Spring time – my most favorite time of year… and not just because it happens to be my birthday 😉 Every year for the last four years I’ve attended the book convention lovingly known as BookCon at the Javits Center in New York City (aside from that one time I traveled all the way to Chicago for it…). Nonetheless it was back in my city this year and I received Saturday and Sunday tickets as a birthday present! I typically save up for VIP tickets, but they increased the price this year and it just didn’t seem worth it.
My boyfriend and I took the bus from Philly to NYC at 5:45 am and got to our hotel around 8 am. Having been to BookCon three other times I knew I didn’t want to go wait on line several hours early. I had my autographing tickets to see Stephen Chbosky and Nicola Yoon and I didn’t care much to see any of the main stage panels.
I’ve been to BookCon four times and yet every year it feels different since the BookCon crew is still trying to figure out how to organize this event. There were plenty of good, plenty of bad, and definitely some ugly things about this year.
- I met my favorite author Stephen Chbosky and he was so kind and took the time to speak to every person on line despite having his signing go way over schedule. This annoyed some people, but I found it so great how down to earth he was.
- Many of the panels I wanted to see were in 1E meeting rooms at the Javits center and in the past I had a really hard time getting into these, but this year I got to see every panel I lined up for.
- It seemed to be a lot less crowded this year and more relaxed (maybe because I wasn’t so stressed out about missing panels)
- Staff finally figured out an efficient way to line people up in the 1E waiting rooms – last year it was a free for all and people would cut into different rows.
- Autographing tickets went up May 22nd at 12 pm and there was very little direction given on how to acquire them. I had to go on and choose the two author signings I wanted for Saturday and then go on again and choose for Sunday. By the time I got to Sunday, everything was gone. I luckily got the authors I wanted for Saturday, but it was extremely unfair to people who couldn’t get on at 12 pm. They should’ve released a certain # of tickets on separate dates leading up to BookCon.
- Main stage panels weren’t great. I wasn’t as excited for them as I had been in the past few years. And BookCon repeatedly told everyone that they would need to scan their badge to see a main stage panel. I rushed to the Queue Hall and it was… completely empty. Because security abandoned this idea when they realized how inefficient it was. They seriously need to figure out their stuff because it’s been four years!
- The moderator for Cassandra Clare’s panel spoiled a lot for me. This isn’t anyone’s fault, but I wish she wouldn’t have!!!
- The Show Floor was a disaster. I didn’t even attempt to get any ARC’s or swag. The lines were wrapped around several booths over a TOTE BAG! It was insane. I heard about people getting screwed over at the Penguin Booth which made me so sad. I also waited on line for almost an hour to spin a wheel at OwlCrate and I won a bag of tea…
- Not as much free stuff at certain booths. I guess I can’t demand free stuff, but I always look forward to getting a Book Shimmy bag and they didn’t have them this year.
- Some people were straight up nasty! I always meet the nicest people at BookCon, but this year I saw a lot of people cutting in line and being overall rude.
Overall, the good outweighed the bad and I had an amazing time. I saw Rainbow Rowell, Cassandra Clare, Morgan Matson, Jenny Han, Krysten Ritter, Kevin Hart, Bill Nye, and lots more! I’m happy I didn’t waste my money on VIP tickets as I achieved everything I wanted without them.
I’ll definitely be back next year and I really hope they can finally figure their problems out. I’m not giving up yet!
On a related note, we stayed at this futuristic hotel called Yotel NYC. If you have to spend the weekend in NYC, and wish to be close to the Javits Center, I highly recommend this hotel! We were so close to Times Square and Hells Kitchen. We ate at an amazing Italian restaurant and saw Wonder Woman at the AMC in Times Square. This hotel is a great, affordable place to stay for a fun weekend visit.
I’m already counting down the days until next year 🙂
Coming Soon: BookCon 2017 Extra’s Giveaway