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Festival of Books tallies 140,000 attendees

May 17, 2011 |  7:00 am

Bookfestival11_crowd On April 30 and May 1, 140,000 people turned out to celebrate reading at the 16th Annual L.A. Times Festival of Books, held for the first time on the campus of the University of Southern California. 

"We are thrilled to see our vision for moving the festival to our new home downtown come together in a more robust way than we even imagined when we first started discussing the idea with USC,” said Times Publisher Eddy Hartenstein in a statement. “We were honored to welcome new and old friends and are very pleased that everyone had a great Festival of Books experience.”

Other facts and figures about the 16th annual Festival of Books: The festival app was downloaded by almost 10% of those who attended. Four thousand books were donated at the donation station set up by Target, a festival sponsor, to benefit classrooms and libraries. And shuttles brought nearly 1,000 people per hour to USC's campus, for a total of close to 17,000.

The event hosted a record number of exhibitors, sponsors and authors. And then there was the ice cream -- more than 30,000 free samples of Ben & Jerry's ice cream were handed out to attendees.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Saturday crowds at the 16th annual Festival of Books. Credit: Anne Cusack /Los Angeles Times