In January, Publishers Weekly announced the launch of an online book fair to fill the void left by the abrupt closure, late last year, of BookExpo. It was not clear then what form the event would take in the midst of a pandemic, but one thing was certain: the industry in the U.S. couldn’t go another year without a central place to promote its fall titles. And PW CEO and publisher Cevin Bryerman was convinced that the magazine could bring its leadership, brand, and marketing reach to set the stage for a new virtual fair.

For the inaugural U.S. Book Show, which will run Tuesday–Thursday, May 25–27 (the same late-May time slot previously occupied by BookExpo), both PW and the book industry have stepped up to provide editor and author panels, in-depth programming, and virtual booths intended to inform booksellers and librarians about the fall lists. In addition, all ticket holders will be able to view recordings of the events and visit booths through August 31.

What to look for

The show opens with a keynote talk by Oprah Winfrey (see p. 5 for an excerpt of her new book, What Happened to You?, written with Bruce D. Perry). Additional big-name writers include rock ’n’ roller Stevie Van Zandt, who will take the virtual stage to talk about his memoir, Unrequited Infatuations. Ingram head John Ingram will discuss the first 50 years of his company, as highlighted in The Family Business by Keel Hunt. Anthony Doerr will talk about Cloud Cuckoo Land, his first novel since his Pulitzer Prize–winning All the Light We Cannot See. Essayist Ijeoma Oluo (So You Want to Talk About Race and Mediocre) will talk about her newly signed Be a Revolution. And actor Keanu Reeves will preview his debut graphic novel, Brzrkr. He will be in conversation with co-writer Matt Kindt (Folklords, Justice League of America) and artist Ron Garney (Wolverine, Captain America).

In addition, the show will highlight upcoming children’s books and authors. Longtime children’s bestseller Brian Selznick will speak about his latest book, Kaleidoscope; Sen. Elizabeth Warren will discuss her picture book debut, Pinkie Promises, illustrated by Charlene Chua; and Top Chef and Taste the Nation star Padma Lakshmi will talk about her picture book debut, Tomatoes for Neela, illustrated by Juan Martinez-Neal.

Editors from publishers large and small will be on hand to discuss books chosen by PW’s reviews editors as likely fall standouts in a variety of categories, including literary fiction, mysteries and thrillers, current affairs, biographies and memoirs, picture books, middle grade, and YA.

Book Buzz sessions, organized in cooperation with publishers, will feature authors discussing upcoming titles for adults and children. And a variety of offerings will be available in the virtual exhibit hall, where companies from Abbeville to Z2 Comics will be present.

Educational panels

The Libraries Are Essential program on Tuesday, May 25, geared to librarians, will include two 90-minute seminars and feature 20 library leaders. That day there will also be four industry panels, among them one on the future of office work and one on building an inclusive work force, as well as educational panels addressing bookseller concerns—including one on postpandemic selling and another on selling more books online.

The show will also be an awarding experience. Tune in Tuesday afternoon for a live announcement of the winners of PW’s longtime Bookstore of the Year and Rep of the Year awards. In addition, the shortlist for the Selfies Book Awards U.S., honoring author-published titles, will be announced. The Selfies were introduced in 2020 by PW and BookLife.

To attend all events, there is no need to hop in a car or jump on a plane or train. Everything, including schedules, is available at the U.S. Book Show website (

Supporting Literacy with Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Publishers Weekly is proud to donate a portion of the proceeds of the U.S. Book Show to Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s literacy and academic support programming for youths and teens, including this year’s Summer Brain Gain, which is designed to counter summer learning loss and foster critical thinking. Local BGCA leaders and members are also invited to attend the show at no cost.

A couple hundred clubs tested a pilot Summer Brain Gain program in 2013, and it officially launched the following year. It offers one-week modules with themed activities for elementary, middle school, and high school students. This year’s monthlong virtual literacy program is based on superheroes. As BGCA’s Lesa Sexton pointed out in a recent post on the group’s Club Experience blog, “[Superheroes] seem particularly fitting for all that we’ve gone through over the last year. Living through a pandemic has been a reminder that we have real life superheroes living in our midst.”

As part of Summer Brain Gain, the youngest BCGA members, ages six to eight, will read a variety of picture books about superheroes and watch some of Marvel’s Make Me a Hero digital series celebrating such essential workers as math teachers, postal workers, and nurses by turning them into comic book superheroes. Upper elementary students, ages nine to 11, will read Martin Jensen’s Almost Super, while middle schoolers and high schoolers, ages 12 to 18, will read about Marvel superhero Kamala Kahn/Ms. Marvel, the subject of a new TV series streaming on Disney+ later this year.

BGCA focuses on other types of literacy as well. MyFuture’s Digital Literacy Essentials is designed to promote Internet knowledge and safe online habits. Its activities are geared to children and teens ages eight to 16 and enables them to upload digital projects, build a digital portfolio, and earn stars and badges.

Other programs provide different types of learning experiences. DIY STEM offers a hands-on, activity-based STEM curriculum. Power Hour: Making Minutes Count offers homework help and tutoring for young people ages six to 18 and encourages self-directed learning.

Founded nearly 160 years ago, BCGA, headquartered in Atlanta, has more than 4,700 clubs serving more than 4.7 million young people in locations ranging from small towns to large cities, including public housing, as well as on Native lands throughout the country. In addition, it serves military families in BGCA-affiliated youth centers on U.S. military installations worldwide.

