Chapter 257 The Santa Monica Book Fair, 2008

I’m still unpacking today and am taking a short break to tell you that the Santa Monica Book Fair was a good one for me. This is the fourth book fair at which I’ve exhibited, and I had my best fair ever. I sold books to “civilians” (non-booksellers), librarians, and booksellers alike. I figure that since I’ve shared which fairs were not so good for me, I will share which ones are good as well.

Results were mixed for most booksellers with whom I spoke. Some reported good sales and some, who have sold books at this fair for several years in a row, reported sluggish results. One bookseller said he didn’t sell a single book to non-booksellers, but he sold some books to other booksellers. I think I did well because I was new to this fair and neither the other booksellers nor the “civilians” had seen my stock before. Being new to a book fair, has, in my past experience, usually given me an advantage. As I return to fairs I did last year (the upcoming Central Valley Antiquarian Book Fair in Sacramento, for example), we’ll see if sales increase or decrease from the previous year.

I also got to meet a lot of booksellers from Southern California, many of whom have years of experience and all of whom were without fail friendly, gracious, and helpful with advice for this new bookseller. Truthfully, I am in awe of all they know and were willing to share with me. Even if I had not sold a single book, this fair would have been worth it for the contacts I established with these other booksellers. Thoughtful Husband came with me to this fair. As he is not a book collector, I appreciated his taking the time to help me out.

Here are a few photos. I’ll comment on each, but plan to let the pictures tell the stories.

Saturday, the opening day of the fair, was busy but not especially crowded. The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, where the fair is held is a spacious venue that held at least 50 booksellers (maybe more — I didn’t stop to count).

My shared booth with Tavistock Books was on this aisle. Lots of people came to look and ask questions. A few made purchases. That’s ok. You never know when a person who wants to learn more may later blossom into a book collector and paying customer.

Here are my shelves. I brought a mixture of books — nice bindings, books on printing and typography, Western Americana, books by women pioneers, suffrage items, illuminated manuscript leaves, etc. A big part of what I sold was purchased at a recent housecall. It was a nice feeling to sell it so quickly, though I will miss the prettiest of the books.

I brought a case full of children’s books about space. Some of these sold fairly quickly.

Thoughtful Husband parked himself in a corner with his laptop and caught up on his own work. Having him there to man the booth allowed me to walk about and do some shopping. Photos of new acquisitions coming tomorrow.

Tomorrow: More book fair tales with a special message to booksellers from a customer at the fair!

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