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Book Expo: Readers meet writers (and celebs)

June 1, 2008 |  1:07 pm

Beaalecbaldwin

All weekend, the publishing industry's largest conference has been buzzing at the L.A. Convention Center. Big-name writers -- Salman Rushdie, Michael Connelly -- showed up to speak on panels and sign books. And so have Hollywood celebrities: Alec Baldwin (above), George Hamilton and William Shatner are just a few of the actors-turned-authors that showed up on the floor.

Book Expo's activities have stretched out across the city. Parties were held where you might expect --  restaurants and clubs in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, an art gallery in Santa Monica -- and where you might not (Dodger Stadium). Larry King threw a book party at his house for Ted Turner; Prince threw one at his for ... well, not sure what, exactly.

Seems like almost everyone involved with the publishing industry from all over the country has been packed into the Convention Center all weekend. Bookstore staff members, including founders, book buyers and individual young salespeople, are the main focus of the publishers, who have massive, elaborate booths displaying their new books. And the convention is also full of publicists and media and agents and aspiring writers.

And today, the last day, every last one of them seems tired. There are free advance copies of books that won't be out until the fall, and folks who can summon the strength to carry them home are doing so with dazed smiles.

-- Carolyn Kellogg