Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Book Fair Boom

While secondhand bookshops are struggling, book fairs are thriving. Why should this be?

From the Guardian...

 Just what is it that's making these fairs so successful, at a time when conventional second-hand bookstores are closing down? Part of the appeal is that book fairs offer up books as tactile objects for leisurely perusal at a time when readers are increasingly doing their reading on e-readers and online. Potential purchasers can feel the heft, the quality of the paper - and in the case of second-hand books, look for intriguing dedications in the back. What's more, they can do this in the presence of knowledgeable publishers and booksellers - which is why books and pamphlets with beautiful illustrations or high production values are often to be found at book fairs.

Of course, this still doesn't explain why fairs should succeed where second-hand bookshops struggle - but perhaps the answer to lies in the sociability of browsing. A book fair is not just a static location - it is an event. More often than not it includes guest speakers, workshops and poetry readings. Visitors can mingle, meet friends and form acquaintances with others who have similar literary or political interests.

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