The New York Book Fair - a great success
Claudia Strauss, continuing Schulson Autographs Ltd.
Random conversations with participating dealers provided some sense of how the show went. David Lilburne of Antipodean Books, John Schulman of Caliban Books and Dan Wechsler of Sanctuary Books all reported strong sales.
Several others expressed disappointment but overall the impression was positive. A few expressed concerns over the high number of auctions taking place in New York around the fair, openly wondering if auction activity had diminished show sales. Others mentioned the high number of participating overseas dealers as causing the fair committee to ration space and force some dealers who wanted whole booths to accept halves. Their question: was it necessary? Others welcomed their participation. In other words it was an absolutely normal event. For a large number of book dealers to agree on anything is unusual.
The ABAA dealer with the highest sales total for the week was not even an exhibitor. Ken Nebenzahl, an emeritus member, sold 165 lots at a Christie’s night sale on the Tuesday before for $11.6 million. In walking the show on Friday congratulations were called out throughout the room as he walked by and no doubt a few prices were adjusted post-Nebenzahl as many records were broken.
As mentioned above a special effort was made this year to accommodate every dealer who wanted to exhibit. To do so the organizing committee reconfigured the convention space dividing some booths and adding a dozen more. The effect was very positive. Every space, even the far corners were utilized and the building had a great buzz. It gave the show a whiff of the bazaar.
To some extent the show simply reconfirmed the now well-established trend toward unique objects. All the world has grown anxious about buying pedestrian rarities, interesting though they be. The buzz items these days are the “unique” ones that are as easy to sell as they are difficult to find.