For many baby boomers, 2001 represented the ultimate date in the future. Now that it's here, and there is no Jetsons-like teleportation or hovercrafts to speed us from home to work, I guess we have to take pleasure in the familiar (and the fact that we're not eating Soylent Green). And what's more familiar than being back at Chicago's McCormick Center for the BEA?

While being back in the Windy City may not be as exciting as exploring a new location every year, at least regular BEA-goers now have a strong sense of the layout of the trade show floor, know where to locate the educational programs and are better versed in what the city has to offer after hours.

Some of the highlights of this year's show includes a late-night fund-raising concert by Wynton Marsalis; genre-specific groupings of author signings; authors galore at breakfasts, lunches and teas; contests on every day of the show; and an array of meetings for professional organizations. Among the annual gatherings taking place at the show are the African-American Booksellers Conference, the Latino Book Summit, the National Association of College Stores (NACS) General Booksellers Conference and the meetings of the Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC) and the Audio Publishers Association (APA).

The 1999 BookExpo in Los Angeles broke attendance records with 2,000 exhibitors, when the change of location encouraged attendance of smaller West Coast publishers. According to BEA organizers, at this moment (a little more than a month away from BEA and with some publishers notorious for late registration), exhibitors for the 2001 show are at a level that makes them optimistic about reaching 2,000 exhibitors (including booth-shares).

This year's BEA continues tested programs and ideas from the last few years. The trade show floor will again feature three special pavilions. The Spanish Language Pavilion, sponsored by Críticas, features publishers from Spanish-speaking nations as well as U.S. publishers with Spanish-language titles. The Licensing Arena brings together the two worlds of publishing and licensing, featuring licensing agents and intellectual property licensors. The Electronic Publishing and Technology Pavilion, sponsored by the Open eBook Forum, highlights publishers and book production professionals with new technology from e-books to digital printing.

Also returning is the CookBookExpo, a popular attraction last year, which brought prominent chefs to demonstrate and prepare some of their signature dishes in a demonstration kitchen on the trade-show floor. This year's demo area is sponsored by the city of Chicago (through its office of tourism) and the Illinois Institute of Art's culinary arts program. In a kind of eat-and-sign symbiosis, this year's expanded edition will be set up next to the autographing areas where attendees can watch the chefs in action, taste their creations and then hop in line for autographings by the chefs immediately following their demonstrations.

Among the chefs with book deals are Liz Clark (Cranberry Companion, Brick Tower Press), Jimmy Bannos (The Heaven on Seven Cookbook, Ten Speed Press), Richard Leach (For Sweet Seasons: Fabulous Restaurant Desserts Made Simple, Wiley), Jill Prescott (Jill Prescott's Ecole de Cuisine, Ten Speed Press) and Bob Bowersox (Summer's Best, QVC Press).


Recognizing the importance authors play in drawing people to the convention, the BEA has organized a new "Book and Author Salutes" program, featuring themed autographing sessions that will take place on Friday and Saturday at the rear of the show floor. Scheduled Friday autographings by genre include Celebration of Children's Books, 10 a.m.; Salute to Mystery Writers, 1 p.m.; and Salute to Women's Fiction, 3 p.m. Saturday's sessions begin with the BEA's Morning Health & Wellness, 10 a.m., and continue through Nonfiction Features, 1 p.m., and Salute to Independent Publishers, 3 p.m., and finishes with Salute to Latin American Writers, 3 p.m.

In addition to the themed signings, a special all-day educational seminar hosted by Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul, HCI) and featuring Robert Allen (Multiple Streams of Income, Wiley) will begin Friday at 8 a.m. and continue through 4:30 p.m. This $197 program, "How to Create and Market a Mega-Bestseller," is co-sponsored by the ABA and BEA. Geared toward budding authors, the session discusses how to maintain the mindset and motivation to market your book effectively. Also guiding authors through the maze of the publishing industry is literary agent Jillian Manus and Rick Frishman, president of Planned Television Arts, one of the oldest and largest book publicity firm in the country.

