With yet another BEA upon us, I dug through my archives and discovered my conference agenda from 1998. Hope you’ll enjoy this bit of nostalgia as much as I did. And don’t forget to attend the 7x20x21 panel this Thursday!
Will Dancing Babies Kill Waldenbooks? — Downtown Stage, Wed., 11am
Our friends and family laughed at the now famous “dancing baby” on the hit television show “Ally McBeal,” but booksellers know this CGI harbinger of doom spells a future of illiterate, insensate masses. Join noted futurist Michael McGillicuddy, author of Friend(ster)s with Benefits: Teenagers and the E-Rules of E-Hookups, as he advises how publishers can beat back the rising tide of culture-destroying “entertainment.”
Special performance by Vonda Shepard
How to Spend Your Advance — Uptown Stage, Wed., 1pm
With trade publishing’s complete dominance of the media landscape–regularly outgrossing film, music, TV, and video games–the question on so many novelists’ minds is, “How do I spend all this money?” It’s a valid concern. The ABA’s most recent data reports advances for debut short story collections average around $600,000, with slightly less for extended prose poems. (God help those memoirists penning tales of loss in the Hebrides–you need a top-flight tax lawyer yesterday.) Dirk Bently, VP of Wealth Management at Lehman Brothers, will lead a discussion of how best to diversify your investment portfolio, why Lichtenstein is your new favorite banking hub, and which Manhattan pier has the most comprehensive dock service.
The Kids Aren’t All Right — East Stage, Wed., 4pm
Ask any high school student who Jared Diamond is and you’ll be met with blank stares. (That is, if they’ll even look up from playing Myst II on their PCs!) It’s no surprise the children’s book market is in freefall. So what’s the answer? Scholastic’s Editor in Chief says they have a hot new UK series about wizards–talk about sounding desperate–while executives at Random House and Simon & Schuster argue we need to double down on more books for adults. Join us for this fascinating panel discussion.
Wired Presents “Become the Mayor of Your Geocities’ E-City” — Downtown Stage, Thur., 3pm
In this special keynote sponsored by Wired magazine, technologist Ellen Bunderson will talk about “wournals,” or “web journals,” a new and exciting form of digital diary-keeping. Can a bunch of 1s and 0s turn you into the next Samuel Pepys? What’s with these IRCs you keep hearing about? Should you buy a Palm Pilot? Answers to these questions and more! Hack the planet!
Special performance by Vonda Shepard
On the Road: Tips for the 50 City Tour — East Stage, Thur., 4pm
Authors, you know the drill. Once your book hits the shelves it’s touring, touring, and even more touring. It’s a marathon–not a sprint–and you should train accordingly. A panel of travel experts will share their tips for efficiently packing luggage, getting the most out of frequent-flyer programs, and which four-star hotels offer the best amenities.
Houston, We Have a Problem! The Death of the Rocket eBook — Downtown Stage, Thur., 5pm
Publishing outsiders have long predicted the death of print and the rise of “electronic books.” The spectacular failure of the Rocket reader finally confirms what we’ve known all along: people hate ebooks. A panel of publishing executives will discuss why readers hate ebooks so much, with a special “speed round” of product demonstrations highlighting the many exciting developments in print publishing.
What Book Publishers Can Learn from the Music Industry — Uptown Stage, Thur., 5pm
The rise of compact discs and the consolidation of radio broadcast companies have breathed new life into the music industry. Sony’s Tony Mottola will cover a wide range of topics: how to make singers like Mariah Carey a superstar (“hard work, talent, and a $20M marketing budget”), why he’s optimistic about the future (“the CD is an unbeatable format”), and what’s on the horizon.