A New Mexico Book Fair
By Bruce McKinney
The first annual Santa Fe Antiquarian Book Show is to be held October 5 and 6, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is a book fair springing to life and the culmination of more than six months work for Henry Lewis, Shirley Jacobson, Steve Kalminson and Rita Robbins who have combined their efforts to bring this event into being. They are all book dealers and seek to raise awareness and interest in the printed word. It is a two-day regional show staged at the El Museo Cultural at 1615 Paseo de Peralta in the historic railyard district in Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501. On Friday October 5th the show opens at 4:00 pm and runs into the evening, closing at 9:00 pm. On Saturday October 6th it continues from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. The organizers are hoping to attract both the local audience and some of the tens of thousands that regularly visit the area. Over that weekend the nearby Albuquerque balloon fiesta is expected to be a big draw.
For this the inaugural fair there are between 30 and 35 exhibitors so far committed and, with 5 weeks remaining, 10 exhibitor spaces available. The cost of a booth is $450 and the organizing committee hopeful of receiving last minute sign-ups. Dealers and would-be dealers who are interested should contact Henry Lewis for information. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org. His telephone number: 505.983.0088.
The show will include an array ranging from collectible and antiquarian books to local press books and signed material by local authors. While the show emphasizes books the material offered is bound to also reflect the unique New Mexico market's interest in ethnographic material, prints and ephemera. The show is supported by various local writers who will be on hand to sign their books.
Steve Kalminson and Shirley Jacobson, speaking as members of the organizing committee, mentioned that professional show promoters were contacted but declined to stage the event. Book fair attendance has been on the slippery slope for years, leaving promoters sanguine about new events. The dedicated book buying and selling audience will always walk barefoot over hot coals to attend such events while the younger audience, transformed by the net and attracted to other forms of collecting, has proven to be very elusive.
In organizing this fair the promoters have taken a conventional approach. They have run advertisements in various traditional media; including their email address and phone number. They have not prepared a website. Neither have they promoted across the internet.
For those in the Santa Fe area over the weekend of the 5th-6th this is an event well worth supporting. You may not be able to tell but the staging of such shows is increasingly difficult to achieve. Costs are rising and attendance falling. An interested group or a promoter may front the money to stage an event but only events that draw a strong crowd will survive for many years. This is year one. For the show to make it into year two your participation will make a difference.
Such shows are an important aspect of collecting. Certainly, collectors are increasingly specialists and less likely to find sought-for material at general shows. What they will find however are knowledgeable people with perspective, the great intangible that separates the accumulator from the collector. This alone makes such events very worthwhile. You may come home empty handed. You won't come home empty headed.
So if it's a reasonable jaunt, mark your calendar and make the trip. You'll do well by doing good.