As usual there will be authors galore at the various breakfasts and lunches. The first author lunch is for those who arrive early enough to attend a Thursday lunch (11:45 a.m.—1:15 p.m., Room S105B/C) for Christopher Paul Curtis, whose Bud, Not Buddy (Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers) won the 2000 Newbery Medal and 2000 Coretta Scott King Award. Friday's Children's Book and Author Breakfast (8—9:30 a.m., Grand Ballroom) welcomes Sharon Creech (The Wanderer, HarperCollins), Jules Feiffer (I'm Not Bobby, Hyperion Books for Children) and Jack Prelutsky (Awful Ogre's Awful Day, Greenwillow/HarperCollins). There's a tough choice between Friday's two lunches. The first is the free Book Sense 76 Author and Bookseller Lunch (noon, Vista Ballroom), featuring authors whose books have been on the Book Sense 76 list. Attendance is capped at 500 booksellers and 50 authors. (RSVP for two places to Carl Lennertz at The second lunch is the "Celebration of Books" Award Luncheon (noon—2 p.m., Grand Ballroom) where the ABA and AAP announce the winner of the Curtis Benjamin Award and present the Farrar, Straus & Giroux New Bookseller Awards. Authors at this awards lunch are Vernon Jordan (Vernon Can Read, Public Affairs), Naomi Wolf (Misconceptions, Doubleday Broadway) and David Halberstam (The Politicians and the Generals, Scribners).

Saturday's Book and Author breakfast (8—9:30 a.m., Grand Ballroom) welcomes Peter Mayle (French Lessons, Knopf), John F. Welch (Jack: Straight from the Gut, Warner) and Wynton Marsalis (Jazz in the Bittersweet Blues of Life, Da Capo Press). Grammy winner Marsalis will give a 10 p.m. concert at the Fairmont Hotel that evening. Proceeds from the $25 a ticket event will go to the Book Industry Foundation and the Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong Jazz Camp in New Orleans. The Audio Publishers Association is hosting a Saturday Audiobook and Author Tea (4—5:30 p.m., Grand Ballroom) featuring James Patterson (1st to Die, Random House Audiobooks), Robert Crais (Hostage, Brilliance Audio), Jacqueline Mitchard (A Theory of Relativity, HarperCollins Audio) and Bill O'Reilly (The O'Reilly Factor, Random House Audiobooks).

Sunday's Book and Author Breakfast (8—9:30 a.m., Grand Ballroom) has a stellar lineup with David McCullough (John Adams, S&S), Isabel Allende (Portrait in Sepia, HarperCollins), and Quincy Jones (Q: An Autobiography, Doubleday Broadway). And if you needed an excuse to stay late Sunday, the jam-packed author luncheon (noon, Grand Ballroom) is your perfect excuse. Authors speaking between bites are Joyce Carol Oates (Middle Age, HarperCollins), Jim Lehrer (The Special Prisoner, Public Affairs), David Schickler (Kissing in Manhattan, Bantam Dell), John Edgar Wideman (Hoop Roots: A Memoir, Houghton Mifflin) and Sebastian Junger (Fire, W.W. Norton). All day Sunday, the show will celebrate new and midlist authors with signings at their publishers' booths. This ties in neatly with the Die Hard Sunday contest.


There will be three different contests running all three days at the BEA. The final one, Die Hard Sunday, is designed to keep the last day of the Expo lively and works in conjunction with the midlist and new author promotion at publishers' booths. All exhibitors featuring authors in their booths on Sunday will be given a supply of Lotto-like scratch-and-win cards. Visitors to the booth to meet the authors will get a scratch card. Saturday's Independent Publisher Day contest works similarly, with visitors to participating independent publisher's booths receiving scratch-and-win cards. These booths will be identified with green ribbons hanging in the booth. On-site guides will also identify participants in both Saturday and Sunday's contests. Prizes for both scratch-and-win contests include airline tickets, electronic organizers and cash. (Winning tickets can be redeemed at the Bookstore Cafe, in the Small Press area.)

