In My Mailbox: ALA Midwinter Special Edition

Before we get to the good stuff, I think I have to address the elephant in the room. Since my first ALA Conference, the summer before I started Library School (lo those many years ago), I have loved getting the freebies. Who wouldn’t? Honestly, at that first conference, I was stunned when booth reps and panel organizers pressed free books into my hands. I had no idea what an ARC was. But I read the books and I talked about them to other people and I passed them on. That year, Annual was held in my home city, and it was easy for me to take a bunch of stuff home.

Over the years, I grew more selective about what I took. Posters almost never survived the trip home. Pens and sticky notes, on the other hand, were always useful. (One year, I won a bottle of wine, back when you could take liquids on a plane.) Books were a mixed bag, really. I loved getting them, of course, but they were heavy and took up a lot of room. As airlines have begun charging for checked baggage, I had to take a hard look at my options. I am unwilling to pay to ship a bunch of stuff I got for free. That’s just where I draw my personal line.

If you follow my twitter feed, you’ve already seen the first pile of books I picked up at the Midwinter Exhibits. And the second pile of books. And then the pile of books I was reluctantly giving away because they wouldn’t fit in my suitcase to go home.

Some of those books were unexpectedly hot commodities over the weekend. I got a few of them Saturday afternoon when I got trapped in a stampede at the Penguin booth. Their Book Buzz session had just let out, and I happened to be in the booth looking at books when the reps ducked behind the tables, pulled out boxes and began handing out ARCs. The crowd kept growing. After a while, I realized that I really had to get out, because there was a signing I wanted to get to in just few minutes. “If you let me out, there will be more for you!” seemed to be the magic words.

From other reports, what I saw was nothing. I am horrified at the descriptions of people literally shoving other people out of the way for an ARC. This is a professional conference, not the Running of the Brides.

I love using NetGalley, and I wonder if more publishers will be putting their material there rather than printing up bound galleys. I have noticed several houses tightening up their rules on who gets approved, which makes me wonder if their requests have increased a lot.

I don’t know what the solution is. Book Bloggers and Librarians are not enemies. We are (usually) on the same side. Some of us have a foot in both camps. But we shouldn’t have to tell people basic rules like “Don’t take the books that have a sticker that says ‘Do Not Take’ on the cover.”

Well. The Exhibits in Anaheim should be interesting.

While we’re all pondering what to do, I present what actually ended up coming home with me:

Here Come the Girl Scouts!Who Am I? Balloon Toons: The Super Crazy Cat Dance (Balloon Toons Early Readers) Balloon Toons: Doggie Dreams Big Bad Sheep Prairie Evers Racing The Moon The Moon Over High Street Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, and a Very Strange Adventure Remarkable The Paradise Trap The Case of the Deadly Desperados (The Western Mysteries, #1) The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy #1) The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook Neversink Between You & Me The Miseducation of Cameron Post The Difference Between You and Me Kiss the Morning Star In Darkness Gilt Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip Beneath a Meth Moon Ice, Mud and Blood: Lessons from Climates Past (Macmillan Science) Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

And four more with no cover art yet:

Most of them were ARCs, but there were a few free finished books in there: both Balloon Toons books (thanks, Blue Apple Books!), In Darkness (thanks, Bloomsbury USA!), and Ice, Mud and Blood (thanks, MacMillan!). I bought the copy of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (for $5 – thanks, Grove/Atlantic!) so that Jeanette Winterson could sign it for me along with the ARC of her new memoir. (I tweeted my excitement about meeting her – I’m entirely too amused by the “women” glyph floating above our heads.) The Balloon Toons and In Darkness have gone to the library to be processed into the collection. The others I’ll be reading, reviewing, and passing onward.

So, #ALAMW12-ers, what did you bring home?

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