Reviews were mixed for this year’s BookCon’s literary fan fest, held on June 1–2 at the Javits Center in New York City immediately following BookExpo. While official attendance figures were not available at press time, the crowd seemed to be a little lighter overall than in previous years but more condensed in a smaller exhibit area. As always, attendees skewed more towards white females in their 20s and 30s—although there seemed to be more men and more people of color in attendance on Sunday than on Saturday, perhaps a reflection of Sunday’s lineup of multicultural authors and an emphasis on diversity in the programming.
While many of the attendees hailed from the Atlantic seaboard region, the show pulled in a national and Canadian audience, as well as international attendees. One woman from the U.K. and two women from France whom PW interviewed all said that they were visiting New York for the first time just to attend BookCon, explaining that there were no equivalent literary festivals in their home countries. “It’s a lot busier than I was expecting,” said Kelly Beestone of Nottingham, England, a PhD student of YA literature. She said she was most excited to meet YA author Leigh Bardugo. “I’ve been to book conventions in the U.K. where all you have to do to get in for anything is to wave your wrist band.”