Apparently, e-books did not kill the publishing industry. But it definitely has been the kiss of death for store front book sales. I was crushed not to be able to pick up a morning coffee and a magazine or regional cookbook from Borders on Union Square in San Francisco last month. Where have all the book stores gone? My refuge from the noise.
Coming in September are the book festivals. I have to give Baltimore the first billing because since the Library of Congress launched their book festival in 2001, Baltimore has felt a little slighted by the book loving public and author agents trying to get their clients on a bigger stage. Baltimore was the first, and they want you to know that.
Baltimore Book Festival
September 23 – 25, 2011
Mt. Vernon Place, centered on 600, North Charles St, Baltimore MD 21201
On the front page of the festival site is an announcement for JOBS. The Baltimore Book Festival is looking for production assistants to work behind the scenes. Aside from that, new and veteran authors will be part of the festival including hip hop recording artist Common, mystery writer Laura Lippman, Sherman Alexie, Terry McMillan, Tavis Smiley, and Washington Post food editor Joe Yonan who released a cookbook for singles (that means one plate).
September 24 – 25
National Mall, Washington, DC
National Book FestivalJust 45 minutes away, authors appearing in the Baltimore Festival will make a B-line to read at the festival on the national mall. The press release says, the National Book Festival is “Your Authoritative Source for … Authors!” As I’ve mentioned before, the first year of the festival took place on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol with readings in tents and inside the Library of Congress. Co-founder First Lady Laura Bush made a casual appearance in a powder blue pants suit that really looked more attractive than it may read. I’ll never forget seeing her eating a taco from a local vendor. Sadly those carefree pre-Homeland Security days are gone. But the book festival is still here, and obviously needs a lot more room for authors like Toni Morrison, Wally Amos, Sarah Paretsky, Esmeralda Santiago, Garrison Keillor, Lisa Yee, Amy Chua, and many, many others. Come early, stay late. There is a book sales tent/store and a book signing schedule. I usually come to see the authors and run into some friends. Looks like all the good jobs are taken, but the festival accepts monetary donations.
Brooklyn Book Festival
September 15 – 18
Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
New York Is Book Country was the first book fair I ever attended. Part of its success was the open door block party atmosphere of it with all the Madison Avenue book stores hocking their wares inside and out. Well, what did I say earlier about the demise of the store front book store? Last year New York Is Book Country was cancelled. Even their website is like a ghost town. But Brooklyn’s apparently cranking out a festival to satisfy the literary appetites of Manhattan and the borough. Just when you thought Fran Lebowitz would never leave Manhattan. Think again. See the line-up here. It’s definitely NY-centric, but if you can publish there….you can publish anywhere I suppose. Thomas Sayers Ellis will be at the festival. See his Eclectique interview. So far no schedule is posted which says this festival is still in the stages of rising to the occasion.
Poet, writer Kwame Alexander also announced the cancellation of the 2011 Capital BookFest which featured African American authors in the DC area and even expanded to Charleston, SC.
This note is to officially announce that the Capital BookFest will not be taking place in 2011. We’ve made this decision because of economic and other reasons. Certainly, we never started this event to make a lot of money, but we also did not want to lose money as we have for a few years. Also, as I am a writer, I’ve decided to spend more time actually writing. This does not mean that our event will never resurface, but for now, we are taking a breather.
Is the book festival going the way of the book store, or is someone ready to launch an e-book festival app.