B-Fest was a great idea, and kudos to the people at B&N who made it happen. I for one don’t live in a particularly positive area when it comes to YA book events, so I have to travel to the nearest big city in order to attend something like this. I was excited to see something like this come into the area. Period, the end. That fact will remain even though I was disappointed by this year’s B-Fest.
I’ll start out by saying it just didn’t work the way I thought it could, and I still think it can. I hope that B-Fest will continue on next year, and that the people over at B&N will take the feedback from people who went.
That said, I would acknowledge that people’s experiences at B-Fest this year varied widely and mostly because of one factor: location. In my case, it was also a personal thing.
It didn’t help that my last book event was BEA.
In defense of B-Fest, any event that I went to after BEA probably didn’t stand much of a chance in comparison. However, I loved the idea of giving out samplers instead of ARCs. I know that I probably wouldn’t have been inclined to pre-order Strange the Dreamer if I hadn’t gotten a preview, and now it has the potential to be one of my favorite books of the year. My only complaint here is that the samplers were lacking in variety. There were next to no surprises, and most of the content there had already been featured at BEA/BookCon. Despite that, I missed The Amateurs at BEA, so I’m glad the chance to pick that up.
The trivia/spelling bee was slightly less original, but I understand it because this is an event that needed to be mimicked all over the country. I would’ve stuck around for this, but as much as I love fantasy, I’m not your person for spelling bees on Elvish language and Harry Potter spells. It wasn’t as popular at my B&N, and my only guess is that it was the tiniest bit too esoteric for our crowd. I think the trivia was much more successful. Granted, I wasn’t there for it, but based off of what people have said, I like the layout and the general ideas behind it.
Also, the fact that it challenged hardcore book lovers?
— Mary H (@knoxdiver) June 11, 2016
That’s pretty cool. =w=
It didn’t feel like a book festival?
Part of the problem was that I didn’t go to a B&N that had guest speakers or panels. If you’ve been on twitter anytime in the last week or so, you know what I mean. I love that local authors and bloggers/vloggers got involved, but I wish that there was more of that getting involved. If this is going to be a nation-wide event, let the locals say what they want! It may be hard since B&N is a chain and probably has its own rules and regulations, but allowing community bookish people to pitch ideas and help organize the event could yield more of what will draw people in.
Since my B&N didn’t do anything special, people weren’t super excited to be there. I’m glad that B-Fest helped draw a crowd there (and hey, anything to promote my local store), but it would be amazing to have this become a real book festival type event instead of people coming and going all day.
Even though there were some issues with B-Fest (including the general structure of the event), I still want to commend B&N for going out on a limb for something like this. I hope that it happens again next year, except new and improved.
Did you go to B-Fest? What were your thoughts on it?