Happy New Year!

So! That’s Book Fair #30 packed into the pages of history. The weather behaved itself, as did the customers, mostly, and we all survived. At least, if anyone swooned and expired on reaching home and realizing they had every book they had ever wanted in life, the report has not come to me.

We had compliments (and complaints) about the amount of Asian material. The collection of reading lamps donated at the last minute by the Newberry went over very nicely (I think we sold about 32) though it did prevent some of our other doodads from being set out.

You showed your annual support for Paperback Literature, Dance, Fashion, and Classics, though this year Mystery Anthology was the only category that sold out completely. (That donation of a hundred copies each of The Good Earth and Of Mice and Men kind of stalled the usual clearing of Paperback Literature, but you made a brave effort.) Sheet Music came very close to emptying out, too, indicating that not everybody just goes for a download.

The Religion section, after as much hype as I could give it without producing a YouTube video on the subject, did reasonably well. I estimate you bought about two-thirds of it, which, since we had nearly three times as much as usual, left us with enough to stock the section next year. (We don’t do this: Religion starts anew in August.) The Civil War category continues to be popular, so I think we’ll probably keep having it, even though the next Book Fair takes place after the big 150th anniversary is over.

In Records, you continued your support of aging Rock albums, Comedy, Soundtracks, and the Classics, but I was let down a bit by your lack of interest in the polka section. And you showed almost no interest in all the Easy Listening. (Even some of the classic naughty album covers were left behind. That’s just careless shopping, petunia pate.)

Your appreciation of our other audiovisual material showed in the way the CD and DVD sections were eaten away. A goodly chunk of the videocassette department moved out, and you also bought three 8-track tapes and six slide carousels. BOTH of our 8mm films were sold, as well as the 8mm viewer and an elderly slide projector. You liked our large postcard section, though you complained bout having no place to sit down while you went through the boxes. This is going into the same suggestion file where I’m placing the recommendation that we add a record player in the Records section, so people can test their prospective purchases, AND the request for a cassette player so they can do the same in THAT section. (If you were any kind of Twenty-First Century customer, you’d have an app on your phone for these things.)

In the end, we made about $150,000, which is our third or fourth best out of thirty years of bringing in money for light bulbs and toilet paper. We made some new friends (I don’t know what will become of the young lady–nine? eight?–whom I saw walk up to the Collectors section and say “You have a book on hold for me” but it’s bound to be something special) and renewed our connection with some regulars (even if this involved no more than a glare and the statement “You moved the Blank section”.)

So a good time was had by most. Wednesday, I’ll let you in on some of the questions and comments made along the way by those who looked up from their phones long enough to talk to us. Thanks for coming! If you missed it, you have to spend twice as much next year.

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