The Gold Rush Book Fair, while not especially lucrative, was eminently enjoyable. The crowds were steady, helped by a front-page article in the local paper. And though sales were less than hoped (which seemed the general consensus among the dealers I spoke to) , they were enough that between them, the new clients met, and the stock purchased from other dealers, I’ll surely be back next year.
Highlights included: guest-of-honor Ken Sanders’ very funny reminiscences of his years in the book trade, delivered at the booksellers’ dinner Friday night; finally being able to put a face and personality to a name for many colleagues I hadn’t yet met; and being booth neighbors with Chris and Shep of bookfever.com. Some things I need to remember for next year:
1) Bring more books. I should have had at least 20% more books to really fill the booth.
2) Bring more Americana; less modern literature. Crowds seem to skew toward retirees. Thought I did have a couple of younger guys poking around the booth asking about Clark Coolidge, which was encouraging.
3) Bring more moderately-priced books. My sense was there were more readers than collectors. Or at least people who wouldn’t consider themselves collectors.
4) Be more careful to stay on I-80. Accidentally wander and you can get lost very far, very fast.
5) Arrive earlier (see #4). Took me about three hours to set up which left little time for scouting the other booths until the morning of the show.
6) On a similar note: leave more time to scout Grass Valley and Nevada City shops. There are several of them, and I only had time for one.
7) Have Windex wipes for the glass case. Fingerprints, fingerprints, fingerprints.
8) Have a rug for the booth – looks nicer than the concrete floor.
In short…Looking forward to next year.