books by the banks
I had never been to Books by the Banks before (try saying that three times fast) and didn't know what to expect. It was in one of the upstairs conference areas plus the outside halls. Admission was free! You pick out the book you wanted, have the author sign it, and then go to the cashier to pay for it. The event was organized by Joseph-Beth.
It's mainly geared toward children. There were craft areas set up around the halls for the kids to do stuff. I'd say one-third of the writers there wrote children or young adult books. Most of the rest was non-fiction and local.
There were a few national writers there and I bought "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" by Maria Semple, which she autographed for me. "Bernadette" has been on The New York Times bestseller list for a long time.
Amazingly, you didn't have to wait in line at all for any of the authors, even the national ones. And the cashier line moved very quickly.
I will go again next year.