I'd discovered BEA nearly 3 years ago through some of the early book bloggers. Years later, some of them have published several books, organized the book blogger convention, and have solidly established themselves.
I, myself, I've mainly read some amazing books, discovered new authors (or established authors that are new to me) and genres that are new to me (YA), made some wonderful friends. I've also learned much more about publishing and the business of books - although it still seems more magical than a business to me.
Part of the magic of BEA is all the book related items, some for sale and much given away.
Being surrounded by people who eat, drink, live books is the best part. There's the craziness with the early morning trek to Javitz. By my second year, I had friends that I'd meet and line up with. We'd compare the books we wanted to read and authors we wanted to meet or listen to speak. This year, I'm hoping to meet Lisa Scottoline and pick up a copy of her new book Accused. When I was at University of Pennsylvania Law and reviewing for the bar, my mother introduced me to Scottoline's series of young, spirited, lawyers living in Philadelphia. Then and now, her books were a huge escape for me.
Louis Penny is an author that I discovered at my first BEA and I've since read every single book of hers. Meeting her will be one of the highlights of my BEA 2013.
Reading, looking around, finding books that I'll want to share and talk about - and talking about books with people equally excited. That's what I'm looking forward to this BEA.