It was extremely frustrating and definitely not a good experience for someone who has some claustrophobia issues.
My con buddy, Tiffany, and I decided to abandon the con floor and head for the panels downstairs. We only
had two we really wanted to see…originally. When we got downstairs, the line was already forming. It was supposed to be that you couldn’t line up more than an hour before the panel started. It looked as if no one was following that rule, so we stepped into line. We waited a bit for our 1pm panel and when we got to the front, we overheard staff saying the panel rooms were not being cleared out after each panel. I stopped and asked if that meant we could just stay, and she said “no problem, want to go in now?” Ummm yes! We were the last two people allowed to enter the (amazing!) Stan Lee panel. I’m so glad we got in because it was a really interesting and entertaining talk. We stayed after and hung out until the Epic Storytelling panel with Cassandra Clare, Holly Black and Maggie Stiefvater, another great talk. We really wanted to see the dystopian panel but there was another in between. Peeking out we saw the line was still insane and we
decided to just stick it out. We were both starving and I desperately needed a bathroom but if I left, there was no promise I’d get back in, so I suffered through it. The next panel had Jason Segel of How I Met Your Mother/Muppet fame and it was really good! We were both glad we stayed to hear him speak. Sadly, the dystopian panel was probably the weakest of them all. Not that it was awful but it definitely didn’t live up to the others we had seen all day.
It was overcrowded, disorganized and lacking in loot but all in all, the panels made the con worthwhile. I felt because the big houses had to have two booths that it was an extra added expense that meant less swag was given and they had less manpower to deal with the incredible throng of people that showed.
We did leave with some good stuff, a signed copy sample of Stan Lee’s upcoming book Zodiac, as well as Maggie’s Sinner (squee!). We also got these awesome I read YA tumblers from Scholastic (see my post from May 20th!) that Tiffany and I altered slightly to make more accurate.
While it wasn’t as good an experience as last year, I’m still glad we went and got to see the speakers. We’ve already decided next year we’ll put the money aside for the whole BEA convention in the hopes to have the best experience. We shall see how it goes.
Did you attend Bookcon? What are your thoughts on the experience?