Below, more on the U.S. Book Show.

U.S. Book Show: A New Book Show Arrives
Introducing the inaugural U.S. Book Show—a different kind of trade show, presented by Publishers Weekly.

U.S. Book Show: Libraries Are Essential
The U.S. Book Show’s opening seminar will offer attendees a look at challenges and opportunities for libraries in 2021.

U.S. Book Show Keynote Speakers
The inaugural U.S. Book Show will feature keynotes from Oprah Winfrey, Keanu Reeves, Elizabeth Warren, and many more. Take a look at our featured speaker programming here.

U.S. Book Show Keynote Speaker: Oprah Winfrey
Oprah kicks off the show on Tuesday, May 25, and we’ve got an excerpt from the first chapter of her new book, ‘What Happened to You?’

U.S. Book Show Keynote Speaker: Ijeoma Oluo
Oluo will be in conversation with Rakesh Satyal, the editor of 'Be a Revolution,' on Wednesday, May 26, 10:15–10:45 a.m. ET.

U.S. Book Show Keynote Speaker: Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves makes his graphic novel debut.

U.S. Book Show Keynote Speaker: John Ingram
John Ingram, author Keel Hunt, and PW editorial director Jim Milliot will be in conversation on Tuesday, May 25, 4–4:30 p.m. ET.

U.S. Book Show Keynote Speaker: Anthony Doerr
Doerr will be in conversation with David Varno, a PW reviews editor, on Wednesday, May 26, 1:15–1:30 p.m. ET.

U.S. Book Show Keynote Speaker: Stevie Van Zandt
Van Zandt will be in conversation with Ben Greenman, the editor of 'Unrequited Infatuations,' on Wednesday, May 26, 1:30–2 p.m. ET.

U.S. Book Show Keynote Speaker: Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren will be in conversation with Laura Godwin, publisher of Godwin Books and the editor of 'Pinkie Promises,' on Thursday, May 27, 10–10:30 a.m. ET.

U.S. Book Show Keynote Speaker: Padma Lakshmi
Padma Lakshmi, will be in conversation with Tamar Brazis, editorial director of Viking Children’s Books, on Thursday, May 27, 12:30–1 p.m. ET.

U.S. Book Show Keynote Speaker: Brian Selznick
Padma Lakshmi, will be in conversation with Tamar Brazis, editorial director of Viking Children’s Books, on Thursday, May 27, 12:30–1 p.m. ET.

U.S. Book Show: Industry and Bookselling Panels
In sessions on topics ranging from hiring to politics, industry leaders discuss the big issues facing publishing and leading booksellers discuss changes to the bookselling landscape.

U.S. Book Show: PW Editors’ Picks Panels
Our reviews editors put together eight panels, each of which features the editors of several big fall titles in a given category. Here those editors talk about what makes their books special.

U.S. Book Show: PW Bookstore and Sales Rep of the Year Finalists
A look at the finalists for the PW Bookstore of the Year and the PW Sales Rep of the Year awards.

PW Bookstore of the Year Finalist: Charis Books & More
At a time when so many have rallied in support of the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements, Charis Books & More in Decatur, Ga.,is filling a niche in today’s bookselling landscape.

PW Bookstore of the Year Finalist: Eso Won Books
Eso Won has long been one of the country’s preeminent Black-owned bookstores and, of course, was indispensable this past year,” noted Ellen Adler, publisher of the New Press.

PW Bookstore of the Year Finalist: MahoganyBooks
In the nearly four years since it opened, Mahogany has garnered national recognition for its emphasis that books by Black authors matter.

PW Bookstore of the Year Finalist: Seminary Co-op Bookstores
The Seminary Co-op, founded by five students in 1961 in the Chicago Theological Seminary’s basement as a member-owned cooperative, has become a cultural institution with an impact extending far beyond the Windy City.

PW Bookstore of the Year Finalist: Word Up Community Bookshop/ Librería Comunitaria
For close to a decade, Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria in New York City has redefined what bookselling can look like.

PW Rep of the Year Finalist: Toi Crockett
Crockett has spent her 15-year publishing career at Simon & Schuster. She is currently field account manager, primarily for accounts in the Western states.

PW Rep of the Year Finalist: Richard McNeace
McNeace, who calls on bookstores in California and New Mexico, as well as key museum accounts, is marking his 32nd year as a rep. He says that he has always considered himself more of a booksellers’ advocate than a publishers’ representative.

PW Rep of the Year Finalist: Jason Rice
Jason Rice began his wholesale sales career nearly 16 years ago at Bookazine, where he took phone orders from independent stores in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions and also called on them to sell titles.

PW Rep of the Year Finalist: Gail Whitten
Como Sales representative Gail Whitten has worked with booksellers and publishers large and small for nearly five decades.

PW Rep of the Year Finalist: Marsha Wood
When a new bookstore opens, Marsha Wood is likely to have had a hand in what books are on the shelf. In her 15 years with Ingram Content Group, she has helped more than 300 independent bookstores.

U.S. Book Show: Around the Booths
Visit more than 100 virtual booths at the U.S Book Show to meet authors and publishers and get swag.