Chapter 10 Book Fair Supply List, Or, Don’t Forget the Books

I’ve finally finished pricing books, at least those I am bringing to the fair. What a good feeling it is! Most are also described and catalogued in my database. I decided after we put the kids to bed that I would work on the supplies I need for the fair. Here’s my final list:

1. Books (ok, that’s obvious, but thought I’d list it for the sake of completeness)
2. Folding/portable bookcases
3. Acrylic book stands (or whatever type you use). I have a dozen small (4″) ones and six large (6″) ones from here.
4. A few extra mylar dustjacket protectors.
5. A box of extra books in case I have so many purchases my shelves appear “thinned out”. (I know. I am exceedingly optimistic.)
6. Fragile and expensive books and ephemera for glass display case.
7. Printed book descriptions/prices for books in glass display case.
8. Glass cleaner for glass display case.
9. Business cards and business card holder.
10. Blank invoices/receipt book.
11. Book Hunter’s Holiday stamp to stamp blank invoices.
12. Pens and pencils.
13. Erasers.
14. Stapler
15. Scissors
16. Tape
17. Calculator (look up the sales tax rate for your fair venue ahead of time).
18. Batteries for calculator.
19. Gooseneck clip-on lamps for each bookcase.
20. Cashbox or box with a lock on it.
21. Optional: McBride books or other small reference or price guides.
22. Surge protector for plugs.
23. Extra lightbulbs for lamps.
24. Resale certificate cards.
25. A sheet for customers to sign up for your mailing list, if they desire.
26. Signage for your booth, if needed.
27. Table covers if not provided by fair organizers.
28. Instructions for fair — load in time, booth number, floor plan, etc.
29. Map and directions to fair and hotel for collapsing in Friday night.
30. Bookmarks, if you use them.
31. Print catalogues (I don’t have any of these yet, but I will soon.)
32. Labels/signs for the sections of your bookcases: Western Americana, Children’s, Pioneer Women, etc.
33. Bags and sold stickers if not provided by the fair.
34. At least two empty boxes for bringing home all of the purchases you’ll make at the fair.
35. Bookends for shelves that aren’t quite full. (I am bringing 3 pairs of bookends.)
36. Bubble wrap for fragile books.
37. Camera (so you can see how I finally decided to shelve my books and layout my half of the booth).
38. Change — I was advised by another bookseller to bring about $200 worth.
39. Pre-printed labels that say “signed” to attach to the spines of the mylar dustjacket protectors of signed books. That way your customer will know the book is signed.
40. Mylar tape (holds a book open to a particular page).
41. Book cradles (used to support a book that is displayed open to a particular page).
42. Chocolate (ok, that’s optional. But not for me.)

There’s another really good supply list here at the IOBA website. Thanks Sue Gallagher and Julie Fauble.

Two other good pieces of advice for which I am grateful:

1. Shop during set-up. Get your books out quickly so other dealers can shop through your things, but once you are set up, get your own bargains — I mean, books — before the general public and other dealers go shopping.

2. From Joyce Godsey at the Bibliophile Bullpen:
“I have posted some book fair advice on the bullpen in the past
but the one thing of vital importance..
bring THREE shirts.
one to sweat in setting up.
a clean one for the fair
and another one to sweat up while breaking down.
(you won’t want to put the 1st one back on).”

This is a neat little crate with wheels I got at Staples on clearance. It’s good for the non-book type supplies:


If I get to the fair and discover I have forgotten anything crucial, I shall throw myself on the mercy of the other booksellers I know. Then I’ll come home and update this list.


Filed under Book Fairs

6 responses to “Chapter 10 Book Fair Supply List, Or, Don’t Forget the Books

  1. Pingback: Chapter 114 Ready, Set, Go! « Book Hunter’s Holiday

  2. Could you tell me where I can get information re: how someone can get started in the business of selling books through traveling book fairs? Thank you so much for your time…..

    Kathleen B.

  3. Pingback: Chapter 181 Book Fair Plans « Book Hunter’s Holiday

  4. Pingback: Chapter 247 It’s Time Once Again « Book Hunter’s Holiday

  5. Rita Robbins

    I love reading your blog! And it is sooo helpful! I just printed out the list of supplies (etc) to bring to bookshows! Incredible and thank you!

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