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BEA begins with the buzz

May 30, 2008 | 12:53 pm

Booksellersswag On day one Book Expo kicked off with a panel called Editors' Buzz. Six editors each lauded one upcoming title. When they were done, the audience streamed past and picked up galleys of the books, stacked head-high by the door. (Note: that's head-high for me; I'm about five-foot-two.)

Notable was the omission of titles by such heavyweights as Stephen King or James Patterson -- his new book is being advertised on a massive banner outside the L.A. Convention Center. Instead, the five novels featured were by newcomers. (The sixth book, a nonfiction title, was a follow-up to a bestseller.) One seasoned attendee seemed to find this disturbing -- no names, no bigshots -- but I found it kind of exciting.

For publishers to push new novelists, to find something exciting about new voices -- that, to me as a reader, is good news. It's evidence of a kind of vivacity in the field if publishers focus on good, perhaps risky new works, in lieu of a proven writer. Although booksellers might be happier with another Harry Potter.


Grabbing the swag after the buzz panel.

Carolyn Kellogg

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