An awesome resource for fans and those wanting to get published are conventions. There are all types out there and some could be happening right in your own state, perhaps your own city. Some conventions are general in scope but plenty cater to specific genres or topics. But they all offer the same reasons to find them.
1) Belonging - Writing is a lonely thing, but a lot of writers are also social creatures. While social media helps with this, there's still nothing more awesome than being face to face in a room of your peers, being able to compare notes, exchange experiences, and knowing you aren't in this alone.
For readers this goes double, as you've now found a place where there are others that love the same books, the same authors, the same TV shows or movies, and you can gush with them in wild abandon and no one will look at you weird.
2) Networking - For authors, conventions are a great place to connect with others for the long term. You get to see others in the field and get seen by them as well. When sending queries, it helps to be able to say in the letter that you were happy to have met 'so and so' at 'blank' convention - shows there's already a connection between you. And if they remember you, so much the better. (As long as it's in a good way! :P)
For readers, it gives the chance to meet other fans and create long lasting friendships. Even better, you get to meet favorite authors and discover new ones, as well as get the skinny on what they are all up to. You can meet the person behind the things you love and enjoy.
Even if you're a wallflower (Like me!), you'll gain benefit from this. I found two of my publishers by just listening in on conversations. :P
3) Learning - Conventions are an awesome place to learn about the trade. There'll be panels with actual pros on all facets of the business of writing, publishing, and more. What pitfalls to avoid, how they got their start, what agencies or publishers are looking for, how not to put a foot in your mouth when trying to be discovered, and on and on!
As a reader, you can discover what books, shows, and movies authors you like love and why or why not. (They're fans too!) Discover sub genres you may not know about or hear about books you might not have come across and more.
4) Costumes - Almost every convention out there encourages people to wear costumes or has a costume contest. So not only does your mind get fed but so do your eyes. You will be wowed by the work and dedication that goes into many of the costumes you'll see. Amazing! If you'd like a peek at some, here are photos of some of the ones at this year's A-kon - an anime convention in June. I posted a bunch of pics from there at my blog.
5) Buying - If you're a shopper, conventions are also for you! Most have a Dealers' Room and some an Artist Alley, giving you unique gifts to buy for yourself or loved ones. They normally have books, but also toys, jewelry, comics, home made items, clothing, original art, and more. (I abstain from looking as much as possible - there's too much temptation! lol)
Whatever you're into, there's a convention out there for you. Why not give them a try and see if you enjoy what they have to offer? Have fun!