Who Was Book Expo For, Anyway?

At least we all got some nice tote bags

Want to feel a million years old? The last time I went to Book Expo, the largest trade show for the book industry in North America, the “Big Six” still existed. Then six became five, and very soon five will become four, with the merger of Penguin Random Schuster House. And Book Expo itself is now kaput, as the show’s organizer announced it would not be held in 2021, or in the foreseeable future.

Back in 2012, Emily Gould set off to the Javits Center for to investigate just what this spectacle of books was really about. Ah, to be so innocent in 2012! Back when our biggest worries were e-books and Amazon singles and iPad readers. Still, the stakes seemed to be, moderately high? “There is a lot of desperation here,” one of the attendees explains.

Deputy Editor, GEN. Previously an editor for Topic, Longreads, The New Republic, and Lapham’s Quarterly. gen.medium.com