Sold out ‘Book Bonanza' event in Grapevine brings authors and readers together

Book Bonanza was founded by best-selling author, Colleen Hoover, and her sisters as a way to give back

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On Thursday, volunteers were busy transforming a ballroom at The Gaylord Texan into Book Bonanza. The event brings authors and their readers face-to-face for discussions, book signings, and friendship.

"We've always wanted to figure out a way to give back," best-selling author Colleen Hoover, said. "I kept adding ideas on. Like, let's do a bookstore, let's do a book signing! So that kind of turned into Book Bonanza, which we did not think was going to end up this huge."

Hoover, who is from Texas, co-founded Book Bonanza with her sisters. It's raised more than $400,000 for nonprofits benefitting women and children.

"It's a lot of work, but it's really fun because I love books," volunteer Jennifer Chavez of Arlington said. "It makes me happy!"

"It's just like having a coffee with an old friend. You'll sit with your favorite book, or even a new author, new book. It's just exciting," Bee Stevens, a volunteer who flew in from Ireland said. "Give me your words. All the words!"

Book Bonanza sold out, with 2,700 registered and thousands more on a waitlist. There will be 187 authors signing books for readers.

"When so much of our job is online, you're talking over the internet, it's nice to actually see they're real people," author Tate James said. "It's an escapism, you know? It's an opportunity to share a fantasy world, essentially."

The huge event is a long way for Hoover since she sold her first self-published novel 'Slammed' on Amazon "so my grandmother could read it."

"Three months later, that book hit the New York Times as an indie book. I didn't have an agent. I didn't have a publisher. I didn't know what I was doing," Hoover said. "I have one goal when I write and that is to entertain. I want people to pick up my books and find an escape from their everyday life."

Hoover said events like Book Bonanza aren't just fun. They're fuel.

"When people tell me what the books mean to them it gives me the motivation to continue to do it," Hoover said. "I love it."

Hoover's best-selling novel 'It Ends with Us' is being made into a movie starring Blake Lively.

Book Bonanza kicks off Friday with a discussion between Hoover and Today Show anchor Jenna Bush Hager, who is also an author.

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