Why Book Expo America & Book Con Make Me a Rage Monster

VERSUS

I’ll be honest, I didn’t think that I’d be able to afford BEA (Book Expo America) this year. I’m saving up for a car and didn’t think that I could save for both. But then I found out that next year, BEA is moving to Chicago and I nearly cried. For the past five years or so I’ve been living between Massachusetts with my father and New York with my boyfriend. Taking a plane to Chicago was DEFINITELY out of the question so I bit the bullet and looked up rates. A one-day blogger pass for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday was $100 dollars!!!

Yeah, you read right, one hundred dollars – my dreams of attending BEA were fading fast. Also, the site is ridiculously difficult to navigate so finding these rates took some digging. Then, low and behold, I found Power Reader Day. It allowed the public access to BEA for one day at only $30. I thought to myself, sure it’s going to be absolutely MOBBED that day but hey, it was probably going to be my only chance to attend BEA for the foreseeable future. So I bought my Power Reader pass without any plan of HOW I was getting there because I felt that determined to go.

This is a screenshot of the email I received after purchasing my Power Reader Day pass (notice the date, February 17th). So for the past month I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to travel between NYC and MA. Last night I even invited my boyfriend to join me at BEA even though he isn’t a voracious reader like me. He wants to get into graphic novels and he’s been really enjoying all my YA recommendations. Other bloggers like Jessica and Octavia know that we haven’t had the greatest relationship lately…being together at BEA would be the first time since the end of last October. To say that I was looking forward to BEA would be the biggest understatement. Then I got home from work today and found this in my email:

Then the stab in the heart…

…..

……

………..

I immediately proceeded to find a contact email for Book Con and sent this email:

Ignore the $75 dollars comment, I’ve since gone back and realized that for bloggers it is indeed $99 for a one-day pass to BEA. I went to Twitter and discovered minimal buzz about it, which surprised me. There were mixed emotions. Most people are convinced that BEA is simple changing the name to Book Con and it will be no different from Power Reader Day. I disagree wholeheartedly. It says plain as day that access to BEA is now prohibited and it is meant for “consumers”. This is clearly corporate-speak for we don’t want to give Average Jane/Joe any more freebies (i.e. ARCs/galleys) and would rather set up shop to sell books instead. I’m not going lie, I was looking forward to this perk, but it wasn’t my biggest grievance.

I paid to attend Book Expo America. I paid to meet up with other book bloggers who have the full BEA pass. I paid for book signings with the authors going to BEA. I paid for the publishers who had already committed to BEA and might not be able to get a booth for Book Con (an extra $1,000!). I feel cheated and talked down to because I can’t afford the $99 blogger one-day pass.

For MONTHS now, Book Expo America has been promoting Power Reader Day and selling tickets for it. I know what I paid for and Book Con is NOT it.

Has anyone else received this email? What is your take on the change from Power Reader Day to Book Con? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Please let me know in the comments below.

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14 thoughts on “Why Book Expo America & Book Con Make Me a Rage Monster

  1. That is such BS that they converted your ticket without asking you! Sometimes Reed Expo really pisses me off. A couple years ago they handled the media thing horribly as well. I’m a blogger as well and purchased a 3-day pass so haven’t gotten such an email but in all honesty you should get what you originally intended. I say continue to email and bug Reed Expo via email and BLOW THEM UP on Twitter about this not cool for customers. They should’ve planned this better. Hope this all gets resolved for you.

    • Other people have received responses via Facebook that BookCon will be just like BEA, but it’s just more corporate-speak for we’re covering our asses here. Another Twitter source says that they will apparently refund tickets but won’t honor original access to BEA floor. I have yet to receive an email back so we’ll see about that….

      • Definitely keep calling, emailing, etc. Get a refund if necessary if they won’t honor your request and also let your credit card company know. I’m not a huge fan of how Reed Expo handles things and this was definitely a bait & Switch. I mean to mess with bloggers and readers is the worst way to do business for one of the largest expos for the book industry. The point is to get people excited about books not agitated about a bad experience.

