Britain’s Largest Rare and Antiquarian Book Fair
I've been asked by Rayven if I could share my experiences of the York Book Fair, which hopefully you will find it interesting, even with my poor penmanship.
The fair is organised by the PBFA (Provisional Book Fair Association), a trade body for book dealers within the UK, though dealers from countries far afield are members. They run a large number of fairs every year (the website lists them all), with the York Book Fair being one of the premier fairs, with over 200 dealers exhibiting, the largest in Britain.
For me it's an exciting time, a time that I look forward to each year. Even though it is a large fair, and sometimes there is just so much to look at, it still has a family feel. The book world I have found is very accommodating, and a pleasure to be in. I mean what could be better, you love books and you are in an enclosed space with literally thousands of books, from the everyday to books you only wish about.
Even though I should be speaking about my experiences, suffice to say that it was better than I could have imagined. What was interesting as well, and this I am unable to fathom, was the fact that my stock ( Middle Ages & Anglo-Saxon ), which is a niche subject area went unbelievably well. This actually reaffirms my faith in the subject, as it is always good for people to enjoy the same things as yourself, and even better you can actually meet the person and talk about the subject. It was interesting that this time items on the crusades ( my latest area of interest ) went particularly well, now you can probably appreciate why I enjoy fantasy fiction.
From my point of view it was a success as well, and again reaffirming my love of the book that you can feel and touch, was the fact there was over 2000 customers over the two days, both from the UK and abroad giving it an international feel, as well as a younger contingent as well. Now I am not an e-book Luddite, as you can see from my participation here, there is scope for both formats, but my prime love is the book that you can hold, and the fact that there were so many people of all ages at the fair gives me hope.
If you came to a fair, and there should be fairs and associations in most countries, then I would recommend it. It is a good day out, you can talk to the dealers and handle the merchandise, well books are meant to be read & you never know you might come across something of interest that you had no idea about. I would also say that there are generally more than books to look at, a lot of dealers have maps, manuscripts, letters & other ephemera, and in the book category you have items from Modern First's through Children's to important Historical works and everything in-between, so all tastes are covered. I will also say that books look good, and some are works of art in their own right, with handmade paper, fantastic bindings & illustrations you could only wish you were able to do.
If you would like to get a feel of what's on offer, or would like to see if there is a fair close to you then please look at the sites above, it is a good starting point, and probably far better than my disjointed ramblings.
Now I do ramble on a bit, but overall the fair went beyond my expectations making the long journey there and back fully worth while. I met new customers who were as passionate if not more so than me, as well as old friends both customers and dealers, so much so that by the end my voice was quite hoarse, and all in the fantastic setting of York. Roll on next year, and I might even meet somebody who has been intrigued enough to visit a fair despite my writing.
All I can say now is enjoy reading, whatever genre and in whatever format.