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22 April 2016 @ 07:31 pm
Warning: rant ahead  
You have been warned. Once again, the time has come for me to play Mean Conference Attendee and chastise so-called "professionals" for their incredibly poor behavior. I spent last week at the TLA Conference in Houston. I had a wonderful time and had the chance to visit with old friends, meet new authors, and even share dinner with some students and alumni. I loved every single minute of that. Karin Perry and I toured exhibits and shot some video at booths which we will piece together into a virtual tour of exhibits at TLA. Today, we drove from Houston to Irving for the second conference, the North Texas Teen Book Festival. Karin and Rose Borck and I moderated panels on topics of diversity, censorship, and labeling. We had about 200 educators come over for the afternoon. Despite our exhaustion, we pulled lots of energy from the audience and from the authors: Alex Gino, C A London, Holly Black, Julie Murphy, Kathi Appelt, Nathan Hale, Cindy Pon, Karen Blumenthal, Varian Johnson, Jonathan Maberry, Christina Diaz Gonzales, and Marie Lu.

HOWEVER...you knew there had to be a BUT somewhere, right?

At TLA, we spied some terrible behavior. I see it every single time I attend a conference, but it is even more apparent when I am working the exhibit booth for our department. Wheeled carts (which, BTW, are prohibited on the floor of the Exhibit Hall) crammed full of ARCs passed by. Others had multiple bags laden with same. In said cart and bags were multiple copies of ARCs. Some of these professionals feel it is acceptable to swoop in, grab all they can, and move on to the next stack. There are three things that trouble me about this practice.

#1: It is not professional. In fact, it is downright rude. ARCs are the very generous gift of the publishers. They are there to help promote the new books. But some folks seem to feel as if these are free and do not cost the publishers a penny. They feel it is appropriate to take as much as they can grab. They are very much wrong. ARCs cost money to produce, people. They are put out as a courtesy. One per customer, please.

#2: Many were simply grabbing books without any regard to whether or not the book would be appropriate for their patrons. About the only question I heard was, "is there language in it?" My usual response to this is to quip, that, "yes, there is language. The book is written in English and has lots of words in it." Grabbing books without taking note of intended audience is one more sign that this is greed at work.

#3: When someone grabs more than 1 book, that means others will get ZERO books.

I also want to believe that not of there ARCs will end up in circulation or, worse, on eBay. I want to believe they will all be read by the people scooping them up. I brought home 6 ARCs. I can assure you I will read every single one of them. I did not take an ARC I did not think would be one i could read and then add to my lists of good books to recommend to educators.

If you were one of the "greedy grabbers," I hope you will reconsider your actions. There is no excuse for this behavior. NONE. I even saw a few people duck under tables looking for anything that might be hidden if the booth was empty at the time. I walked up to one person I saw doing this and asked if I could assist them in finding something. They had the good sense to look a bit guilty.

I know budgets are tight. I know we all want to go back with good books to read. All I ask is that we show some consideration. Take what you can read. Take what is appropriate. And finally, FLOAT THE BOOKS TO NEW READERS. I have a pile of bags and boxes at hoe that are waiting for that floating on. I will be carrying them to PD sessions where I have the option of driving with a car dangerously full of books.

TAKEONE. READ ONE. SHARE ONE.
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