I’ve always wondered what heaven might look like to a book lover like me. I suspect it might just look like the BookExpo America.

If you’re in the NYC area this weekend, you should try to make your way to the 2009 BookExpo America (BEA), the largest annual book trade fair in the U.S. Every publisher imaginable will be there, showing off the latest releases and newest fads – more than 1,500 at last count. Authors, librarians, booksellers and buyers will also be there to get their own slice of book heaven.

There’s a special “Autographing Area” where authors can meet and greet fans. With hundreds of authors taking the time to show up, there is literally someone for everyone to meet, including Meg Cabot, Ally Carter, Mary Higgins Clark, Katherine Paterson (!), Nicholas Sparks and Tomie dePaola.

There are other special events, including panels for children’s, YA, and African-American literature. There’s even a designated “New Media Zone” – proof that the publishing world is finally waking up to the reality of social media. There’s also a “Big Ideas” conference with a variety of sessions like “Protecting Your Digital Content” and “Reaching Boomer Book Buyers Online.” This year’s Global Market Forum will focus on books and publishing in the Arab world.

For 4 days, the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in NYC will transform into a book lover’s paradise, with more than enough stimulation to cause a book overload.

I cannot believe that I won’t be there. And yes, I’m totally bitter. *dramatic sigh*