AE Monthly

Articles - June - 2008 Issue

Book Fairs In June

Bf.chicago

The Chicago Printers Row Book Fair


By Bruce McKinney

Planning your June trips Around Book Fairs

As happens every summer Book Fairs spring to life as dealers come together at interesting times in interesting places to attract a book buying audience, swap inventory and catch up with comrades and collectors. June kicks off the summer sojourns. There are five events in England and four in the United States. Here is some encouragement for attending.

I asked Julian MacKenzie of Bernard J. Shapero of London for a perspective on the importance of book fairs for the book collector -

"With the dwindling away of book shops in major population centres, book fairs provide the best opportunity for collectors and would-be collectors to view and handle rare books. A book is after all an object and its appeal partly resides in its look, feel, and not least, its scent. Also, this gathering together of dealers enables the collector to compare offerings, prices, and style of various companies which can help select those booksellers with whom a collector feels most comfortable.

There are drawbacks to fairs but overall book fairs are a wonderful celebration of the book and a unique opportunity for like-minded people to join together."

Clare Van Norman of Wantagh Books in upstate New York, who is participating in the Cooperstown Antiquarian Book Fair, offered -

"The logic of the book fair is to provide concentration and exception: a concentration of booksellers offering difficult to describe and sometimes exceptional material. Both the highly experienced and the neophyte collector find appealing material, the dealer meets new customers and the field goes home renewed. Book fairs are the life blood of the field."

John Kuenzig of Topsfield, Massachusetts and a book dealer for almost ten years is active on the show circuit and participating in the Cooperstown fair for the first time. He explained the power of fairs this way.

"You can't buy what you don't know exists. You go to fairs to learn and sometimes find something perfect to buy."

Jim Presgraves of Bookworm & Silverfish, a veteran of 490 fairs since 1975, had this to say of the Cooperstown Fair specifically and book fairs in general-

"It's a very friendly event with easy access and good attendance. Expect anything, even everything. Dealers participate to sell, shop, learn, and/or talk. Collectors come for many of the same reasons and of course for the possibility of a great buy."

AE Monthly


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