Fifteenth Annual Central Valley Antiquarian Book Fair
The next acquaintance to come down the aisle was Ed Glaser (Edwin V. Glaser Rare Books in Napa), the gentleman after whom the scholarship was named that I won for the Colorado Seminar. (There's a mouthful.) It was good to see him again and to meet his very nice wife, Lorraine.
The Sacramento Fair is run by Jim Kay. He corralled sixty booksellers this year, twelve more than last year. He managed to pack us all quite neatly into the Scottish Rite Building on 61st in Sacramento. I don't think anyone felt squished in or crowded, there seemed to be plenty of space. In fact, I could probably have brought two or three more boxes of books. There were, however, sellers in the front hall and the back meeting room...sellers, sellers everywhere! I like the building a lot because it is clean, has beautifully maintained wood floors, is nicely lighted, has lots of sunlight and windows, and for once, it wasn't too hot in Sacramento to leave the doors open. We could actually breathe some fresh air. We asked Jim later how successful he felt the fair had been.
"In my judgment, it was an acceptable event. The attendance was down about 20% from last year but the crowd was reasonably large, considering the post-internet book fair micro climate in which we sell. The attendees were buying, as evidenced by the high percentage of people leaving with bags."
Jim is considering doing two fairs a year from now on, one in winter or very early spring, and the annual September fair. He says he is never fully happy with his fair promotions and so, he tells us, "I will continue to grow this book fair, with new marketing and fresh ideas. The last two years have shown me it is possible to have a successful book fair even with the ever looming internet marketplace. I believe that Sacramento is a good town for books and will support two fairs per year." Jim swears that "There will be no increase in booth rents next year."
Friday night before I was even set up, the book dealer next door dropped in for a visit. He bought two hardcover, sci-fi pulp novels with dust jackets which made a peachy start before the GP even arrived on Saturday. From my point of view as a bookseller, I thought there were a lot of wonderful books for sale. I'm always astonished at the variety of books that are out there in the world. It did seem to me that many of the books were very high priced and that a lot of sales could have been made with just a bit trimmed off. My philosophy of bookselling is - I'm a seller, not a collector, so I want to sell them. They look really pretty on the shelves, but they look even better going out the door in bags while I deposit the money in my bank. In this rather grim market and with the Internet biting our butts for every sale, it makes perfect sense to me to sell for a bit less than my optimum price and make up the difference in quantity of sales, because if we don't, the buyer will just go home and order it from ABE or Amazon. Of course, I'm not talking about a $50,000 book, but about the books that are under, say, $100.