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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.

HOME for the Holidays

Whining grandchildren will NOT be taken in, either as readers or as donations: we’re closed on Thanksgiving. You are SUPPOSED to be indicating your gratitude with food: consuming it, cooking it for someone else, helping somebody else eat it. I know someone I suspect will spend the day tossing tidbits to turtles at the zoo. Whatever your choice may be, it should NOT involve running to the Newberry. Donating cookbooks does not count as a Thanksgiving activity. No, not even with that 1946 Encyclopaedia Britannica. (Especially not that.)

Please do not abandon spouse or children or more distant relatives on Friday or Saturday, expecting us to keep them. We will certainly welcome them as viewers of the Religious Change exhibition, AND we will have restrooms available, but we are also not requesting any donations those days. No, you can NOT leave them at the Bookstore instead. This is not what Black Friday and Small Business Saturday are for. And we’re closed on just about every Sunday as it is.

In fact, we’re closing early on Wednesday, come to that. In all, I’d say this is not the best week for dropping off your paperback romances and scholarly treatises on Spanish and Italian literature.

We’ve had all of that recently, by the way. One of our experts in Spanish literature declared that this ten volume scholarly edition of Don Quixote is one of the best annotated of modern Quixotes. One of our experts in Italian literature found THAT

collection highly valuable. And these books, valued by scholars and available at prices between $50 and $200, can be yours at next July’s Book Fair for less than ten percent of that value.

Because you’re going to find them on shelves not far from the paperback novels. See, those are in Russian. The books on Spanish literature are by Spanish scholars, and in Spanish, while the Italian treatises are…you got the idea already, eh? Very clever, turkey tart.

It’s one of the things which makes selling books difficult. We have, on occasion, received first editions of great works of French or Spanish literature. But your average collector doesn’t want to know. Contrary to popular belief, most book collectors at least want to be able to pretend they read the best books in the collection. AND it can be difficult to explain to a spouse why you’ve spent two or three hundred on a book that spouse knows very well you can’t read.

One may point out the artistry of the design, the drama of the art on the front of that Russian paperback romance. But your family is hard to fool: not for them judging a book by its cover.

We sell a LOT of books in Spanish at the Book Fair, but we are unable to keep track of how many scholars interested in 17th century literature are among them. (We seem to sell out of 17th century literature in English every year, but that’s held by some to be an accident.) Our sales in Italian are nearly as high. (Our Russian sales are a little sluggish, but this may be because nearly half of them are mathematical or scientific and half are not. I don’t know which half is selling.)

Anyway, we WILL be selling such things in July. We just don’t want to see them the fourth week in November. Go out and eat something.

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