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Book Fair Blog

Every book has a story

Every book has a story.

Check in frequently to read the behind-the-scenes scoop on the Newberry’s popular Book Fair. The blog is maintained by “Uncle Blogsy,” otherwise known as Dan Crawford, Book Fair Manager.

Chipping In

So I was thinking of writing a blog about the niceties of pricing things for niche markets. I have been given a very nice collection of magazines on carving ship models. This brings up the perennial arguments from those on each side of the mountain: do you price such things really low because so few people want them, or do you price them really high because so few people want them?

I was going to paraphrase the cinematic Gandalf, and point out that a pricing wizard never prices anything low or high: he prices things exactly the way they should be. Then, of course, I would have done some variation on John Masefield: All I ask is a small ship and a chart to carve her by. Ah, it would have been a pleasant morning’s work.

Alas, you will never get to read those lines, because I was distracted by that potato chip contest: the one where they ask you to volunteer flavors, and people send in things like hot dogs and beans or chocolate covered mint chip ice cream cones, flavors which are all very well by themselves, but which do not necessarily belong on a potato chip. Their website has instructions on how to enter and examples of flavors other people have sent in. (Tuna Tartare?)

The contest is doubly disturbing to your Uncle Blogsy. First, no one so far has volunteered a tapioca meatloaf flavor. Second, I have seen NO book-themed suggestions.

Now, to some degree, this is a probably a part of my contention that some flavors and aromas, though okay on their own, are just not the same in a potato chip bag: the smell of a roomful of old books on the first warm day of spring, the odor of a well-preserved leather binding, the fresh ink and paper aroma from a brand new book. No, perhaps we should leave all those on the shelves. (Should someone suggest these and have the potato chip become world-popular, I would, of course, have to eat my words.)

But it does seem natural that someone who takes part in the Edible Book Contest would apply the work that went into that to a national contest with fame and fortune as the prize. I would, myself, but I hate to endanger my amateur status. So perhaps I should keep Fifty Shades of Grape to myself.

Would I still be able to come to work and sort through this beautiful collection of old science fiction paperbacks if I had were a celebrity because of my invention of the War and Pizza chip? Would sorting through this boxful of archaeological tomes (First Dictionary of Akkadian?) even be possible if my fans were busting down the door to get me to autograph their bags of One Flew Over the Cocoa’s Nest?

Now that the Shakespeare exhibit is down, and I am no longer loading the carts outside the A.C. (Accepts Cards) McClurg Bookstore with books on the Bard, we’ve been getting plenty of those books donated. If I were known everywhere as a chip namer, could I price these without thinking “To Bean or Not to Bean” (probably a chili-flavored chip)? I’m sure I would not be able to price Literature at all, what with the demands of The Cruller Purple, The Grape Gatsby, and, of course, Ernest Lemonway’s The Old Man and the Sea Salt Caramel.

Nay, that way lies madness (even if we don’t mention Edna Ferber’s Cinnamon.) I shall not send any of these ideas to the sliced-spud folk. Not that I am as revolted by the whole concept as a friend of mine, who said what she really wants out of a bag, with her Budweiser of an evening, is plain old traditional salt.

All she asks is a salt chip and a bar to beer her by.

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