Those two words can create excitement in most booksellers, and fear in others. Book Fairs can be a boon to one’s bottom line, or have the opposite effect. In a perfect world; a book fair would be; profitable, be a social affair of great significance, a place to replenish stock, a place to secure new customers, and be very satisfying. But for some, or all, of the above to happen, one must have a balance. Preparation is the key. Make it look easy. Be ready. Fact: 40%-60% of sales, not only at book fairs, but yearly, are to other dealers. Bring your best and have it clearly priced and create an environment where customers can easily see your stock. Rule of thumb; customers spend an average of 4 minutes in a booth. That was the old days, before the Internet. Cut that in half today. Balance. Make your booth accessible, welcoming even. Pick the equipment that best suits you, and can best display what you offer. Show up early, set up quickly and be ready. And when those doors open to the public, stay positive and focused and practice your craft. When packing up at fair’s end, the amount of preparation will be revealed, and adjustments acknowledged for the next book fair.
Yes, it has been more than a few very busy years since I wrote a blog. What with moving, collection purchases, book fairs, correspondence, reading books, blogs, catalogs, book reviews, newspapers, and the Book Club of Washington events, time is short. Not to mention working the Facebook page of the PNW Chapter of the ABAA, meeting once a month with the local Peninsula booksellers group, and baseball season. However, thanks to Alan Green and Luke Lozier at Bibliopolis, things are happening with a new website, blog, and next week, an E-LIST. There will always be printed catalogs issued, but the E-LIST is more immediate. Such as this fresh new arrival: 3 TLS’s (5 pages, 1957, 58) from Hugh Hefner to cartoonist Jack Davis orchestrating Davis’ famous jazz cartoon “Take Me To Your Leader” published in Playboy 1959 (the All-Star Jazz issue). $1250.00. Stay fine tuned, in coming blogs we will take a good look at book fairs, and how to shop for the best books from home. 2016 will mark my 31st year of buying and selling books. Ed Smith, Member ABAA