        If there’s already a Goodreads page and other places where people are organizing and letting Reed Expo know how you feel I think they’d expedite it more. They did when all the bloggers went ape**** on them when they did something similar to us a couple years ago.

  2. We are currently holding a discussion in the BookExpo America Group on goodreads (which please excuse me if you’re part of the group already) – https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/62172-bookexpo-america

    Everyone seems to be getting mixed answers. I think it is a two-faced thing to pull suddenly on attendees, but this is par for the course for BEA. They pulled a similar thing on bloggers a couple years back – suddenly folk received emails stating they were not accepted months after registering. Plus from everything we’ve read/heard it sounds like its going to be a mess space wise.

  3. I got the same e-mail and I am just as cautious as you are Christina. I’ve been fortunate enough to go to BEA and seeing the Power Readers basically getting the similar access I was (and many of them being bloggers) I decided to just do Power Readers this year to save money. I had heard they were thinking of doing BookCon, but I would have never guessed they’d do a bait and switch like that. They should have put some kind of notice that the program might change, it seems like bad planning on their part. I find it hard to believe they didn’t know they had booked all these people and made a new logo for a new thing a month ago.

    I’m mostly concerned about its focus on “pop culture” and celebrity. Nothing in their press release mentions books or literature or reading. It’s all about fan experience. I’m afraid it will be as much about books as ComiCon is about comic books. I think I’ll need more information about who is going to be there and what I can get out of it.

    • Oh it’s definitely about the celebrities and how much money they can rake in by selling tickets to see the likes of Amy Poehler. Don’t get me wrong, I love the woman, she’s hilarious, but I’m paying to see authors, publishers, and other book industry people. And I agree that they’ve known for months, maybe even since the last BEA, that they planned on having BookCon. The bottom line is that they should have never sold Power Reader Day tickets with BookCon waiting in the wings.

  4. I had no idea about any of this before reading this post. BEA is going to be in Chicago… what? Since when? This might impact me since I live relatively close to Chicago.

    The BookCon controversy doesn’t affect me personally, but based on my knowledge of the situation (which comes exclusively from this post), I’m angry on your behalf. You totally have the right to be upset about this—you are not getting what you paid for and expected! I hope you can get it straightened out, and I’ll be looking out for more information on this series of events.

    • I was misinformed about next year but BEA is indeed moving to Chicago in 2016 according to this link. I got an automated email from ReedCo, the company in charge of both ComicCon and BookCon that is spouting BS about how BookCon is JUST like BEA, I just don’t have access to BEA. I sent back an email asking them to be honest and stop talking down to me because I’m not an idiot. I’ve yet to get a reply….

      I’m going to send another email later this week if I don’t receive a reply before Thursday.

  5. Pingback: Reblogged: Why Book Expo America & Book Con Make Me a Rage Monster | mharvey816

  6. So I’m waaaaaay behind on this but MAN was that so underhanded! Shame on them! You had every right to be angry. You handed over your hard-earned money to them only to have them completely turn around and misuse your trust and your money. Makes me look at the event in different light.

    • Ugh, it’s just all BS these days with everyone looking at the bottom dollar. There’s no push for customer loyalty anymore and it’s discouraging that these reps feel like they can talk down to me or even skirt the complaint like I won’t notice. It’s frustrating to say the least…

      And if my finances stay where they are, I won’t be able to attend the last BEA in NYC next year either :(

  7. I was just wondering what ended up happening? Did you go or get your money back? I apologize if you wrote a post about this already (I’ll go search for it when I’m done with this). And I wanted to say in case you didn’t know, BEA and BookCon will be back in NYC next year!! I’m so sorry this happened to you and I hope you got everything figured out 💙💙

    • I did not get my money back and I’m still disappointed at how ReedPop handled the situation as a whole. I have attended BEA as a blogger (paying nearly $250 for a media pass) for the past two years because I have saved for a whole calendar year each time. There is a serious underestimation of passion be it for books at BEA or comics and anime at ComicCon. The lack of understanding by large event companies such as ReedPop continues to diminish the attendance of such conventions.

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