Chapter 7 Shelving Dilemmas at Book Fairs

I was looking forward to posting my book fair supply list and talking a bit about using the appropriate reference books to research and price, but I’ve run into a bookcase dilemma while working today. Read on.

Since the upcoming Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair will be my first, I’ve been experimenting with potential shelf layouts of the books I plan to bring:


I will probably be removing the books on the middle shelf of the middle bookcase and leaving them home in order to turn a few more pretty books face out.

I have divided the books I’m bringing into categories — Western Americana, Western Poetry, Books by or about Pioneer Women, Children’s Books, and Fine Bindings. Each shelf will likely be labeled by category. Most sections have 50 books or less. Do I need to alphabetize the books within each section?

I ask because the books look better when grouped according to size or binding type, or even face out on the middle of the shelf. I think that a good visual presentation is what initially pulls customers into the booth. However, I don’t want to pull a customer into my booth and then make it difficult for him to find a particular book. To make it clear, the books will still be grouped by category, just may not be alphabetized within their category. I’ve tried to think back to other fairs I’ve attended (and even the one fair I worked at for another bookseller) and I just can’t recall how the books are organized on the shelves.

When you organize your own books at book fairs, do you alphabetize them by author or do you place them so that they look good as a whole on the shelves or some combination of the two?

And, if you’re in the Sacramento area on September 15 and would like to stop by, I’d be happy to send you a free pass. Just let me know. chris @ bookhuntersholiday . com.

Thanks in advance for the advice.

See you in the stacks!


Filed under Book Fairs, Getting Started

3 responses to “Chapter 7 Shelving Dilemmas at Book Fairs

  1. Pingback: Chapter 7 Shelving Dilemmas at Book Fairs — Books Discussion and Rating

  2. Pingback: Chapter 66 Playing Paper Dolls with My Booth Layout Grid « Book Hunter’s Holiday

  3. Pingback: Chapter 104 Let the Lunacy Begin, Or, Planning for My Next Book Fair « Book Hunter’s Holiday

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