Just Thought I'd Mention

There are a few misconceptions out there about how this here Book Fair is run, and I’d like to go over a few of them, because it is in June and July that these things seem to get most in the way. I’m not picking on you, mincemeat muffin, and I’m not screaming at you for getting it wrong. I am perfectly, perfectly calm. However….

We do not want any bookcases, thank you. Nor do we build our own (tip of the hat to the lady who brought me plywood, thinking I could use it. I’m selling it someone for a garden project, so you could say I DID use it.) Your bookcases, nice though they might be, do not fold up like the ones we use, and I would have t think of a place to store it during the 50 weeks of the year we wouldn’t be using it.

We are pretty well supplied with bookends. We have a goodly number of the highly useful if undecorative flat metal ones, and a sufficient amount of he really big ones for holding up art books. Unlike bookcases, you CAN send these along if you feel like it. The decorative ones with horses or sailing ships or globes on them we will sell, and the rest we will add to stock.

(One of the things about our basic American liberties is that no two varieties of the flat metal bookends really fit together properly: everyone makes the same design in a personal size. This means that after a year in storage they have almost welded together instead of sliding out of each other as intended. If you should ever have this problem, I have found the best way to separate these things is to drop them on the floor—hard. Not only does it jar them apart, but it lets them know you’re not fooling around.)

We collect all year round. This means we do NOT insist that you rush your books over to us NOW. In fact, if you can hold off, I wish you would, because our marketing for the Book Fair is shifting into high gear and this somehow makes half the metropolitan area think now is the time to bring in donations. I moved 400 boxes of books just last week, and when I’m moving ‘em, I’m not pricing and packing ‘em.

When we said we don’t want textbooks, that means in June, too. I know the semester’s over and you need to do something with those books you’ll never read again. (A thousand voices—they sounded like professors—just cried out “What do you mean ‘again’?”) Have you considered using them in craft projects? There was a store on Michigan Avenue until recently that felt books made for decorative Borders.

We sort, price, and pack all year round. Some people—rather nice people with gleams in their eyes—ask me if I don’t need people to price books for me in June. Combined with the tendency to rush donations to me, that would make my life complete: hundreds of books for me to haul and new, unskilled labor.to do the brainwork. It isn’t that we can’t see you’d be great at it, deep-fried cranberry: now is just not the time.

The Book Fair is indoors. The rookies all seem to assume we either hold the Book Fair in the park or in the parking lot. Heat and humidity are not good for books. Nor are they especially prime for records, tapes, discs, or Book Fair workers. I am dubious about its effect on customers, for that matter: some of you have been out in the sun to long as it is. We are indoors, pomegranate curry, where there is air conditioning. Yes, I know Brandeis did things differently, but I went there and the heat was intense. (See, they had these big tents…oh, you got that one. It’s just that you didn’t laugh at he Border’s joke and I wondered…oh, you got that one as well. You could sneer a bit, so I can keep track.)

You do not need to know the meaning of the word “Quasquicentennial” to get into the Fair. Believe me, we’ll teach you that before you leave.

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