Highlights from A Busy Penguin Random House BookExpo and BookCon 2018

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Penguin Random House authors, editors, books and colleagues were in constant demand at this year’s BookExpo (May 30 – June 1) and BookCon (June 2 ­­– 3) at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. We welcomed innumerable authors, booksellers, and industry visitors to our PRH booth during the BEA trade show on Thursday and Friday, with masses of book-loving consumers coming to see us Saturday and Sunday during BookCon.


Markus Dohle, Penguin Random House Worldwide CEO, on Thursday participated in one of this year’s SRO events, “Leadership Roundtable: Publishers on Publishing,” along with Carolyn Reidy, President & CEO, Simon & Schuster, and John Sargent, CEO, Macmillan. Maria. A. Pallante, President & CEO, Association of American Publishers, moderated the discussion. In response to the question, “How is the book business fairing?” Mr. Dohle said, “Better than [its] image, actually, both domestically and globally. And there are more reasons to be confident about the future of long-form reading and the future of the book.”

Penguin Random House editors were featured at each of the always-popular BookExpo “Buzz Panels,” where they generated great enthusiasm for the showcased books.

At the Adult Editors Buzz, Becky Saletan, Vice President, Editorial Director, Riverhead Books, spoke of how THERE WILL BE NO MIRACLES HERE by Casey Gerald (Riverhead, 10/2) “breaks the mold for what a memoir should be” as the Yale grad/Harvard MBA author “stands the American dream on its head.” With his rags-to-riches narrative that explores race, class and power, Saletan said, “This book is fire.”

At the Middle Grade Editors Buzz, Alex Ulyett, Associate Editor, Viking Children’s Books, praised MONSTROUS DEVICES by Damien Love (Viking Books for Young Readers, 11/13) for its “Raiders of the Lost Ark-type adventure” and “gripping tale” that “makes the big questions – about life, death, truth, and the stories we tell – feel magical.”

At the Young Adult Buzz, Dana Chidiac, Associate Editor, Dial Books for Young Readers, DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY by Adib Khorram (Dial Books for Young Readers, 8/28) delved inside this book about a half-white, half -Persian boy visiting family in Iran for the first time, talking of how it “demystifies Iran,” while managing a “balancing act of jokes and pathos… and walking a line between friendship and romance.”

Adult Book & Author Breakfast co-hosts, actors and husband and wife Nick Offerman (Parks & Recreation) and Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) introduced their upcoming book, THE GREATEST LOVE STORY EVER TOLD (Dutton, 10/ 2) in alternating, revealing sentences about their marriage. Panelist Trevor Noah, The Daily Show host, comedian and author, drew much laughter talking about The Daily Show’s upcoming book , THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH PRESENTS: The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library (Spiegel & Grau, 7/31).

Children’s Book & Author Breakfast host Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award-winning Penguin Young Readers author, discussed the timeliness of her two upcoming books, HARBOR ME and THE DAY YOU BEGIN, both being published by Nancy Paulsen Books on the same day, 8/28, and said, “I feel hopeful for young people and looking at life through their eyes.” Oscar-winning actress and children’s book author Viola Davis was a breakfast panelist, and she presented her upcoming book, CORDUROY TAKES A BOW (Viking Books for Young Readers, 9/4), and how she imbued Corduroy’s adventure “with all the magic of the stage” on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of this beloved character.


Whether attendees were playing corn hole for audiobook prizes, having their faces painted in the Underlined booth, or waiting in line for one of our highly anticipated giveaways, the Penguin Random House booth was a not-to-be-missed destination on the BookCon show floor.

Our “What Do Books Mean to You?” Post-It Wall quickly filled, up offering inspiration to anyone walking by, and the in-booth bookstore was constantly buzzing with consumer traffic.

Among the in-booth author appearances: attendees made pins alongside Nicola Yoon; lucky winners were able to get their picture taken with PYR authors Sabaa Tahir and Maria Lu; and fans flocked to signings by Kevin Kwan, David Arnold, Naomi Novik, and Rachel Hawkins, among others.

There were many Interactive In-Booth Activities: fans celebrated Deborah Harkness’ upcoming novel, TIME’S CONVERT (Viking, 9/18) with a photo op at the All Souls Laboratory; expert book detectives solved the mystery of which book to read next; attendees enjoyed treats and celebrated Underlined’s first birthday; a life-size likeness of Multnomah author Tim Tebow was available all weekend for a fun photo op; fans entered to win all 100 titles featured in PBS’s “The Great American Read” campaign; and the Handmaids even showed up!

Readers shared their “reading equation” on Jacqueline Woodson’s “Reading = Hope x Change” Wall; a mystery ARC giveaway from Penguin Teen drew traffic-stopping crowds; the giveaway of Anne Rice’s LESTAT drew costumed fans; Little Women devotees lined up to find out which March sister they are; and life-size likeness of Prince Harry and Megan Markle even made an appearance with Rachel Hawkins, author of the teen romance, ROYALS (Putnam Books for Young Readers, 5/1).

Our first-ever “Books & Bubbly: A BookCon Mingle,” a collaboration among PRH Audio Publishing, the Crown Publishing Group, Knopf Doubleday, Random House Children’s Books’ Underlined, and Out of Print, was a resounding success. More than 70 specially-invited book influencers mingled with our colleagues, who touted upcoming titles – many displayed on colorfully decorated tables – while enjoying prosecco, ice cream sundaes, and popcorn, sparking a flurry of influencer posts about the event and our books on Instagram, You Tube, Twitter and Facebook.

The hottest ticket on Sunday surely was the one to see Bill Clinton and James Patterson, the two authors of the brand-new thriller, THE PRESIDENT IS MISSING, co-published by Knopf.

To view more fun BookCon photos, click here.

Throughout Saturday and Sunday, there was great feedback from fans who had attended previous BookCons, who made a point to revisit the Penguin Random House booth. In addition to returning readers, many attendees were attending BookCon for the first time, and we saw a more diverse crowd this year in terms of age, gender, and ethnicity. We hope to see all of our favorite book enthusiasts this summer and fall online or at their favorite bookstore.

Posted: June 7, 2018