Observations of the Festival of Books

turkey-vulture-sc5xeyI went the the Los Angeles Festival of Books (FOB), held on the USC campus, on April 12. It’s taken a while to process my thoughts.

First, it was nice to meet my friends from my writing group there. It was also good to get to hear the Trojan Marching Band in person.

As for the FOB itself . . . I was underwhelmed. Twenty acres of bookstores and publishing hangers-on is a bit much, even for me. It was all about dead tree books, too, with no more than a nod at the faster-growing ebook sector. I was depressed by booth after booth of authors who had bought vanity publishing services, giving away the books they’d paid for so dearly, in the vain hope of building demand. After the third time I was accosted by a booth barker looking to smooth my own entry to the world of publishing for a measly five to fifteen grand, I was so done.

Vultures, they were, feeding on the corpses of dreams.

Maybe if I’d actually gone to the panel discussions, I would not have been so jaded. Yet, all the panels I’d been interested in had sold out days before. Besides, I never do well learning from the spoken word. It goes too slowly to hold my attention, unless I record it and put the playback on double speed. I don’t do well from instructional videos, either. I prefer to just . . . read.

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