While I don’t wish to repeat what Taylor has already said, I must concur with her: BookCon was easily one of the best days ever.
However, it seems as though this particular best day still came with its down side. Let me start by saying that this event was amazing. It was the most fun I have had in ages. From the moment we walked into the main event hall, I was overcome by a rush as we raced off to the first signing we had on our list. At first, everything seemed to be running smoothly. Lines were forming, people were making sure to step out of each other’s way, and everyone was moving about with relative ease.
This, of course, did not last long–which brings me to my first fault of BookCon 2014. It became apparent that perhaps no one expected the turn out that they had–despite the fact that ticket sales should have been some sort of indication. Whatever the case may be, the organization was not befitting for the amount of people who turned up to participate in this amazing event. Lines became disorganized. Areas turned into a mob of people so thick that no one could get through. At one point, my two friends and my mother in her motorized wheelchair became swallowed up by a crowd so thick that BookCon employees had to dive into the crowd and pull my mother to safety.
The BookCon area that had, at the start, quickly filled with the masses, soon became a room that made me feel as though every step was a complicated movement. I was constantly on guard to keep from stepping on someone, being stepped on, or making sure that my mother didn’t get rushed by the crowd in the rather small aisles where the booths were set up.
Unfortunately, the organization and layout weren’t my only issue. I can, and do, understand that perhaps because this was BookCon’s first official year, the amount of people that showed up was unexpected and perhaps it was too late in the game to really alter how things were run. What I forgive slightly less was the fact that a large portion of the staff was rather clueless on the ongoings of the event. It became clear that while anyone wearing a BookCon official t-shirt had more information than others, there were still a vast amount of workers that didn’t. My group and myself had to ask for directions several times to locate elevators or panel locations. There were some people who were giving out wrong information to people standing in line on several occasions. There was even one lady who changed her facts three times before she finally got the right information across on the fourth try. If those who are running the event and working the event cannot give out adequate information, how are those attending supposed to have a not only pleasurable, but easy time? I can assure you, getting lost for 20 minutes because three different people couldn’t point us in the proper direction was no picnic, nor was following someone’s instructions and ending up in the wrong spot only to be told to go all the way back. It was slightly infuriating.
That being said, I want to make it clear, once again, that I enjoyed BookCon immensely. I’ve tweeted about it. I’ve facebook’d about it. I’ve messaged anyone who will stand to listen to me (and a few who didn’t) and rambled about my experience there. The panels were amazing. Listening to the authors answer questions and explain their thought process or share their stories was a highlight of my life. Meeting authors that I’ve been reading for ages and authors that I absolutely love had me fangirling for hours. And, of course, discovering new authors who really made quite an impact allowed me to leave the event with a huge list of authors and books that I need to check out.
BookCon is definitely an event I recommend to all those who love reading. And I will, without a single doubt in my mind, be attending next year with more friends and family. So here’s to me resting my feet after a fantastic day I’ll remember for the rest of my life, making plans for the next year to come, and hoping that BookCon fixes its kinks and manages to top itself in the year to follow.
— Ann Marie
“You know what the secret is? It’s so simple. We love books.”