The biggest surprise in the lead-up to Book Expo America was news yesterday that author Pat Conroy had to cancel his two planned appearances at the show. Via his agent Marly Rusoff, Conroy communicates that he is recovering from surgery, and “otherwise he would be at BEA, which he has always loved attending. He especially regrets being unable to sign with his daughter, Melissa Conroy, who has her first book out, in which he is a character.” (Her picture book POPPY’S PANTS publishes in September.)
Doubleday will still have copies SOUTH OF BROAD, his first novel in 14 years, at their booth on Saturday and at the Saturday luncheon at which he was to appear.
Taking Conroy’s slot at the luncheon is memoirist Mary Karr, whose sequel to The Liars’ Club and Cherry, called LIT and answering the question, “how did Karr make it out of her toxic upbringing to tell her own tale?,” will be published November 3. Advanced reader’s copies will be provided to luncheon attendees.
In a press conference happening as Lunch was cooking, show director Lance Fensterman updated key statistics as of this morning which–while down–show declines smaller than he once expected. Compared to the previous BEA in NYC in 2007, attendance is down 14%;
the number of registered ABA members “is almost identical”; press and media registrations are up 20%; registration of exhibitor personnel (which they will no longer “verify” onsite) is “down about 10 to 15 percent” and overall exhibition square footage is down 21 percent.