Books, Videos, and Wii: CUP in LA and a Report from our BEA Correspondent

Book Expo America


Like much of the publishing world, Columbia University Press is in Los Angeles for the annual Book Expo America (BEA). At the expo, we’ll be promoting some of our forthcoming Fall titles (stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks for what’s in store at the Press) and reminding people of some of our Spring 2008 that have recently become available.

The festivities began last night when Wang Anyi’s Song of Everlasting Sorrow: A Novel of Shanghai was feted at the party for Reading the World. Here’s a report on BEA and the party from CUP’s director of publicity, Meredith Howard:

Your fearless correspondent writes today from Los Angeles, the site of this year’s Book Expo America. Once a year the entire book industry, publishers, booksellers, librarians, authors, and vendors convene to discuss all things bookish.

It’s not all business of course. BEA is famous in the industry for its numerous parties, receptions and launches to celebrate new products. Last night, on the eve of the BEA, I attended the party to celebrate the fourth annual Reading the World Initiative. Sixteen publishers had books chosen as part of this years Reading the World, and Columbia’s own Song of Everlasting Sorrow is part of the Initiative this year.

I hoofed it over to the beautiful Red Cat Theater in downtown Los Angeles to join the celebration in progress. Right after I walked through the door I ran into Chad Post, the founder of three percent, the resource for international literature at the University of Rochester and one of the main organizers of Reading the World. Chad and I talked for a bit then I snagged one of the free tote bags given away by Bookforum, a sponsor of the party and checked out the selection of all the books chosen for inclusion in Reading the World that attendees could take home for free. Impressed by the selection, I had a hard time deciding between a new translation of Don Quixote or a hot young Israeli writer. Ultimately, proud parent I am I took a picture of Columbia’s own selection, Song of Everlasting Sorrow in its glory on the table, ate some cheese and crackers, and decided that with three more days of the Book Expo still to go, I should pace my acquisitions of new books so my suitcase going home doesn’t weigh a ton. Check in with me on Monday and see how well I’m sticking to that resolution….


Fully embracing the fact that the conference is in Los Angeles, our booth will be “premiering,” three new videos featuring our authors. Don’t despair if you can’t make it out to Los Angeles: watch the videos on youtube: We have videos for Paul Offit’s Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure, James E. McWilliams’s American Pests: The Losing War on Insects from Colonial Times to DDT, and Siddharth Kara’s Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery.

Paul Offit, Austim's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure James McWilliams, American Pests Siddharth Kara, Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery


And for those convention-goers who have dreamed of being a guitar hero or perhaps for those who have not quite “grown up,” we have Wii set up at our booth. Now you might wonder, what has Wii got to do with a university press title? Well, as Gary Cross argues in his forthcoming Men to Boys: The Making of Modern Immaturity, men in their 20s and 30s are increasingly putting off the conventional markers of male maturity (career, marriage, children) and extending their adolescence and adolescent pursuits, which include video games.

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