I probably won’t do much blogging from Pasadena, so the blog will be silent for about a week until I return home. I’m really thrilled to sell books at my first ABAA Fair (and terrified — what if no one buys any of my books?!) At one of the earliest book fairs I did, in San Francisco in 2007, I compared my being able to participate in the book fair to Rudy Ruettiger’s ability to be part of the awesome, totally awesome Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team. Though I’m not really an avid fan of American football and I know that lots of people (not me) think the movie “Rudy” is a bit corny, I notice lots of ways in which football is comparable to my experience in antiquarian bookselling. (Perhaps a topic for a future post?)
When I started my bookselling business in 2007, a few people (very few, but unfortunately I have a long memory), some of whom were booksellers and some not, told me that I shouldn’t hope to become a successful antiquarian bookseller or to join the ABAA. Too late to join an industry that some view as a dinosaur on the verge of extinction. Too old to be starting in a business that takes years if not decades to learn. Too busy with family obligations to accomplish or contribute much. Some of what was said to me proved true; some has not. It’s five years later and, thanks to the support and encouragement of many others and to my own stubbornness, I’m still here buying and selling books and loving every minute of it. I’m not a major player, a quarterback of antiquarian bookselling. I don’t call the plays, and I sometimes fumble and have a bad book fair with lower than expected sales. I’m not particularly well known as a bookseller by those outside of this geographic area, and my books are not necessarily the rarest in the room at a book fair, but I made the team and I’m making progress each year. Good enough for me. Thanks for coming along for the ride with me!
So, am I ready for my first ABAA book fair?
“I’ve been ready for this my whole life!”
(If you don’t have time to watch this three minute video clip, I suggest watching from 1:49 to 2:05. You’ll understand why I chose the title I did for this post.)
Whatever happens at my first ABAA fair, whether anyone buys my books or not, I’ll remember getting to this point for the rest of my life. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
Will I ever be carried out of a book fair exhibition hall hoisted on the shoulders of my fellow booksellers? I don’t know and I don’t care.
I’m just thrilled to be a player in the game.
See you at the fair!