This utter lack of diversity is gross. It is inexcusable. And it is really, really embarrassing. Book Expo America is the industry’s flagship event, and the statement it is making on the industry’s behalf is that we believe that what readers–the kind of devoted, passionate readers who fork over thirty dollars to spend a summer Saturday in a convention center–want out of a book event is an all-white, heavily celebrity line-up. (See Kelly’s piece for a bunch of terrific links to pieces that address the problem of diversity in publishing with greater depth.)
Readers deserve better than this. It is not hard to do better than this. The wonderful, diverse list of books being given out by volunteers all over the country today for World Book Night is proof.
So what happens now? Book Expo will likely respond with another apology and promise to do better. But it’s too late. The damage is done. “We’re sorry” is no longer acceptable. It is clear that diversity is not a priority for ReedPop and BEA. Either they are not thinking about it at all, or they are actively choosing against diversity because they believe they can make more money with an all-white line-up. These are not our values at Book Riot, and so we will not be supporting, promoting, participating in, covering, or encouraging our community to attend BookCon. We can’t control ReedPop and BEA’s choices, but we can control this. No diversity = no support.
Maya Angelou famously said, “When you know better, you do better.” Book Expo America and ReedPop should know better. It’s time for them to do better, and to do better from the start." — Readers Deserve Better Than BookCon BY REBECCA JOINES SCHINSKY (via tubooks)