New York: The Shadow Fairs

- by Bruce E. McKinney


The ABAA Rare Book Fair is a New York institution.  Exhibitors are limited to they who are members of the ABAA or ILAB, the international umbrella association for 22 national antiquarian booksellers associations that includes the ABAA.  They get to do the big fair.  But you may also be a member of one of these organizations but not want to do a four-day fair.  Such fairs are expensive. They look instead to exhibit at one of the shadow fairs as do dealers who aren’t ILAB or ABAA members.  The answer is they do one of the shadow fairs, both of which are one day affairs held on the Saturday of the book fair weekend.  This year that Saturday is March 10th.


One of the fairs is the Manhattan Vintage Book & Ephemera and Fine Press Book Fair.  It’s location is just around the corner from the ABAA’s fair in the Armory.  This fair is at 869 Lexington Avenue between 65th and 66th Streets in the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer and combines used and rare book dealers with those who make and sell examples of fine press material in interesting and curious forms.  Altogether there are about 40 exhibitors.


The other shadow fair is Marvin Getman’s New York Book and Ephemera Fair.  This year it’s at the Sheraton Central Park/Times Square at 811 7th Avenue between 52-53 streets.  Fifty-seven book dealers have signed up.  Two shuttle buses are provided to ferry guests between the ABAA and New York Book and Ephemera Fair.  The Getman fairs are widely promoted.


So your Saturday will be busy.  Here is how to be efficient.


Start at the Getman fair at 8:00 am.  Allow two hours.


Then take the complimentary shuttle bus to the ABAA fair but rather than go into that fair cross the street and join the show in progress, the Manhattan Vintage Book & Ephemera and Fine Press Fair.  It’s hours are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.


Finally, when you are ready and presuming it’s after 12:00 when the fair opens, you can then browse [and buy] for the rest of the day.


Eight am too early for you?  Both the shadow fairs will continue throughout the day.  In any event they will be fun and you will be busy.


The following are the fair hours on Saturday


Marvin Getman’s New York Book and Ephemera Fair

8:00 am to 4:00 pm


The Manhattan Vintage Book & Ephemera Fair

10:00 am to 5:00 pm


The Getman fair is where your Saturday begins.