The Antiquarian Bookseller’s Association of America [ABAA] is introducing its first Virtual Book Fair June 4-7 in response to a desire to reconnect within the community. These new events on the Internet reflect their commitment to ensure safe, fun and enterprising opportunities for dealers and collectors to interact to find subjects and material of mutual interest. Think of it as H. G. Wells meets Star Wars.
For this event fresh material will be posted from more than 150 dealers. A browsing visitor will be able to search the event’s database to identify items on the floor that match their search criteria. Customers can also browse by exhibitor, product type, or aisle. Think of it this way: more choices much faster. The field has long loved traditional book fairs but has struggled to maintain an appropriate balance between the time consumed, fresh material found, new relationships developed and sales and purchases completed. The disaster of Covid-19 is becoming the catalyst for fresh thinking.
While the cause is temporary, there may well be many electronic book fairs in future, subject to sufficient and appropriate material, if the developing pattern holds, when future fairs may be most successful when their subjects and forms are narrow.
As the ABAA is developing their virtual fairs, while focusing on sales, they understand that the social component of their immensely important fairs has long been known to be a significant element in their success. And why? Because book collectors are a unique breed, know this, and feel empowered when convention centers are packed to the rafters with thousands of other similarly enthralled souls.
Here are some details.
When will this show begin and when will it end?
The ABAA’s inaugural Virtual Book Fair will begin on June 4th at 10am EST and the “doors” remain open 24 hours until the event’s closing June 7th at 10pm EST. There is no charge to visit the Virtual Book Fair. For more information and to access the fair, visit https://www.abaa.org/blog/post/how-to-shop-the-virtual-book-fair.
Customers can contact the fair exhibitors by the methods they note. Those might include email, phone, Facetime, Zoom, or Google Meet.
Items are subject to prior sale and for sale on a first-come basis.
As it’s possible participants may buy material from multiple sources. The ABAA’s software anticipates this so that dealer’s and buyer’s location will automatically reflect the correct amount of sales tax. This is right and proper.
As well, while the primary objective of these shows is and always will be to create relationships and sales, the ABAA is very smart to focus on audience demographics to create a broader market with a younger and even more diverse audience.
I hope you’ll be one to buy something. Think of yourself as being on the Nina, Pinta or the Santa Maria! It’s a new day.