Rare Books: fair thee well

- by Bruce E. McKinney

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As Covid plays cat and mouse, the rare and collectible paper field adjusts to the day to day reality of health and regulation.  The field has long relied on in-person fairs but alas, not right now.  The ABAA, mindful of concerns about health, quickly cancelled the in-person ABAA Fair that was to take place September 9-12 at the New York Armory.  That fair was expected to see 6,000 to 8,000 visitors and many will be disappointed.  Literally days after cancelling the in-person fair, the association announced their next electronic book fair to provide a safe opportunity for collectors and institutions. 

 

In the meantime, Marvin Getman, who manages the New York City Virtual Book and Ephemera Fair, had already scheduled his New York Fair September 1-2 to be all electronic and immediately sent an email blast to dealers worldwide to join him.  That show now has 90 participating dealers.

 

And then, on 23-26 September he’ll have the four day Virtual Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair.

 

After which his platform will host another book fair:  Rare Books LA, from Thursday 30 September to 3 October.   Electronic book fairs have quickly become an essential component of the rare book business.   

 

Here is the ABAA’s announcement:

 

The ABAA invites bibliophiles everywhere to join the hunt for rare books and all manner of fine works on paper at the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America’s Virtual Book Fair: New York Edition. This will take place September 9-12, in lieu of the in-person New York International Antiquarian Book Fair. The in-person fair has been moved to April 2022, due to the rise of the Delta variant.

Both American and international exhibitors will offer a rich selection of manuscripts, unique ephemera, artist books, zines, as well as early American and European literature, modern first editions, children’s books, maps, autographs, photographs, and more. 

"The New York Antiquarian Book Fair has long been the premier showcase for some of the finest material brought to market. This year’s virtual edition will be no exception,” said ABAA President Brad Johnson. “As they say, there’s no place like New York, but the prudent plan is to wait until next year to convene in person.”

“The virtual book fairs have been an important way for booksellers and collectors to stay connected during this past year and a half of closures and canceled in-person events, and they have produced a number of unexpected benefits,” said Sheryl Jaeger, ABAA Vice President and Chair, Virtual Book Fair Committee. “Once again, we’re taking the opportunity to be together without leaving home, flying, or packing your wares. Customers can search the entire fair, quickly by product type, category, price, or keyword for those with special interests, or, if preferred, take a leisurely scroll through the aisles to visit exhibitors both new and familiar.”

The ABAA Virtual Book Fair: New York Edition opens at 12 p.m./EST on September 9 and will remain open continuously, 24 hours a day, until the event’s closing on September 12 at 3 p.m./EST. Admission is free. Visitors will be able to interact with book, map, autograph, and ephemera sellers in real-time directly from the virtual book fair platform.

Be sure to bookmark abaa.org/vbf so you're ready to visit the fair at the opening. You can also sign up for email alerts to receive updates about special virtual book fair programming and more... 

Founded in 1949, the ABAA is the oldest antiquarian booksellers trade association in the United States and upholds the highest standards of ethics and professionalism. The membership includes 450 sellers of books, prints, documents, maps, and ephemera across the U.S.

 

Taken altogether, those who are interested are going to have opportunities.