The I Do Business at BookExpo Order Writing Contest runs all three days of the show. Those placing orders at the show will be given signed vouchers from the exhibitor, which they can take to the Bookstore Cafe and drop into a box for drawings that will take place throughout all three days. Exhibitors have donated hundreds of prizes.


As usual, the Publishers Marketing Association's PMA Publishing University is the first out of the gate with a free half-day introduction to the program on Tuesday at the Downtown Marriott. Offering more than 75 concurrent educational seminars, attendees can register for a one-day (five seminars, one lunch) or two-day (10 seminars, two lunches) program. The ABA-sponsored Prospective Booksellers School has expanded to three days under the guidance of Donna Paz and Mark Kaufman of Paz & Associates. It begins Wednesday at 1 p.m. and continues (at 9 a.m.) on Thursday and Friday.

Thursday is full of all-day events. First up is the Audio Publishers Association's Annual Conference (7 a.m.—5 p.m., Chicago Hilton), quickly followed by the National Association for College Stores General Conference (7:45 a.m.—5 p.m., Room S104D), the Association of Booksellers for Children (8 a.m.—4:30 p. m., Room S105B/C) and the 2001 Latino Book Summit (9 a.m.—5 p.m., Room S404A). The African-American Booksellers Conference (11:30 a.m.—8 p.m., Room S502A) is moderated by Clara Villarosa, the Hue-Man of Harlem, New York, and concludes with an evening reception sponsored by Ingram Book Company.

From Wednesday through Sunday, the BEA and will be offering daily, 90-minute sessions on the latest developments in the rights exchange network called "Making the Online Rights Marketplace Work for You" (daily 10:30 a.m.—4 p.m., Room S501A). Each session will begin with a 30-minute demonstration, followed by an hour-long individual clinic with staff members.

Some of the other notable seminars on Thursday include "The 21st Century Publisher: How to Profit in the Combined Print and Electronic World" (8 a.m.—3:30 p.m., Room S501B/C/D) co-sponsored by IBM; "Igniting the eBook Consumer Market" (8—9:30 a.m., Room S504A/B/C) moderated by PW's Calvin Reid; and "Bricks & Clicks: How Do Retailers Best Use These New Tools to Sell More Books" (10—11:30 a.m., Room S504A/B/C) and "Bricks & Clicks: How Do Publishers Best Use These New Tools to Integrate the Digital Publishing Process" (2—3:30 p.m., Room S504A/B/C), both moderated by PW's Paul Hilts.

Some of Saturday's noteworthy seminars include: "The ePub University: Preparing Content for the Big 3: Adobe, Gemstar and Microsoft" (9 a.m.—5 p.m., Room S402A); "Introducing Criticas" (9—10 a.m., Room S401D) with Criticas editor Adriana Lopez; "What I Wish My Sales Rep Knew/What I Wish My Book Buyer Knew" (10:30 a.m.—noon, Room S405A); "Spanish Children's Books: A Market Overview" (10:30 a.m.—noon, Room S504B/C); "Retailing to the African-American Interest: How to Meet a Thriving Market" (1—2:30 p.m., Room S405A), moderated by Max Rodriguez, publisher of QBR: The Black Book Review; and "Reading Groups: New Ideas to Increase Participation and Build Sales in Your Store" (3—4:30 p.m., Room S401D).

As in the past, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) will hold its annual Silent Auction, which benefits the organization that is a strong bookstore advocate in the fight against censorship. The auction of hundreds of items donated by publishers will once again take place at the main entrance of the South Hall, adjacent to the children's publishing area. For those who want to bid via laptop, there is a second component of the auction: an online version (