Category Archives: Book Fairs

The Collective Returns, Catalogue for the 2013 California Antiquarian Book Fairs

CollectiveFinal (2) (dragged)

The Collective Returns: A Catalogue for the 2013 California Antiquarian Book Fairs

Last year at this time, a group of bookselling friends who span the coasts of the country decided to jointly produce a catalogue of books for sale at the California book fairs in February. It was such a success that we decided to do it again. I am happy to present The Collective Returns: A Catalogue for the 2013 California Antiquarian Book Fairs. Click on the link (not the image) to download a PDF or come visit us at the book fairs and get your very own print copy. This year I featured some original Dante art by California artist Sandow Birk. Click on the PDF link and you can see it for yourself.

Here are a few other books that I hope to have time to preview here at the blog in the week prior to San Francisco’s California International Antiquarian Book Fair (February 15-17, 2013):

* A lovely, small collection of fine press books.

* Beautiful books with hand-painted bindings or handwritten content.

* Ephemera and photography printed in San Francisco prior to the 1906 earthquake and fire.

* A few books and menus of interest to cocktail and mixology afficionados.

* A photo album with many original photos of San Francisco in the days immediately after the 1906 earthquake and fire, taken by a professional photographer.

* A set, complete in 13 volumes, of Campaigns of the Civil War (published in 1881 by Charles Scribner’s Sons and written by some of the major military, political, and historical figures who were part of the Civil War.)

* And of course, some new Dante items, new items written by or about American women, and new Western Americana.

See you at the fair!


Filed under Book Fairs, Catalogues, Uncategorized

Chapter 721 Comfort Found In Good Old Books

Last weekend was the Pasadena Antiquarian Book Fair and this weekend is the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair. Due to other commitments, I couldn’t attend or sell books at either fair. I was a bit mopey about missing an opportunity to buy and sell books and to visit with my bibliophilic buddies, but  I chose to take comfort in a few things like my family and that familiar standby, good old books.

In addition to visiting a local estate sale to go book shopping on Friday afternoon, I noticed a few things around my home that make me realize that, while I know I’d definitely enjoy the book fairs, I’m always glad to be home.  Here’s what I noticed just by being here this weekend. First, Huck, who recently turned 12, has decided to add a touch of whimsy to my autumn decor:

Those are juggling balls you see on the left. Huck is teaching himself to juggle. This I have got to see. And I also found him conducting some kind of scientific experiment in our kitchen:

I’m rather afraid to ask what that’s about. 🙂

And then there’s Tom. Even though I stopped blogging for a long while during the spring and summer, my sons kept growing up and older. Tom started high school last month. High school! Here’s a random snapshot from the corner of his bedroom. I’d say it’s fairly representative of his current teenage state:

Skateboard for getting to and from school. Homework in backpack. 3-D glasses from Friday night movie with friends. Beatles guitar picks. Many of his current major interests are represented in that one corner — skateboarding, studying, movies, music. Not necessarily in order of importance. 🙂

Here’s a closeup of The Beatles guitar picks, which I thought were kind of fun:

When I see little vignettes around the house such as the one that I just showed to you, I’m always amused and pleased  by the completely unexpected ways in which these boys add life to my house. Then I’m grateful that I’m here to see it.

And now for the book related part. On Friday, I had to pick up Tom and three of his friends and then Huck at school. Lucky for me, the Bookmobile also doubles as a Mom-mobile. It can safely convey lots and lots of kids and teenagers as well as books.  On my way to Huck’s school, I saw an estate sale advertised on a nearby street. Of course, I took what I expected would be a short detour. (N.B. Whenever you make a stop to look for books when you don’t really have time to stop, it is virtually guaranteed that you will uncover a treasure trove of good finds.) One half-hour later, I was receiving text messages from five boys who really needed a ride and wondered where I was.

I quickly made my purchase and left to pick them up. What I found involves a lot of photos and will have to be shown to you over the next several posts, but I promise it will be interesting.

