Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2003 Issue

Analysis: Is the Internet Making the Book Fair Obsolete?

New York Book Fair


The AE/NYABF Survey:
Here is a simple spreadsheet which conveys the results of our survey. (Where there are blank lines in the rating scale table, these indicate that the dealer declined to assign a specific number to a factor.) Generally dealers spoke openly after requesting partial or complete anonymity. When appropriate we asked for a simple one-line comment about specific issues they felt important.

        
1
2
3
4
        Impact ofImpact ofImpact ofImpact of
        Weather
War
EconomyTransition to the Internet
1Large Dealer                
    A
3
2
4
2
    B
3
3
7
0
    C
9
7
4
2
    D
7
5
8
3
    E
7
2
7
2
    F
5
5
6
7
    G
Declined to Rate
Declined to Rate
Declined to Rate
Declined to Rate
    Total Average
5.6
4
6
2.6
2Small-medium Dealer                
    aDeclined to Rate
3
8
5
    b
1
6
8
10
    c
3
7
5
Declined to Rate
    d
5
8
8
7
    e
3
7
7
3
    Total Average
3
6.2
7.2
6.2

Ten large dealers participated. Another refused to participate in the survey altogether. Some refused to make comments but did rate factors and many declined to be identified. Of these 10 large book dealers 7 exhibited at the fair and 3 didn’t attend at all. Those who didn’t attend are not included in the show survey, but their perspectives are reflected in our quoted comments and conclusions.

Eight medium to small book dealers participated. One bookseller declined to rate the factors but did give a quote. Of these 8 dealers, 4 exhibited at the show, 1 attended but did not exhibit, and 3 did not attend. Many cited the cost of attendance and travel as a reason for not participating. Again, those who didn’t attend are not reflected in this spreadsheet, but their perspectives are reflected in our quoted comments and conclusions.

Here are rough averages of the factors they rated, broken down into dealer category and by factor:

For Large Bookdealers, the average # for the Weather was 5.6; for the War, 4; for the Economy, 6; and for the Transition of Bookbuying and Selling to the Internet, 2.6. (Interestingly, many Large Bookdealers were willing to discuss the impact of the internet in off-the-record comments and/or in their on-the-record quotes but refused to rate it on the scale with a higher number.)

Rare Book Monthly

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