A Book Convention: books, authors, publishers, book lovers, bookish merchandise, tons of freebies, and more… all under one roof. A literal heaven on Earth for book lovers! So, how did I not know about it before this year? How did I not dream about going to this sacred bookish event to end all bookish events?
Truth be told, if I didn’t have an open schedule for my New York trip last May I never would have found out about BookCon. *cue gasps* Luckily, I had 2 whole weeks of free time in New York which prompted me to search for events and activities that I could do or attend while I was there. Lo and behold, BookCon was happening during my stay. I immediately booked tickets and the rest was… well, I’ll tell you the rest on this blog post!
BookCon was held in a gigantic convention center called the Javits Center in NYC. The imposing building intimidated me from the outside but as soon as I stepped inside, it took my breath away. The 15-storey Crystal Palace, which serves as the grand entrance hall for the convention center, made my jaw drop. Huge banners from various books and authors soared overhead. There were banners for books I’ve never seen before, authors I have never heard of before, books I’ve always wanted to read, authors I have learned to love. There were banners for Leigh Bardugo’s King Of Scars, Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Legacy, Cassandra Clare’s Queen of Air and Darkness. There was even one for the (then) upcoming book Dear Evan Hansen! I didn’t know where first to look. My head spun in all directions, taking it all in. My eyes jumped from one gigantic banner to another. It was overwhelming. And as expected of an event as epic as this, the number of participants was incredible. There were hundreds (dare I say thousands) of eager bookworms there for the convention! I got to meet a few of them while we waited for the main convention hall to open. I woke up early and took the subway to Javits Center on Day 1 of BookCon. When I arrived, there were already a whole lot of people who arrived earlier than me. I was fairly early because the waiting area got WAY more full an hour after I arrived. When the time for the event to officially start came, the floodgates were opened. We were let in row by row and, I kid you not, people RAN. I knew I had to run when it was our row’s turn to be let in because I already had a game plan worked out for Day 1. To be honest, I spent most of Day 1 in line. In line for VE Schwab’s book signing, for OwlCrate’s Spin-The-Wheel, etc. But it was worth it. A few hours in and I was already carrying a couple of tote bags filled with books, ARCs, bookmarks, button pins, and other bookish merch. And, you guessed it, most of them were given away for free! I could talk about my experience all day but, let’s get real, everybody just wants the photos, so I’m going to just dump them all here now and talk less! Enjoy!Scholastic gave away Harry Potter 20 Years of Magic pins at their booth! Managed to grab a few!Lines. Lines, everywhere! Sometimes the people in line don’t even know what they’re lining up for!
Author Photo Collection
My queen, VE Schwab, was the first author I met at the event. I RAN to get in line for her Vicious book signing because they only had a limited number of books available. I can’t explain what I felt. I’m just so happy I was able to actually converse with her and keep my cool when it was my turn to get my book signed. I also brought her chocolate from Davao, Philippines. She asked for my instagram handle so she could tag me and thank me! ❤
I caught a few authors walking around the convention and gathered up some courage to walk up to them and ask them for selfies! Laini Taylor and Ransom Riggs both were very friendly! Laini’s iconic pink hair caught my eye and Ransom was just really, REALLY tall!
I got in line for another signing, one that I was also very much excited about. I was going to meet the author of one of my most favourite middle-grade book series! Brandon Mull was signing samples of Dragonwatch’s sequel: Wrath of the Dragon King! When it was my turn to meet him, I told him about how much I love his works and how I have read most of his books and that I came all the way from the Philippines! He was impressed! He was very friendly and even told me to get behind the booth when it was photo time so we’d look like we were the best of buddies! My heart swelled!! These people are the nicest!!
I met the next author during their official book signing schedule in the book signing area of the convention. Schwab’s signing was a publisher’s booth’s signing event and didn’t have ticket reservations (thus the Hunger Games-esque running).
The reservation for these author signings were released online days before the event. I, sadly, did not get a ticket for the authors I really wanted to meet. (Bookworms are crazy quick when they want to be!) The site crashed due the overwhelming number of people who logged in to get their reservations! That’s why I didn’t get to meet my other queen, Leigh Bardugo. I reserved a signing for John August, instead! I haven’t read his book yet but he is the screen writer for movies I loved such as Charlie’s Angels, Corpse Bride, and Dark Shadows! (I have already read his book by the time this blog is being written and I loved it! Another middle-grade series that I will definitely be following!)
I met this next author completely out of luck. I was walking around the book signing area and was asking about extra slots for some authors. Turns out, I asked the right staff person! She told me someone left an extra ticket for this particular author.
“If someone asks or wants to get into her signing, give them my ticket.” That’s what the mysterious person told the staff.
And guess who the lucky person who asked was?? Me!! I couldn’t believe my luck! I kept asking the staff if she wasn’t kidding. She smiled and said to go line up. So, I happily got in line for Tomi Adeyemi‘s book signing. A few minutes later, I was in front of her and we were geeking out to BTS together! It was surreal!
I also got see booktubers during a panel and got to meet the grumpiest bookstagrammer ever! Mind you, I don’t know most of them during that time because I haven’t started my bookstagram then. I got to know them and learn more about the world of bookstagram and booktube after I created my account!
I only know Emma from booktube because I LOVE her unboxing videos. And I met @grumpyreads when I bought my first ever BookBeau. She was manning the booth and people were coming up to her and asking to take photos with her. I got curious and asked her who she was. Awkward, I know. But she was really cool about it! And now she’s one of my most favourite people on bookstagram!
To end, here are some photos of the stuff I got during the con! I had to bring a trolley bag on both days because of all the free books I had to lug back home.
‘Til The Next Time
BookCon 2018 was everything I wanted in a book convention and more. I went in with zero idea what I was getting into but with tons of hopes and expectations, and BookCon blew all those out the roof! The only thing I’d change the next time I get to go is to not go alone. I envied the other bookworms I met and talked to who were there with fellow bookworm friends. I hope I can go to another BookCon, and hopefully it’s with a fellow bookie I can geek out with for two whole days!
BookCon not only gave me tons of memories to look back on, but it also opened my eyes to the world beyond book reading. I found out about bookstagram, booktube, book review blogs, etc. Now that I’ve started my very own bookstagram and have added bookish/book review content on my blog, my bookish life has just gotten bigger! I’ve met new friends, found new books, bought new merch, and started subscribing to book boxes (my poor wallet)!
Thanks for reading, guys! Comment below if you want to talk about this post or if you have questions you think I may be able to answer! Cheers!
The day before BookCon, I heard news about a book signing event that’s happening in a Barnes & Noble branch in Manhattan. Since my schedule was free, I decided to go.
And this was where I met Marie Lu, Renée Ahdieh, Melissa de la Cruz, Ransom Riggs, and Sabaa Tahir.
This panel had me laughing from start to finish because Renée and Sabaa are such charismatic and funny people. I also learned a lot when they talked about their personal experiences regarding starting their journeys to becoming authors. It was a heartwarming and insightful experience.
The event ended with the book signing! Since I only knew of this event a day before, I was not prepared. I didn’t have ANY of their books and I didn’t have money to buy them all at the store… So I bought Warcross (because that was the most interesting to me, and it’s also my first ever Marie Lu book). I wanted to get Ransom’s signatures because I read all his books but my copies were back in the Philippines and I couldn’t afford to buy another set. I also wanted to get the other authors’ books because they won me over during the event, specially Sabaa, but NO MONEY! Aahh… I will have to treasure the memories, instead!