Book Expo America 2008
BEA Los Angeles
Review by Ross Anthony

The business of the written word is all a flutter. Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos hopes to start a fire with Kindle, his new e-reader. He certainly surprised a room full of publishers, retailers, and distributors when he revealed that in the past 6 months a very impressive 6% of total Amazon sales were e-books. bea On the other side of the spectrum, indie and self-published writers (sometimes dressed as their characters or O.T. prophets) hand out postcards promoting their work with at least as much zeal as they'd written them. And then there are all the Educational Programs more than you could possibly take in between 9 & 5 and spanning book biz topics from what librarians want & don't want to film adaptation discussions with panelists from book managers to studio acquisitions.

And then there are the rows and rows and rows of booths promoting a plethora of word-ward wares. Again, more booths than you can stop and peek at in a day and that's just one hall of two. It's lits' big event. Deals are made, relationships seeded, knowledge bases expanded.

Here are some highlights from my one day visit:

beaAs a hardcore scrabbler (I even have a signed copy of the Scrabble Word Dictionary), I fell interested into a cool letter-tile game called Bananagram. After walking for what seemed hours (oh yeah, it was hours), sure felt good to take a seat at the Bananagram booth and play a round of the game with a couple of experts. I lost of course, but I had fun, and expect to improve on my own Anthony and Travis I'll take you guys on next year look out. The game plays in a crossword fashion like Scrabble, but is far more dynamic, lively, and short. Each player makes his own crossword structure concurrently, it's a race. You can break down words at anytime, and if you lose a challenge you lose the game. Lot's of fun and even better it comes in a cute banana carrying case. Bananagrams

bea As an Indie Publisher myself, I grew curious over the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. I spoke with author DK Simoneau who signed me a copy of her book "We're Having A Tuesday." It's a warm, yet poignant kid's book for young children of the divorced. I enjoyed it. Dr. Judith Briles was also there with her "Stop Stabbing Yourself in the Back." My girlfriend found this title a bit on the negative, but I found the cover design striking (a big red stop signed on a black background). I read the first chapter and took the self-sabotage questionnaire apparently, despite my strong self confidence; there's some room for improvement. Anyway, as long as there are those of us wallowing instead of celebrating life there are going to be self-help books ready to be put to good use. If you're a wallower hey, stop it. Get this book, see an uplifting film, learn a language stop moping and do something about it.

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bea As a traveler of the world and author/illustrator of an 8 language book, I stopped to visit a booth sporting a great deal of culture orientated publications including a catalogue. These folks offer a great deal of varied bilingual and foreign language books. Speaking of languages, Jessie at the Bilingual Books booth called me over to look at their language-teaching kits. She asked me which language I might most likely learn, since I'd picked up a bit of Chinese in my travels, I responded with "Mandarin." She pulled out a book and a CD. The CD really impressed me. The visuals were delicate and beautiful, like watercolors. Learning was fun like a game, but not too gamey, and of course, it speaks the words as well as spells them. I certainly intend to spend some more time with it to fill in the many gaps in my Mandarin basics. bea Jessie was a great sales person, her excitement over the product was contagious and despite the fact that she served as the German language consultant, she showed off some Mandarin knowledge simply because she'd played with that CD while at the booth.

Lastly, like you, I'm sure, I have a soft spot in my heart for non-profit organizations reaching out with reading to kids of low income families. As charitable partner of the BEA, the First Book enjoyed a high profile booth at the entrance to one of the two halls. I spoke with Katie, the manager of Corp. Strategy and picked up a copy of "My Father the Dog." I don't have kids, so I read it to my girlfriend last night. She loved it and Randy Cecil's illustrations are very warm and fuzzy. If you're a publisher, contact and do something important and meaningful with those overstock books.

The BEA is certainly the event of book business insiders, but can it really propel the books of the indie or self-published author? Certainly, many are there promoting. I absolutely don't know the answer to that, but I will say as many had said to me years ago, it's a great place to learn about this transitioning industry.

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-- Cool Indie Books --

  • Book Expo America 2008. Copyright © 2008.

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Copyright © 1998-2022 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Sunday, 01-Jun-2008 11:51:38 PDT