I sensed that things were changing several years ago when librarians were first invited to attend BookExpo America. Since then, the powers that be at BEA have made a full out - and very successful - effort to court us with events targeted especially for the library crowd as well as with vendor booths on the exhibit floor that are given the designation "librarian friendly." However, the love for librarians got ratcheted up even further two years ago when the Association of American Publishers' Librarian Committee held its first "Librarians' Sneak Peek Book Preview" at the Manhattan corporate offices of Random House. I am, however, of the opinion that this development has less to do with publishers suddenly realizing what cool people librarians are than with their dawning recognition of the fact that there is a rapidly diminishing number of brick and mortar book sellers to whom they can peddle their wares. Who knows? Maybe the large publishing houses have finally even figured out that public libraries constitute an important segment of their market.
Anyway, this year's sneak preview event was held on October 19, a rainy, windy, and generally miserable day to have to travel into midtown Manhattan. However, once I was safely inside the Random House headquarters, I was part of a gathering that included roughly 100 librarians mostly from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, a handful of people from professional library publications plus another 30 or so representatives from the 13 publishing houses that participated in this event. And who said there's no such thing as a free lunch? We were provided with a very ample buffet of soft drinks, sandwiches, salads, chips and cookies. Each attendee was also given a large publisher's tote bag that contained a random selection of ARCs of some of the books that were being previewed during the course of the day. We were also each given a copy of Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles, who was there to kick off the festivities with a delightful discussion of the ethnic neighborhoods of New York City and of how his appreciation of that great diversity inspired him to write this novel.
So now I will cut right to the chase and list some of the crime fiction titles that the publishers wanted us to be on the lookout for.
A Land More Kind Than Home, by Wiley Cash, April; Elegy for Eddie, by Jacqueline Winspear,March;No Mark Upon Her, by Deborah Crombie, Feb.; Waiting for Sunrise, by William Boyd April; Before the Poison, by Peter Robinson, Feb.
Blue Monday, by Nicci French, March; The Dispatcher, by Ryan David Jahn, Jan.; The Child Who, by Simon Lelic, March;
House of Silk, by Anthony Horowitz; The Drop, by Michael Connelly, Gideon's Corpse, by Preston & Child, Jan.;
The Retribution, by Val McDermid, Jan.
Simon & Schuster
Last Will, by Liza Marklund; The Last Good Man, by A. J. Kazinski; Left for Dead, by J.A. Jance
Defending Jacob, by William Landay
Love in a Nutshell, by Janet Evanovich; Come Home, by Lisa Scottoline; Available Dark, by Elizabeth Hand; Threats, by Amelia Gray; Children of Wrath, by Paul Grossman
Other publishers that participated in the event but were not promoting mystery titles included Harlequin, Workman, Wiley, McGraw Hill , W.W. Norton and Sterling.
Most significant non-mystery title being promoted? That would be In One Person, by John Irving; the rep from Simon & Schuster said that it promises to be Irving's most political work since The World According to Garp. The rep also said that one of the novel's main characters is a librarian.
I guess John Irving ♥ librarians too.