Book Event Etiquette - Bookish Discussion

The purpose of this post is to have a discussion.I am not trying to call anyone in particular out and not looking to cause trouble.I understand that we all have different opinions and I hope that we can have a healthy and respectful discussion.

I recently attended my fourth book event. Each event has been completely different - different locations, different number of authors, and different size events. Being a blogger from a somewhat small blog I am always a little nervous attending these events, but always super excited.

girl animated GIF At the two larger events, there were a few things that struck me about etiquette at these events. The biggest thing that I noticed was that there were several people at these events with multiple bags of books to be signed by authors at these events. At the most recent event I went to, I saw at least five people with three bags filled! Like busting at the seems filled. I get it, these bloggers have multiple collections of these authors books (ARCs, US, UK, etc),  and they LOVE these authors; and to be honest they are lucky to have so many books. I also know that a lot of times, bloggers like to have extra copies signed in order to host giveaways on their blogs. But looking at the crazy long lines, I felt completely annoyed. I felt like these bloggers were monopolizing author time and being really inconsiderate of the rest of the people attending the event. I find it particularly annoying and rude when there is a time limit on the book signing.

On the other hand, there is almost always a book seller at these event, usually a small, locally owned business. I personally feel obligated to buy books at these events because I like to support local businesses. Again, when I see people walking in with 3 bags of books and no intention of making a purchase, I feel annoyed, kind of feel like they are stiffing the book seller and the host of the event.

So, I am curious what are your thoughts about etiquette in terms of bringing a large number of books to these events? Have you experienced this, if so how does it make you feel? Or, are you one of the bloggers who does this and has a different perspective to add to the conversation?


  1. Hmm, I have actually never experienced this. Or maybe I have. I mean there was this one event in Rochester where people were bringing in their own books, but I was near the front of the line so I didn't really have to wait that long. I think it would be kind of obnoxious if BAGS of books were brought in just because it takes up a TON of time. But I also think that book events shouldn't force people to buy the books at the location to get signed. Anyways, I want to say that I think there definitely needs to be some maximum number of books. That way it's less of a pain to the people behind in line, and also to the author.

    Awesome discussion Emily!

    1. Thanks Val! I was a bit hesitant to write this post, because I didn't want to offend people. But I figured what the heck, let's talk about it.

      I have been to a couple events where the book seller specifically stated that only books purchased at the event could be signed. I wasn't bothered by it since I am sure it is costly to host an event, but on the flip side I get that sometimes people want to have their favorite well-worn copy of a book signed.

      I agree, a max number of books might be a good way to keep things fair, not to mention save the poor author's hand

  2. This is an interesting question and a tough one to answer! At my local indie (Anderson's Bookshop), attendees are required to buy the book in order to get a ticket to the signing. I guess there is a loophole that you can wait until the end of the line with no ticket and still get your book signed but I always purchase the book the author is there to promote! So I guess I don't run into that situation often where people are bringing in ONLY books from home and are not purchasing at all!
    I have been that person who brings BAGS of books though. Marissa Meyer signed 11 for me when I met her for the first time and Leigh Bardugo has signed about just as many when I saw her again the other week -- BUT I always, always, always wait until the end of the line to do that because I don't want to hold up the line for those who have one book. I also tweeted the authors/publicists about my concern of bringing too many books and being obnixous and got green lights to bring so many (publicist: "She'd love that!" Author: "Do eeet") so they were forewarned so to speak haha!
    It's not often I have such large collections to bring in to get signed but I always try to be courteous when I do so! I know it's super annoying to have to wait behind someone who does that so I'm always at the end of the line and I try to get "approval" first.
    Also, many of those books in that bag have already been purchased from my local indie from the last time I was there or from previous events with the same author but I hadn't read it yet and wasn't ready for it to be personalized.
    I totally understand the frustration levels of seeing that! Speaking for myself as a collector, I try not to be too obnoxious haha!

    1. Thank you so much! I'm so glad that someone with lots of books has contributed to the conversation!

      I agree, it's nice to purchase the book to support the author. I've also been to events where a purchase of some kind was required and I never mind that obligation.

      I appreciate that you take the time to check about bringing lots of books and wait until the end. It's really considerate of you.

      I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been annoyed at the last event if I wasn't two people behind someone with like 15 books for one author to sign. I really do understand that people want their collections signed and they deserve that, it was more about the consideration of others.

  3. This is hard for me as I am in the UK and all the signings here that I have ever attended have been at massive, very well known bookshops - mainly Waterstones. So I usually bring books with me as they are very expensive to buy on the day. I have to admit to doing this once myself... OOOPS! It was for a Sarah J. Maas event and I took all her books... in hardback and paperback. ARGH! Sorry... I couldn't help myself. She is my favourite author, other than J.K. Rowling and I could not stop myself. But that's the only time I have brought multiple copies of a book for an author to sign.

    1. I totally understand wanting to have copies signed. I guess I was just shocked to see people with a backpack and a large bag on each arm. I like that one blogger said she checks first and stands at the end of the line to be respectful of others. I guess this post was more about figuring out what everyone thinks


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