Long lines for Billy Crystal's opening night performance, long waits for workers to set up booths and the revelation about a long-held secret were some of the highlights just before the official kickoff of BookExpo America in New York this past weekend.

Crystal's standing-room-only performance evoked howls of laughter from the crowd. But while the native New Yorker entertained attendees, the New York locale—with its higher costs of labor and stringent union rules—had more than one exhibitor on edge about getting exhibits finished on time. The disclosure that W. Mark Felt was Deep Throat put the pre-BEA focus on a book published three decades ago and on speculation about when Bob Woodward's next book would be published. The latter mystery was solved when Simon & Schuster announced that The Secret Man will be released in July. The early BEA panels included a sizzling session on how to market to 18- to 34-year-olds as well as a Google panel that offered little more than testimonials about Google Print. No questions were taken on the more controversial Google Print for Library program. Among the practical suggestions offered at the young adult panel: market to mobile phones, create more lower-priced books and hire more young people.

Hyperion v-p and editorial director Will Schwalbe stole the show at the editor and bookseller buzz panel with a heartfelt endorsement for a single title: the memoir The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer, a Pulitzer Prize—winning journalist and son of a single mother, who elegizes the Long Island tavern where he spent his youth seeking male role models in the "liars, cads and crazy drunks" who passed through.

Among the flurry of announcements made on the eve of the fair was word of the merger of QBR: The Black Book Review and Black Issues Book Review, plus the formation of a new black publishers trade association. Niani Colom, associate publisher of Genesis Press and one of the organizers of the African American Book Publishers Trade Association said the organization will launch with about 10 members, aiming to expand the influence of African-American publishers.