Thursday, August 30, 2007

Free books!

A friend of mine was asking me about galleys today which got me thinking about them. She wanted to know what they looked like, how they differed from finished books, etc., because I told her I would give her one of mine, but then I realized I'd already given it away and ended up just buying it for her.

Galleys are awesome. Galleys are the best job perk of being a librarian. I think I mentioned in my last post how I had tons of galleys from my last library conference. Yeah. My husband went with me- we made a little vacation of it- and his job was to scour the exhibit hall every day for galleys. Oh I did my fair share of scrounging too, don't worry. Each day of the conference we were at the front of the line for the exhibits- the front of a line comprised of hundreds of librarians hungry for books. The first day, the woman right behind me started pushing and shoving us before the exhibits even opened. If you think librarians are meek, don't get in the way of one during opening ceremonies at a conference exhibit hall.

Even just waiting for the exhibits to open was fun. All those books... who knows what you might find. It was so fun to chitchat with the other attendees, everyone nervous and shaking just a little. All that excitement. All that adrenaline. Oh, everyone's friendly and chatty and all, but every few seconds the eyes dart over to the tables, even though you know it's over an hour before you can get down there. The air is thick with anticipation. It's like you're going on a date or something but instead of waiting to jump on some hottie you're just waiting to have at the free books.

Once you get down there it's every librarian for herself. All that gets my attention besides the books are the free bags to put them in. Cause I needed them, let me tell you- I had more books than I could carry in less than five minutes- no joke. You can get books from almost any publisher but for sheer volume nothing beats the big sponsors. You'll know them by the size of their tables, I won't mention any names. Most of them put new books out each morning and throughout the day as they have to replenish so there's always something new. Sometimes they give away new "real" books, like my copy of Michael Chabon's Yiddish Policemen's Union, or books that have been out for a awhile so they can clear some stock. Hey, it's all free. And it's all for me!

You know what the icing on the cake was? There was a post office inside the exhibit hall so we could mail our books home right from the floor- no need to bring them back to the hotel room, no need for extra bags, no need for extra lugging. And for all those books we spent less than $100 in shipping.

Now, I don't want to give the impression that all I did at this conference was take advantage of publishers' generosity. There were some great sessions, some great times, etc. And if I had had this blog at the conference I would have told you all about it as it happened. But like I said, galleys are the best job perk of being a librarian. I get books for free and I get them early so I can talk them up to my friends and patrons and come off sounding all knowledgeable and professional and stuff. And I pass out the extras to my friends and trade some too. It's win-win-win-win!

No comments: