The TBR Shelf: BEA Read-Down

The BEA and ALA Shelves

For the most of the past 10 summers I have gone to NYC for Book Expo (BEA).  For those who don’t get to hear me talk about it, BEA is the publishing industry’s conference.  Primarily you spent 2.5 days walking in circles on an expo floor grabbing free books.  There are conference sessions, but I have learned they rarely meet my specific needs.  I go for work, but it is a weird vacation for me.  I run a spring semester book club on campus so I use BEA to help me run that.

The BEA and ALA Shelves
The BEA and ALA Shelves

Every year I come home with hundreds of dollars in books.  Most are advanced reader copies (ARCs).  This means they have yet to be published and quite possibly aren’t in their completed formatting.  For example, page numbers may be wrong, indexes and notes missing, spelling  and grammar mistakes, and other signs of being pre-published.  They are the life blood of publishing.  When you read a review before a book comes out or on the day of release, it means the reviewer read an ARC of the book.  ARC are notoriously touchy subjects because you can’t resell them and you  can’t always get one.  For example, the year Harry Potter 7 came out, Scholastic didn’t give ARC copies of the book at BEA.  They gave awesome bags with the cover on them.  They didn’t need to give us copies of the book.

I find it very difficult to get all the books I want at BEA, but it is often balanced by gems that I would have never discovered otherwise (Smoke Gets In Your Eyes) or I get really lucky and get books I didn’t even know would be available and very much wanted (Son of A Witch).  Over the years I have learned to give most of the books away and to pick up books for specific people.  I try to make sure I find things for everyone I love, but it’s not always possible.

The To-Be-Read Bookcase
The To-Be-Read Bookcase

Over the past 10 years I have collected quite a few BEA books for my To Be Read (TBR) pile.  It’s not fair to call it a pile.  It’s a book case… actually 2 bookcases.

I went through these books recently and realized I have some going back as far as 2009.  That was before I went this year and added 8 new books to the shelves.  Then I went to the American Library Association (ALA) conference and got 4 more books for the book case.  I am moving into 3-of-12 shelves with these ARC editions from conference.  It’s time to reign this in.  Not only am I trying to get the TBR bookcase reduced, but I specifically want to

Just BEA 2015
Just BEA 2015

focus these books.  Here are the goals:

  • By May 2016 all the books from the 2015 conferences should be read or I should currently be reading them.
  • By May 2016 all the books from the 2013 conference should be read.
  • Side note, all the books from 2014 were finished before I went to the BEA in 2015.
  • By May 2016 I should be reading the books from the 2012 conference.

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