See you in the stacks!

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Chapter 717 Views from the Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair

The booth across the aisle from mine at the Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair. The booths were this busy most of the day.

Last weekend I had the good fortune to exhibit and sell books at the Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair. Of course, I also had the good fortune to socialize with my fellow booksellers and some repeat customers as well as to buy some books. This fair, held twice a year, in September and in March, was the very first fair for Book Hunter’s Holiday way back in 2007, and as such, it holds a special place in my heart as one of my favorite book fairs.

It’s a small, regional fair, with around 60 dealers. I like it because it’s not too far from home and, though sales are sometimes good and sometimes not as good, I almost always find good books to buy at reasonable prices. I was nervous this time around, because about a year-and-a-half ago, I had my worst sales ever at a book fair at the Sacramento fair. While that’s more a reflection on my bookselling skill than on the fair, I’ve been a little tentative about fairs since then. Still, I just can’t miss the opportunity to buy and sell books and to have dinner with my fellow booksellers so close to home and at such a reasonable price. And you can never truly predict when or why one fair will be good and another bad. When I average it out over the five years I’ve done this fair, Sacramento has more often than not been a profitable enterprise for me.
This time around, the promoter of the fair, Jim Kay of sold out every exhibitor space and had a waiting list of exhibitors. This is in no small part due to his willingness to keep the fair affordable for dealers, to promote and advertise the fair heavily, and to his sense of humor. Every time I have done this fair, whether sales have been high or low, I know that Jim consistently gets lots of people through the door — last time I did this fair, it was over 600 people for 60 dealers.

The weather was beautiful, with hot Indian Summer temperatures and sunny skies. I packed in a hurry late Thursday night and hoped the fair would be a successful one. No matter whether my sales were good or bad, I knew that at the very least I’d have a great weekend with my fellow booksellers. There were over 60 booksellers, most from west of the Rocky Mountains, and they included me (Book Hunter’s Holiday), Mr. Z (Tavistock Books), Brad Johnson (The Book Shop), Taylor Bowie (John Michael Lang Fine Books), Stephanie Howlett-West (S. Howlett-West Books), Jim Graham (James Graham, Bookseller), John Howell (John Howell for Books), Ken Sanders (Ken Sanders Rare Books). A few other booksellers also came up to assist, most notably Zhenya Dzhavgova (Z-H Books) and Greg Krisilas (Coconut Rose Rare Books and Autographs). A couple more Bay Area booksellers were also seen at the fair, examining (and sometimes buying) the books of their colleagues, including John Windle (John Windle Antiquarian Books) and Bob Haines (Argonaut Book Shop). I was sorry that I didn’t get to leave for the fair earlier, which would have also given me time to shop the lovely book shop of Sacramento bookseller, Barry Cassidy (Barry Cassidy Rare Books). Next time!

As far as the Sacramento fair goes, this one was good for me in all ways — selling books, buying books, and fraternizing with my bibliophilic buddies. I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story. Rather than take pictures of my own booth, which I’ve done many, many times before, I thought I’d share photos of some of my colleagues and their booths:

Brad Johnson of The Book Shop created a welcoming atmosphere in his booth.

Zhenya Dzhavgova graces the booth of John Howell for Books.

Jim Graham shows Greg Krisilas a good book.

From right to left: Stephanie Howlett-West, me, and Stephanie’s assistant for the fair, Kim (Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, 2012).

Brad Johnson and Ken Sanders celebrate the end of another Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair.

Post-fair celebratory bookseller dinner with what one bookseller called a “rogue’s gallery”.

See you in the stacks!

