Rare Book Monthly

Articles - October - 2010 Issue

The 17th Annual Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair


The Naumans from the Sacramento SPCA.

Bruce and Greg from PBA Galleries were there with smiles for all. They did a number of free appraisals for people. They pleased my husband greatly when they appraised a maritime voyaging book at a thousand more than he paid for it. As ever, they were also encouraging folks who wanted to bring books in for auction to contact them at bruce@pbagalleries.com. If you get a chance, check the PBA web page and find out the next auction. It is a great treat to go to the preview of any sale and see the delicious items they have for auction. I love these guys; they are very helpful and have an excellent auction facility in downtown San Francisco – the parking stinks, though, take the bus!

Bryan Lux from A Quiet Corner for Books in Diamond Springs, California, is part of Book Town, the Grass Valley book cooperative. This was his fourth show in Sacramento and he also does The Gold Rush Fair in Grass Valley. He said that doing well depends on what one brings and that he primarily likes to come because of the people and the booksellers with whom he chats.

Jim Kay, the coordinator for the fair said that, "The fair has gone quite well. Many compliments from dealers and much buying, and, of course, some whining now and then from dealers, patrons, and promoter alike. We had more than 400+ customers, which may not sound that great, but it is 25% up from the previous fair and, I think, good for the current time period and the economy. I saw lots and lots of bags of books leaving the show and the crowd was noticeably larger than the previous couple of fairs, though I think the new breed of show visitor needs some training on book buying!"

What, I asked, did the dealers say? "Most dealers reported doing at least respectably well, with some doing quite well, at least two dealers reporting best-evers for this venue. There were a few who were badly spanked though. The shows seem to be, at best, hit or miss these days. Personally, I have had three of my all time worst shows in the last six months."

I asked if he was going to do it again in the spring. He said, "Absolutely, we have a new strategy -- to invite the customers in for free to keep the dealers happy, and we do a lot of promotion. The next fair will be March 26, 2011. 700 FREE passes were given out for that fair to last week's attendees, so we are greasing the skids for another well-attended show. I will continue to tweak the publicity and hammer away on the free passes and radio advertising."

If you are a dealer who has never done the Sacramento Fair before, we highly recommend it. It is fun, it may or may not be profitable, but that's the same with any book fair, and the chit chat and interaction with other sellers and customers is great entertainment. Go to www.sacbookfair.com (2011 info is not there yet, but you can get all the particulars and contact info.) Or, contact Jim Kay at www.bookbomb.com. I've already reserved my booth for the spring show; hope to see you all next year.

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