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Today was my second annual trip to Book Expo in NYC. Last year, I got a free admission with VIP status from Unshelved. This year, I figured I was going to have to pay the typical $65 admission fee, but then one day—out of the blue—I received a mailer from BEA with instructions on how to register as a VIP…again, for free!! Once a VIP, always a VIP, maybe? Who knows.

My employment situation changed after I registered a couple of months ago, so I had briefly considered skipping it. But, even though I am not steadily employed at a library, I decided it would still be worth the trip into the city. Because really, if you let me in for free AND say I’m a VIP, there’s no way I’m NOT going.

I got to the Javits Center at around 9:30 and made my way to the VIP Lounge, an ultra-exclusive seating area with free food and complimentary gift upon check-in. I could have just had the free bagel and coffee, called it a day, and still left a happy camper. But, the freebies only kept coming!

I walked around the exhibition area for about three hours, collecting free books and goodies, and scoping out the best tote bags. My tote bag count was way higher than last year, and there was only one bag that eluded me. It had a really cool design on it, so I’m thinking the supply ran out. I happened upon a table where Geoffrey Hayes was signing books, so I stood on a relatively short line and got an autographed copy of Benny and Penny in: Lights Out, a new title from a graphic novel series for kids. Once my feet started to ache and my shoulder got sore from the weight of all of the tote bags, I took off. Here’s all the stuff I got:

6 tote bags // 5 books // 3 posters // 2 sheets of gift labels // 2 packs of coasters // 2 notebooks // 1 1GB flash drive // 1 mini stapler // 1 bookmark // 1 pack playing cards

Some book samples.

A nice haul this year, I’d say. See you next year, Book Expo!

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