Just received my copy of SEBA Ink today. In this great little magazine from the Southeastern Booksellers Association is an article entitled "Let's Solve This Problem!" Evidently, according to An Anonymous Publisher Exhibitor, there were some book thieves with blue or yellow badges at the conference that stole nine books off his/her table. I agree with the show's Director, this is appalling. Wanda Jewell, SEBA's Executive Director, made it clear this will not be tolerated and I agree with her, it shouldn't be.
I attended the SEBA conference in Winston-Salem with my Sisters in Crime Writer's Group feeling very blessed and fortunate to have received the opportunity to rub elbows with these publishers, booksellers, and authors. I love shows like SEBA and the Book Expo.
But here's what bothered me about some of the Exhibitors at this conference. Maybe it's because I've attended two recent Book Expo's, one in Chicago and one in New York City. If you've been there, you know how crazy and crowded they can be. Anyway, at the Book Expo there were free galleys everywhere you turned and it was clear the books that were galleys and the books that were for sale ... the prices were posted on many and for the most part, the books for sale were not laying on the tables, but displayed behind the table where you could walk and pick one up and someone would be there to assist you. (Again, for the most part.)
There were so many free galleys available, they were stacked up on the floor just in front of the tables.
At SEBA, I personally saw few free galley copies being offered, (which I mentioned in my September blog) and I found it difficult to determine at first glance if the books were free or for sale. I disagree with Anonymous, I for one, couldn't tell the difference at some booths which were galleys and which weren't. You had to ask or look closely for "Advanced Reader Copy" on the cover, which isn't always apparent ... sometimes it's easier to just ask.
That being said, if the book you're walking away with does not say "Advanced Reader Copy" then you're stealing it.
Just to be sure, I asked nearly every time. And when I did ask, I often got the feeling that the Exhibitor thought I was searching for anything free. Mooching. I never felt like that at the Book Expo. Not one time. Exhibitors and authors need to remember -- word of mouth is the best bookseller. My library is full to overflowing, but if someone is willing to give me a galley, I'll take it. My galley copies belong to me, they don't get passed around. I'm reading constantly. I'm recommending constantly.
And if there's a book for sale that I really want -- I'll not hesitate to buy it. Ask my husband, he'll tell you.
Suggestion to exhibitors: Indicate clearly the books that are for sale ... it may solve the problem. And distribute more galleys.
I wonder if those who walked away with a book that wasn't free was aware of the fact they needed to pay for it? But if the guilty party did it on purpose, I wouldn't hesitate to ban them from future conferences. In a heartbeat.
By the way, my badge was pink.
Blessings to you and yours.