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Chapter 716 Back to Work, Back to School, Back to Books

If you’re still checking on this blog after the past several months, I am amazed. And if you’re still there, yes, I am still here. The blog and I have been silent for months for a variety of reasons, most of which are not compelling to anyone but me. To all who have emailed or called or asked in person, thank you. I very much appreciate all who noticed my absence and took the time to check in with me. And even if you didn’t notice my “radio silence” until you read this very post, thanks for reading right now. I am happy to report that I am fine, that my family is fine, and that Book Hunter’s Holiday is still here. There are a few new things to report about Book Hunter’s Holiday, and I’ll elaborate on that next time I post, which will likely be after this coming weekend’s Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair.

(Poster above is a 1940 Works Progress Administration poster. I saw it recently on a bookish website, but I am sorry to say I can’t recall which one. In any case, thanks to the person who first posted it.)

See you in the stacks!


Filed under A Family Business, Book Fairs, Organization, Uncategorized

Chapter 715 I’m Not The Only Bookseller Who, For Better Or For Worse, Loves Book Fairs

The New York Antiquarian Book Fair is happening this weekend — and I’m here, where I usually am, in California. Some day at some point in the future, I will make my way to the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, but right now life at home is not to be missed.  Look at these photos of the very rare (but not unheard of) weather we had last night:

Credit:  Phil McGrew/SF Gate

That’s lightning striking the Bay Bridge. And here’s the Golden Gate Bridge:

Have I said aloud that even though replacing our roof was an inconvenient and very expensive project, I’m so thankful we did so? Despite very heavy downpours, high winds, hail, thunder, lightning —  and yes, even a tornado warning —  there was not a drop of water inside the house last night. I am so grateful for that.

While I’ve literally been helping to keep a roof over my family’s head, I’ve also been thinking of my bookselling colleagues at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair and hoping that there are lots of book sales and that lots of fun is had by all. I have no doubt that Ian Kahn will keep us all informed about the fair with his usual photo-filled posts over at the Lux Mentis blog.

One of my bookselling colleagues and partners in February’s Collective Catalogue endeavor is writing for about being an entrepreneur.   Sunday Steinkirchner of B&B Rare Books has written a great post on the pleasures and pitfalls of book fairs and of owning one’s own business. She captures the essence of that and confirms some of my own book fair experiences when she writes:

“Trade shows are also the epitome of risk. They are expensive and time consuming, and there is no guarantee that the investment will pay off. We’ve had shows where we have doubled our investment within the first few hours… dinner on us! We’ve had complete busts whereby we and other sellers have resorted to flinging rubber bands at each other for entertainment… time to eat take-out in the hotel room. The potential for business can also be intimidating. When high expectations are not met, the tension and anxiety on the long drive home can be overwhelming.”

I highly recommend that you pop over here to read all of it.

See you in the stacks! Someday in the future, I’ll also see you at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair!

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Chapter 713 Spring 2012 Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair Report

I should not write things like, “You can expect a full report on the Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair upon my return,” because that inevitably doesn’t happen.  This time, I’m happy to report that my delay in writing a post for the blog is caused by a happy event — Phase One of our huge home repair project. After the roof sprung a massive leak right into the living room the week before the San Francisco Antiquarian Book Fair in February, we had to think long and hard about replacing the roof and seriously fixing some other long-deferred home repairs. Phase One (new roof) began today.

An insulation company is removing the old insulation from the attic/crawl space as I write. Once that’s done and we get some sunny weather, the roofer will remove the old roof, new insulation will be put up in the attic to keep the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and then the new roof will go on. Blogging may be infrequent while we try to make the jobs of the insulator and roofer as easy as possible. We’re hoping the job is completed before rain enters the forecast again on Saturday.

(Note: I started writing this post four days ago. It’s now Saturday and the roof is covered in boards and paper (i.e. water tight). The shingles will go on next week. It’s pouring rain today with huge gusts of wind. So far. So good. I’m holding my breath until the shingles are on next week.)

Fortunately, those who have been eager to hear about the fair can read the report of S. Howlett-West Books, here.

