For Penguin Random House, it was all about our authors and books at this year’s BookExpo America and BookCon, which took place May 27 – 31 at the Javits Center in New York. From the Chrystal Palace foyer to the special events halls, there was prime visibility and constant activity, particularly at the largest-ever Penguin Random House BEA booth.
The non-stop schedule of book signings featured a great mix of 80 of our adult and young readers authors, presenting John Grisham, Jodi Picoult, Lee Child, Charlaine Harris, James Dashner, Jayne Ann Krentz, Gloria Steinem, Geraldine Brooks, Jennifer Niven, Sylvia Day, Lev Grossman, Brene Brown, Alice Hoffman, R.J. Palacio, Oliver Jeffers, Celeste Ng, Brian Kilmeade, Julianne Moore, Mindy Kaling, Anthony Marra, Maureen Johnson, and Tom Foreman, among many others. Even with the large turnouts for the author signings, the lines kept moving thanks to the efforts of our corporate services team and dedicated volunteers as hundreds of books were autographed.
Penguin Random House editors and publishers were clear standouts at the three 2015 BEA Editors Buzz panels. At the Adult Editors Buzz, Knopf Editor Diana Miller spoke passionately and eloquently about City on Fire
by Garth Risk Hallberg, describing how the author, “an incredible observer of human nature,” captured 1970s New York City, and the exchange of “high fives” (a rarity, at Knopf, she said) when Sonny Mehta announced the acquisition of this book. Penguin Press Publisher Scott Moyers described how he virtually “stalked” the agent of author Ottessa Moshfegh in his efforts to acquire her novel Eileen
, featuring “a narrator who is unreliable in every respect,” with a plot that keeps readers guessing, with “a strange, pretty wonderful twist at the end.” At the Young Adult Editors Buzz, Wendy Loggia, Executive Editor, Delacorte Press, delved inside Everything, Everything
by Nicola Yoon, the author making use of notes, texts, illustrations and medical charts, to tell the story of the life and love of a
teenager with an immune system disorder that prevents her from ever leaving her house in a voice that is “honest, relatable and truthful.” Arianne Lewin, Executive Editor for Putnam Books for Young Readers, described her visceral reaction to the “moody and scary” Nightfall
by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski, “best read with the lights on.” And at the BEA Middle Grade Editors’ Buzz, Nancy Paulsen, President and Publisher of Nancy Paulsen Books, raved about Last in a Long Line of Rebels
by Lisa Lewis Tyre, in whose hands “history comes alive and is relevant.”
Penguin Random House sponsored the “Ten Years of Penguin China” reception as part of the China Guest of Honor Country BEA series. Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle spoke first, thanking “our esteemed Chinese guests,” confirming Penguin Random House’s commitment to publishing in China, and recognizing and raising a champagne toast to the 10th
anniversary of Penguin Books China, now known as Penguin Random House North Asia. Penguin Random House North Asia Managing Director Jo Lusby and Penguin Random House International Sales Director Cyrus Kheradi also spoke.
For the first time, BookCon was presented as its own entity, on Saturday and Sunday, when 18,000 book-loving consumers flooded the Javits Center. A majority of the attendees were young, many in their teens, giving BookCon a fresh energy and contemporary vibe. Penguin Random Author Mindy Kaling was featured in the first major BookCon event Saturday morning.
More than 2,200 fans filed into the BookCon Main Stage arena, which had the look and feel of a rock concert. Hundreds of glowing smart phones were held aloft as Mindy was introduced by fellow Penguin Random House author B.J. Novak. The two friends and former co-stars of the highly rated television series The Office,
talked about Kaling’s upcoming Crown title, Why Not Me?
. They also confirmed that they are working on a joint book project.
Penguin Random House author Nick Offerman’s Gumption Revival also drew a huge crowd to the Special Events Hall, where Offerman was in conversation with fellow Penguin Random House author John Hodgman about Offerman’s new Dutton title, Gumption
. Sunday highlights at BookCon included James Dashner discussing his Maze Runner
and Mortality Doctrine
books (Delacorte Press) with fellow Penguin
Random House author Ridley Pearson; actress/author Julianne Moore shared insights about her Freckleface Strawberry
children’s book series (Random House Books for Young Readers) with Brian Selznick; and Judy Blume, who starred in BookCon’s final major event, conversing with Jennifer Weiner about her new novel, In The Unlikely Event
, which just went on sale from Knopf.