Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2010 Issue

The Gold Rush Book Fair, 2010

Gold rush argonaut

Argonaut Book Shop of San Francisco displayed at the fair.


After the fair was over, the books were packed up, and we were free at last. We headed down to Auburn to spend the night. We've never had great luck finding good food in Auburn, but this time we really did score. We had dinner at Latitudes which is across from the historic courthouse in downtown Auburn. We like to sit at the bar and eat, so we went downstairs. I had an African stew called Doro Wat, which is hot and spicy and delectable. It was served with half an artichoke, one of my favorite foods, and some saffron rice. My more conservative husband had a good steak and potatoes and we settled down to eat while we listened to a delightful duo, Billy Bensing and Kellie Garmire. Bensing played a good guitar and his original music was quite first class - sort of folksy, rockish, jazzy, with an insinuation of 30s and 40s style. His voice was reminiscent of Cat Stevens and their harmonies were really fine. Kellie played excellent mandolin and sang with an old-fashioned huskiness that was quite winning.

In closing, I'd like to thank the Nevada Country Friends of the Library for putting on a very nice, friendly book fair. I'd just like to say that I know a lot of booksellers have stopped doing shows because they can't make enough money to pay the costs incurred. The booth price, rooms, food, etc. are expensive, there is no denying that. First of all, they are great fun, in spite of the pack up, unpack, set up, sell, repack syndrome. However, here are a few tips to help sell more books and enjoy the fairs. Be happy if you break even. You've gotten your name out to new customers, you've met new booksellers that may have something you can't resist, and you've probably bought some very nice books from old buddies at a good discount. For heaven's sake, price your books better. Don't mark them up for the show, mark them down a bit. A lot of small sales add up and are better than no sales at all. You don't have to make all your money on one customer. I told people, as they came into my booth, that every book was 10% off the price just for the show. I know I made a couple of sales just because of that. Also, do some networking with your own customer data base a couple of weeks before the show, announcing that you'll be at a particular fair and offer them something special if they show up; if you email them send them a little coupon for 10% or more off. The show promoters do as much as they can, but they could use some help. It is important for us all to try to go to these fairs and support the ongoing struggle to keep people reading and collecting real books. Otherwise, we might just as well stop being booksellers and let the dollar book people take over.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Scott Joplin, <i>Treemonisha: Opera in Three Acts,</i> New York, 1911. Sold March 24 — $40,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Louisa May Alcott, autograph letter signed, 1868. Sold June 2 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Anne Bradstreet, <i>Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning, full of Delight,</i> Boston, 1758. Sold June 2 — $21,250.
    <b>Swann:</b> William Shakespeare, <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The Second Impression,</i> London, 1632. Sold May 5 — $161,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> John Bachmann, <i>Panorama of the Seat of War,</i> New York, 1861-62. Sold June 23 — $35,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Bronte, <i>Jane Eyre,</i> first edition, London, 1847. Sold June 16 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Elihu Vedder, <i>Simple Simon, His Book,</i> 1913. Sold June 9 — $12,350.
    <b>Swann:</b> Frederick Catherwood, <i>Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan,</i> London, 1844. Sold April 7 — $37,500.

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