As to my fair, it went pretty well this time. I went to Sacramento a day early and had a chance to spend a couple of hours shopping in the beautiful shop (in a cute bungalow-style home) of Barry Cassidy Rare Books.   Barry recently bought a large collection of 60,000 books, which he is moving into his shop in increments.  If you’re in the Sacramento area, I highly recommend book hunting here. You won’t be disappointed.

Barry Cassidy Rare Books in Sacramento:

After shopping at Barry’s, it was off to set up for the fair. My good friends from Carpe Diem Fine Books couldn’t join us this time, so Mr. Z. and I split a large booth space.  While there were lots of familiar faces, there were also a few booksellers trying their hand at this fair for the first time:  John Howell for Books, Michael Clausen, Asian Steppes Antiquarian Books, Shakespeare & Co. of Berkeley, Vela-Libra Booksellers, and Discoveries West Gallery and Archive.  (Note: not all of these sellers have websites, but they all have books for sale. You should plan to come to a future book fair to see their inventory for yourself.)

Here are a few photos from around the fair:

The shared booth of Book Hunter’s Holiday and Tavistock Books. (That’s Mr. Z in the orange San Francisco Giants cap. He is a die-hard Giants fan.)

The booth of Stephanie Howlett-West of S. Howlett-West Books:

John Howell of John Howell for Books keeping busy:

A few close ups of my books:

From the small collection of books (some signed) I purchased just before the fair:

Pretty books whose covers I like:

Mostly Western Americana:

A few close ups of the items in my glass counter case:

I bought some books during set-up, even purchasing a really unusual item in partnership with Mr. Z. (More on that at a later time.) I’d like to show you photos of what I purchased, but given the work that’s going on in my house at the moment, the books are all boxed up so that they don’t get dusty and I don’t have them readily accessible.  I sold books at a steady pace during this fair, a great improvement over my performance at the last March Sacramento fair.

My favorite thing about this regional fair is that it’s small size is an advantage:  one can scout the entire room in a day, the booksellers you know are nearby and it’s easy to get across the room to meet the booksellers you don’t know. Jim Kay, the promoter of the fair, does a fantastic job getting a good turnout for the fair. The aisles are crowded with people, some browsing and some buying, all bibliophiles.  This fair also has a nice mix of dealers with books at all price ranges. Good buys and good fun can be had here. The next Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair will be held on September 15, 2012. I suggest putting it on your calendar if you’re in California around that time.

See you in the stacks!


Filed under Book Fairs, Uncategorized

Chapter 712 Cataloguing Machine

I’m pleased to tell you that a house call late last week ended with my purchasing a small collection of 75 books. I’m also pleased to tell you that the Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair is coming up next Saturday, March 24 and I’ll be exhibiting in my usual space right inside the entrance to the main hall. Stop by if you’re in the area, and if you know you’re planning to come, leave a comment below and I can email you a free pass! And, yes, I’ll be bringing as many of those new finds as I can get priced and catalogued to the fair, so stop by if you’d like to see them.

I now have to catalogue and cover with clear, mylar dustjacket protectors all of these books by the time I leave for the fair at the end of week. Since that’s a big task, and, frankly, not one I’m sure I will completely accomplish given my other responsibilities, I’m going to take a blogging break until I return from the fair so I can do my best to get the job done. My plan for the week is to be a book cataloguing machine.  You can expect a full report on the fair when I return.

Meanwhile, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in our usual way around here:

The Leprechaun visited, and though he was disappointed that everyone around here has grown up so much that they no longer build a trap, he left his footprints, a card, and a couple of treats behind.

I baked two loaves of Irish Soda Bread (my Nana’s recipe, which came from her mother, who came to this country from Ireland at the turn of the 20th century). One of our longtime St. Patrick’s Day traditions — one that’s been around even longer than the Leprechaun trap — is that we make a Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner for some friends and sometimes for extended family, too. None of them are of Irish descent, but they’re all coming over for a big meal later tonight. I haven’t got the heart to tell them that I have yet to meet anyone who actually lives in Ireland who actually eats Corned Beef and Cabbage. It’s an Irish-American dish, sure.

