May 31 to June 2, Javits Center, Midtown; badge prices vary.
BEA is the big kahuna of local book fairs, drawing industry types looking to ply their wares to foreign publishers as well as librarians looking to spice up their lives by getting a glimpse of Stephen King (this year he’s doing an “author breakfast,” as are astronaut Scott Kelly, comedian Whitney Cummings, and Black-ish creator Kenya Barris). Autograph hounds can get the John or Jane Hancocks of authors like East Village poet Eileen Myles, whose book Afterglow (a dog memoir), about her 16-year relationship with her pitbull Rosie, comes out in September. Also appearing are feminist writer Jessica Valenti and the one and only Neil Patrick Harris. Among the industry panels are crowd-pleasers about comedy (with John Hodgman and Denis Leary) and, of course, first amendment “resistance” (with PEN America). Sorry, y’all, the Evening with Hillary Rodham Clinton is sold out, so you’ll just have to keep looking for her in the woods. While you’re touring the exhibitor floor, make sure to welcome Soft Skull Press back to New York.
June 3 and 4, Javits Center, Midtown; tickets $30-$35.
Hot on the heels of Book Expo, and also in the Javits Center, BookCon is run by the same people and is BEA’s more populist sibling. Instead of Hillary, you’ll get Chelsea Clinton. Among the panelists are comedian Marc Maron, there to plug a new book based on his WTF podcast; actor Jeffrey Tambor, who has a new book of personal essays, Are You Anybody?; and newly trending literary legend Margaret Atwood, who will be speaking to the showrunner of The Handmaid’s Tale. There’ll also be an appearance from a B+B favorite, Scott Rogowsky, prankster and Running Late host best known for taking some highly questionable books onto the subway. And, in case you miss him at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, science guy Bill Nye will be in the house.
June 3 and 4, Knockdown Center, Maspeth;
This year, the festival formerly known as the Bushwick Art Book & Zine Fair is being held in Queens, so let’s just call it BABZ Fair. Occurring on the same weekend as BookCon, this fair is its indie counterpart, and will feature eclectic offerings from over 100 publishers. Among those exhibiting and presenting are Williamsburg comics shop Desert Island; Jeremy Nguyen, the Bushwick satirist whose comics have landed in the New Yorker; Greenpoint comic artist Tony Wolf; Brooklyn-based Maga Books (no relationship to Making America Great Again); and Bushwick bookstore and sexy chess host Molasses Books. Wendy’s Subway, the non-profit library and writing space that moved from Williamsburg to Bushwick a year ago, will host feedback sessions for those who want to bring in-progress work. Should you want to self-publish that work, Red Hook art-book publisher Small Editions will be leading a bookbinding workshop.