BookExpo Canada would appear, on the surface, to be primarily about books – the publishing, marketing, selling, and occasionally writing thereof – but most BEC-goers know that being on the trade floor is all about eating, drinking, and getting free things.
Among the most useful things to get for free are cloth and canvas bags, which are very handy for stuffing with the various ARCs, books, posters, postcards, T-shirts, mugs, toys, stationery, stickers, candy, and assorted unclassifiables that get nabbed by grazing conventioneers.
This year, the swag-and-bag highlights ranged from very classy 40th anniversary T-shirts from Anansi to a heavy metal colouring book (complete with red and black crayons) in the ECW booth and a reported Will Ferguson-branded aphrodisiac over at Penguin Canada. Candy bowls were ubiquitous. Booze was plentiful, though honourable mention must go to the Canada Council for the mimosas being handed out on Sunday morning to celebrate its 50th year – a welcome “hair of the dog” concoction for many trade show participants bleary-eyed from various parties the night before. The spring rolls, spanakopita, and asparagus at the Chrétien reception were also a nice change from the standard hummus and wine served up at most booths.
Click here for a look at just some of the treats and giveaways spotted at this year’s show.