I took a few minutes to have a hot cup of “tay” from my Irish china teacup:

And, even though they are getting too grown up for Leprechaun traps, Tom and Huck will never be too old for mischief.  They got this shirt for our dog, Molly. We got her eight years ago on St. Patrick’s Day (hence her Irish name).  We don’t ever dress her in clothes. We’re just not the sorts who think dogs need clothes, but put Tom, Huck, a holiday, and the clearance bin at Target together and here you go:

Molly, though she is a grand little dog, is not amused. You can tell by her face that she finds covering her gloriously soft fur with a t-shirt from Target to be extremely undignified.

I think that once Molly can get this shirt off, she will be quite content to sit at my feet, undisturbed by the boys, while I catalogue the recent acquisitions this week.

See you at the book fair!


Filed under Book Fairs, Book Finds

Chapter 705 Book Fair Hangovers, My Assistant, and Book Themed Teapots

It’s Saturday. I still have what I like to call “Book Fair Hangover”. Book Fair Hangover does not refer to drunkenness; it refers instead to putting things right after returning home from a book fair. Almost two weeks later, and I still have yet to unpack any of the boxes of books. I also still have to enter the invoices I wrote at both the San Francisco and Los Angeles fairs in my computer. Mostly, I spent the last two weeks shipping some books, writing about the fairs, catching up on emails (853 in a 10 day period, business and personal) and voice mails (22 non-urgent phone calls needing to be returned), replenishing the groceries, and doing laundry in my new washing machine. The old one was beyond repair and TH had it replaced while I was away at the book fairs.

After living without a washing machine in the week before the fairs began, I have never been so thankful to have a working washing machine. I could not make time to do anything bookish without it.  I have christened it My Assistant. When I refer to My Assistant, people assume that  I am referring to an employee, perhaps a cataloguer or book scout of some sort. No, not for me the run-of-the-mill assistant. My Assistant lives out in my garage, far away from the books. She can’t even read or write and it’s useless to try to teach her about antiquarian books, but she has three temperatures and a spin cycle and she gets our clothes sparkling clean in a jiffy.

Sprinkled in between all of the above were Tom and Huck’s basketball playoffs and their corresponding practices, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and guitar lessons. These require lots of driving after school on my part. Remember all those meals I cooked in advance and froze for future busy nights? We’ve eaten all them as I tried to get caught up.  They have been my saving grace since returning home from the fairs. It has been my pleasure not to have to answer the question, “What’s for dinner tonight?” as I sifted through messages and plotted blog posts. I now need to cook more of them and replenish my supply.

February has been a whirlwind — how is it that we are already at the last week of the month? Since it is the weekend, I am going to make my menu plan for the week and go grocery shopping. After that, I’m giving myself permission to take a break with a recent acquisition while My Assistant toils in the garage. The recent acquisition — my latest book-themed teapot. I love this one — it’s a bookshop!

And these. These have been waiting for me to read since early February.

I’ve been waiting for this day to arrive, the day where I sit with a hot pot of tea in a bookish teapot and perform my book nerd ritual of reading all the bookish journals for almost as long as I waited for the book fairs.

See you in the stacks!

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Chapter 704 Also Seen Around the Book Fair in Pasadena, Or, Legends of Southern California

I have a few more photos from the book fair to share with you, photos of various books, booksellers, and related items.  Hope you enjoy!

I just like the cover of this book, and its title fits the way I will remember this particular book fair:

IOBA (Independent Online Booksellers Association) Officers — Vice President Howard Prouty of ReadInk on the left and President Joachim Koch of Books Tell You Why on the right.

I am in love with the hand-colored frontispiece of this miniature book:

Cute series books from Tavistock Books:

I’m a sucker for Italian books with lovely bindings (yes, these shown below are mine, some of which sold during the course of the fair). If you have any like these, and are interested in selling them, please let me know.

