BookCon, Still Planned for July, Announces a Virtual ‘Read-a-Thon’

In News by Porter Anderson

The public-facing BookCon, now postponed from May to late July, is producing a fund-raising program for booksellers Saturday afternoon with author readings and fan interaction.

Image: BookCon

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Some 30 Authors in Eight Hours
As Publishing Perspectives readers know, ReedPop’s BookCon has been moved to July 25 and 26 along with Reed’s postponement of BookExpo to July 22, 23, and 24.

As you may know, the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City, the venue for both the trade show and the public-facing weekend BookCon has been transformed into one of Manhattan’s field hospitals with 2,500 beds. Originally devised as a site for patients not suffering with the coronavirus COVID-19, the site has been changed now to a COVID-19 treatment hospital operated by the US National Guard to relieve the extraordinary caseload crushing the city’s standing hospital systems.

Many members of the American publishing community have watched news images of the familiar Javits interior taking on a look something like—but dreadfully not like—its appearance during the annual trade show. Here are cubicles in rows and long aisles, as with exhibitors’ stands during BookExpo. But the cubicles are for patients.

This image from CNN’s April 4 coverage of the US military preparation of Manhattan’s Jacob K. Javits Center shows some of the patient cubicles being prepared for COVID-19 treatment. Image: CNN

As CNN’s live updates team  reports (Sergio Hernandez, Sean O’Key, Amanda Watts, Byron Manley, and Henrik Pettersson), the US caseload today at this writing (April 7) is at 378,289, and the death toll for the States is fast approaching 12,000, now standing at 11,830. New York as reported its highest one-day toll yet for Monday (April 6), at more than 700 fatalities.

Particularly with all of the Big Five publishers now having withdrawn their participation from BookExpo, it’s not clear that the July postponement dates will see BookExpo and BookCon go forward—nor can anyone be certain how the Javits will be used at that point.

Lance Fensterman’s ReedPop, however, has announced that on Saturday (April 11), it will stream an online “Read-a-Thon” starting at 12 p.m. ET (1700 GMT) and going to 8 p.m. (1 a.m. Sunday GMT). Information about the program—additions are likely—can be found here.

The program promises approximately 30 authors in eight hours, and each of the writers is to do a 15-minute appearance that’s to include a reading and some Q&A with fans viewing the event.

The event is a fund-raiser for the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (BINC) and proceeds raised are to go to booksellers and stores being impacted by the pandemic.

The program will be housed at BookCon’s Facebook page.

BookCon Read-a-Thon April 11 Program

Among participants announced, subject to change, at this writing:

  • 12pm-12:15pm: Introduction and welcome by BookCon and BINC teams
  • 12:15pm-12:30pm: Lamar Giles (Not So Pure and Simple)
  • 12:30pm-12:45pm: Andrew Eliopulos (The Fascinators)
  • 12:45pm-1pm: Kacen Callendar (Felix Ever After)
  • 1pm-1:15pm: Justina Ireland (Deathless Divide)
  • 1:15pm-1:30pm: Justin Reynolds (Early Departures)
  • 1:30pm-1:45pm: Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed (Yes No Maybe So)
  • 1:45pm-2pm: Tobly McSmith (Stay Gold)
  • 2pm-2:15pm: Tahereh Mafi (Imagine Me)
  • 2:15pm-2:30pm: Layton Green (Genesis)
  • 2:30pm-2:45pm: Marie Lu (The Kingdom of Back)
  • 2:45pm-3pm: Zan Romanoff (Look)
  • 3pm-3:15pm: Melissa de la Cruz (The Queen’s Assassin)
  • 3:15pm-3:30pm: Cameron Lund (The Best Laid Plans)
  • 3:30pm-3:45pm: Laurie Halse Anderson (Shout)
  • 3:45pm-4pm: Ransom Riggs (The Conference of the Birds)
  • 4pm-4:15pm: Soman Chainani (The School for Good and Evil)
  • 4:15pm-4:30pm: Shaun David Hutchinson (The State of Us)
  • 4:30pm-4:45pm: Victoria Aveyard (Broken Throne)
  • 4:45pm-5pm: Kelly Yang
  • 5pm-5:15pm: Julian Winter (The Summer of Everything)
  • 5:15pm-5:30pm: Lilah Suzanne (Tack and Jibe)
  • 5:30pm-5:45pm: Makenzie Campbell (Nineteen)
  • 5:45pm-6pm: Emily Juniper (A Strangely Wrapped Gift)
  • 6pm-6:15pm: Hannah Templer (Cosmoknights, GLOW)
  • 6:15pm-6:30pm: Nick Tapalansky and Kate Glasheen (A Radical Shift of Gravity)
  • 6:30pm-6:45pm: Adam Silvera (Infinity Son)
  • 6:45pm-7pm: Joe Hill (Locke and Key)
  • 7pm-7:15pm: Benjamin Oliver (The Loop)
  • 7:15pm-7:30pm: Jennifer Donnelly (Stepsister)
  • 7:30pm-7:45pm: Claribel Ortega (Ghost Squad)
  • 7:45pm-8pm: Ally Carter (Dear Ally)
  • 8pm-8:15pm: Jennifer Nielsen (The Ascendance series)
  • 8:15pm-8:30pm: Lucas Rocha (Where We Go From Here)

In addition to single-author readings, the day is part of a “Virtual Author Tour Series” that was first programmed on April 2.

The donations viewers make to the afternoon event are to go to “assist booksellers who are affected by COVID -19, with serious medical expenses, eviction prevention, funeral expenses, disaster assistance, domestic violence survival, utility shut-off prevention, unexpected loss of household income, and more.”


More from Publishing Perspectives on BookCon is here. More from us on bookselling is here, and more on the coronavirus pandemic is here.

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About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for trade and indie authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.