Book Fair Futures 2013

It’s that time of year when I present you with some statistics and then declare them useless. How it happens that no government has seen fit to hire me to blog for THEM I cannot comprehend.

As I have mentioned, we keep a running tally of how many boxes of books we’ve packed, and we note this by subject. And it is along about now that I do a preliminary study of what we have, comparing it to the official list for the previous year, which is finalized about the 4th of July.

So we are comparing apples to oranges in the first place, and since I have no way of predicting what will come in over the next three months, it cannot be considered a perfect prediction of what you’ll find.

However, a few trends do become obvious right away. For starters, right now we have 20 percent more boxes of children’s books than we had at the end of June, 2012 or June, 2011. So I think I can confidently predict that we are going to have one whomping big Children’s section come July. Furthermore, one reason we have so much along these lines was the massive collection of pop-up books which came in.

There was also a large collection of paper doll books, which are going into the Collectors section, primarily because they’re heavily slanted toward paper doll books for adults: Marilyn Monroe Paper Dolls, Ronald Reagan Paper Dolls, etc. However, the auxiliary collection of books on the history and collecting of paper dolls went into the Antiques section, along with all the books on collecting dolls, doll houses, mechanical toys, board games and so on. So right now our Antiques section is sneaking up on double what it was in June of last year.

Two major collections of blank journals and notebooks came in, so I expect the Blank section to be a bit bigger, and our Foreign Language section is also running quite high. Several large French collections came in, and I’m expecting another before July, and there was a significant collection of books in Italian. If you need a copy, we also have Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep in Japanese.

Now where will we disappoint? For each growth category we need one that’s sparse this year. Well, to my surprise, Political Science is way down. I’ve had days when I thought I was pricing nothing but “How To Hate The Other Guy” nonfiction. Science Fiction and Mystery are a little below where they ought to be, but will likely make a recovery. Our Mystery and Science Fiction fans will not let us down. (We must not forget the beautiful lady who brought us three carloads of signed science fiction in late June a couple of years ago. I have always regretted some of what I said to her, but, really, I don’t much want three carloads of ANYTHING in late June.)

Sets of encyclopedia are a little low, too, but the man who sets those out feels that’s just fine.

We have nine boxes of essays so far: since that’s a new category, we can’t compare it with last year. One reason we gave in to peer pressure and created the Essays section was to try to reduce the massive Books and Authors section, but this has not worked out. See, the lady who sent us all the children’s books also had lots of books ABOUT children’s books.

A lot of you seem to be ditching your games and jigsaw puzzles; we seem to be up in that area. Fortunately, it isn’t ALL the basic Trivial Pursuit box. Say, remind me to tell you someday about the person who suggested we hide a jigsaw puzzle piece on every table and invite customers to pick these up and assemble the puzzle at a big table in the lobby. Yeah, the Truly Great Ideas section is about as big this year as ever.

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