You can’t go to southern California without thinking about the movies.  This circa 1887 Isaiah West Taber photo album of San Francisco, Yosemite, and parts of southern California is ready for its close up. Coming soon to a theater near you . . .

. . . it’s ABAA Book Fair, The Movie! No, really. Cinestories is making a short promotional piece about the book fair and filmed many of the books on display at the fair, including a couple of my own. I really hope my books don’t end up on the cutting room floor. I and many other booksellers were also interviewed for the short film they’re making.  It was exhilarating and exciting! It was also extremely awkward! I am definitely not a natural in front of a camera. I made them let me “practice” my answers once so that I could avoid saying aloud California-isms that, after living here my entire life, I cannot avoid saying, things like “like” and “um” and the worst one of all, “totally awesome!” What kind of antiquarian bookseller says “totally awesome”?  (Answer: Apparently I do when nervous or excited, but I try to keep that to my internal dialogue with myself. It’s not pretty on-screen or at a dignified antiquarian book fair.)

Nervousness aside, it was totally awesome being interviewed. 🙂

I didn’t get enough of a chance to leave my booth and walk around and take more photographs, so these next are from my own booth again. Note to self: Do not expect to have time to walk around at a fair with 200 booksellers if you expect to stay at your booth and sell books to the 2,500 people who walked through the door. Next time, enlist a friend as an assistant. Assistants are, like, totally awesome! I’m sorry. I’m in a humorous mood today, and I can’t help myself. At least I have until now avoided the other really awful California colloquialism — totally rad.  As in, my bookselling good luck charm — the Dante bookend  — is totally rad and I am so glad he came to this fair to bring me good luck.

My other bookselling good luck charms — a poker chip from a poker tournament I won and a St. John medal. St. John of God is the patron saint of booksellers. He was himself a bookseller in Spain in the 1500s.  I bring these good luck charms along because I need all the help I can get and to remind me that antiquarian bookselling is part having good books, part knowledge and skill, part gambling, and part hoping and praying that your fair is a good one.

One of the best things about a book fair is that you often dine out or have drinks with colleagues at the end of the day. Some of my colleagues are real foodies, always seeking out the best restaurant in town or the most exotic type of food. Bookselling adventures combined with culinary adventures are terrific. It’s always a pleasure to eat with my food-loving friends, because then you get desserts like this one:

Totally rad:  Ken Sanders, me, and Cynthia Gibson being regaled with antiquarian bookselling legends in the Sheraton lounge at the end of the last day of the fair.

See you in the stacks!


Filed under A Bookseller's Education, Book Fairs

Chapter 703 Part 3 of the 45th California International Antiquarian Book Fair 2012, Or, No Retreat, Baby, No Surrender

You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

I woke early Friday morning, planning to finish setting up my booth and do a little book shopping prior to the fair opening to the public at 3:00 p.m.  When I entered the exhibit hall, I saw a table with lots of bookseller catalogues that visitors to the fair could take with them. What a delight to see The Collective Catalogue, featuring my books and the books of my bookselling friends right next to the other bookseller catalogues! (See top left corner.)

Here’s my booth as it finally looked when it was all set for the fair:

Some bookshelves:

More bookshelves:

My booth was on a corner, so I did what I could to utilize the outside edge of my real estate:

Glass counter case:

The fair opened at 3:00 p.m. sharp, and I am happy to say that many people filled the wide aisles and crowded the booths. The abundant publicity certainly helped this fair get a good turn out. The booth was busy with activity, some people buying and some not — but, hey, when your booth is one of 200, you accept the fact that not everyone who visits it will buy a book. I met some new customers, some librarians, some booksellers, and some book collectors, I sold some books. All was good, and then the fair closed 9:00 p.m. It was an exhausting 12-hour day, but not so exhausting that I couldn’t enjoy a delicious dinner with some colleagues afterward.

