I couldn’t attend BEA this year, but I was able to follow along thanks to the #BEA09 Twitter feed. It’s actually kind of interesting to follow along this way because you get a sense of the overall picture from a number of people, rather than just one person’s limited observations. Here’s what I got from Friday’s Twitter Feed (links embedded will be a mix of websites and links to Twitter feeds):

1) Chris Brogan seemed to hit a home run with his morning presentation on Trust Agents. People were still Twittering about it hours later (you can see his slides on his website)

2) Many people were excited to report Julie Andrews sightings.

3) Once those sightings died down, others were excited they got to meet Bob from Sesame Street.

4) Reports were that there wasn’t as much swag at BEA this year. Likely an indication of the effect of the economy on publishers.

5) But despite that, there was a lot of buzz on the #bea09 Twitter tag about Chronicle Books‘ tote bags, which were said to be awesome (and did look cool in the picture). They were designed by @nuzzles(Laura Bagnato) and http://www.jeffcanham.com/

6) Many mentions of two booths that had “booth girls” going around in either bikinis or nude bodysuits. Sourcebooks and the COOL-er Reader. I saw only one person speak positively of it, the other mentions were not impressed. I do think it was an odd choice, especially for Sourcebooks.

This Teleread article has a picture of the Cool-er booth.

7) Speaking of the COOL-er Reader, a lot of buzz about ppl checking this out, especially because of the bright look, lower price than Sony and Mac compatibility (though Sony is fully compatible w/ Mac thanks to Calibre). I saw more mention of this than I did of the BeBoook, though I did see one picture of the BeBook. I would like to see/use both of these so I can compare/contrast with the Sony and the Kindle. I’ve already had one person emailing for my thoughts on the BeBook. I can’t give any right now, sorry!

Pictures of the Cool-er Reader at the show in this Teleread article.

8) The Espresso Book Machine was another oft-mentioned exhibit on the Twitter Feed. Lots of positive mention of this.

9) Someone at the panel, Do Publishers Still Hold the Keys to the Kingdom, Authors Weigh In #pubkeys, apparently made the statement “no one wants ebooks for Christmas”. This is such an uniformed statement, I can’t even fully express my frustration with it. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

10) The BEAtweetUp with its personalized badges and amazing organizers was the not-to-be-missed event of BEA. It appeared to be THE social event of BEA. Kudos to the organizers, headed by Kat Meyer.

11) Most sought after author appeared to be Neil Gaiman @neilhimself I was so taken in with the Twitter buzz surrounding his appearance, I’m not sure I wouldn’t have been squeeing to get a sighting of him even though (I reluctantly admit for fear of lynching from fans) that I’ve never read his books.

12) The blogger signing booth sponsored by Firebrand and NetGalley seemed to be a huge success. Bloggers have fans! (but we already knew that).

Pictures in this article from Teleread.

13) Connectivity was difficult at Javits. Multiple, multiple complaints about being able to access wifi, whether on laptop or phone. This might have contributed to less people Twittering, but the #bea09 tag was still active. Presenters trying to stream video during their panels were unable to with provided wi-fi. Ouch.

14) People reported that attendance numbers might be down, but the floor was still busy and the positive energy was high. I have a suspicion that social media like Twitter has helped build this positive energy and caused people to be even more enthused to attend and network/exchange ideas than ever before.

15) For the win: HarperCollins gave out digital ARCs instead of paper ARCs. I have mad jealousy that I didn’t get to check this out, especially since Diana Peterfreund said her upcoming book, Rampant, was one of those dig-ARCs. Big props to HarperCollins for taking this step.

Anyone notice anything significant that I left out? I’m looking forward to watching the Twitter feed today (as much as is possible on a Saturday).

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