Here are photos of a few other booksellers’ booths:

Brad and Jennifer Johnson of The Book Shop. Young Mr. Koch of Books Tell You Why is also in the photo:

B & B Rare Books

My mentor, the distinguished Mr. Z of Tavistock Books:

One of my across the aisle neighbors was William Reese Company and right next door to them was Australia’s Hordern House. Even though I had every intention of introducing myself to my neighbors, I had a terrible attack of shyness and fear of booksellers-whose-books-cannot-be-matched-by-anyone-else and barely said anything to them all weekend. (Why must I be so socially awkward? I really wasn’t trying to be snobbish, but for a book nerd, meeting such a bookseller is like meeting a rock star. I get tongue-tied and nervous. I tend to forget they’re just people hoping to have a good fair, too.) Truly, I was honored and awed to be in such esteemed company.  You want great books? These two firms have better-than-great books! And I have to add a special thank you to Teri Osborn of William Reese Company, who, when my booth was too busy for me to leave, brought me a sandwich to eat during her own lunch break. Twice! Thanks, Teri!  Nick Aretakis, who also works for William Reese Co. and who I knew via email but had never met in person, bravely took the walk across the aisle to my booth to say hello and wish me a good fair.  And Derek and Anthony from Hordern House cheerfully said hello and introduced themselves during the course of the weekend.

I wasn’t the only rookie at the fair.  The Book Hunter’s Holiday booth was right next door to the booths of two other ABAA rookies, Howard Prouty of ReadInk Books and John Howell of John Howell for Books. It was such a relief not to be the only brand new bookseller at the fair and a real comfort to know that the other new guys were in the two booths next to mine. Most appreciated was the occasional help over the weekend of Howard and John’s assistants, Gayle, Beth, and Merle. We referred to ourselves as Rookies’ Row.

Left to right: Howard Prouty, John Howell, and me.

Too often I hear booksellers say that we’re not in the Golden Age of bookselling any more. Perhaps we’re not. I wasn’t a bookseller during the so-called Golden Age. I wasn’t even alive during the Golden Age, although I’ve read about and it sounds like it was a good time. All I know is that my days at this particular fair were Glory Days. I sold some books – not all of them, but enough of them. I bought some books — not all I wanted, but enough of them. I met lots of new book collectors, librarians, and booksellers. I even met a couple of videographers (more on that tomorrow). I dined with friends and colleagues every night. I heard lots of antiquarian bookselling legend and lore. Last weekend, in the supposed sunset of the printed book, in an era dominated by digital technology, in the sleepy town of Pasadena, just outside of Los Angeles, hundreds of booksellers and thousands of bibliophiles came together from all over the world to celebrate the printed word.  I can’t imagine anything more golden than that.

A few more photos to wrap it all up tomorrow!

Adding this last song from my book fair playlist. Bruce Springsteen and Brian Fallon of Gaslight Anthem (the past and the future of Rock performing together) singing “No Surrender”. This song’s for all you booksellers out there who think the era of printed books is over:

We busted out of class had to get away from those fools
We learned more from a three minute record than we ever learned in school
Tonight I hear the neighborhood drummer sound
I can feel my heart begin to pound
You say you’re tired and you just want to close your eyes and follow your dreams down

We made a promise we swore we’d always remember
No retreat no surrender
Like soldiers in the winter’s night with a vow to defend
No retreat no surrender

Now young faces grow sad and old and hearts of fire grow cold
We swore blood brothers against the wind
I’m ready to grow young again
And hear your sister’s voice calling us home across the open yards
Well maybe we could cut someplace of our own
With these drums and these guitars

Blood brothers in the stormy night with a vow to defend
No retreat no surrender

Now on the street tonight the lights grow dim
The walls of my room are closing in
There’s a war outside still raging
you say it ain’t ours anymore to win
I want to sleep beneath peaceful skies in my lover’s bed
with a wide open country in my eyes
and these romantic dreams in my head

Blood brothers in the stormy night with a vow to defend
No retreat no surrender”


Filed under A Bookseller's Education, Book Fairs