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Book Fair News - a chance to catch up on the news around the book fairs.


28.12.06. We have been up to our eyes in Christmas - It's a busy time for us in the shop and we were also infested with grandchildren. :) However, we will have a revised calendar up for the 1st of January, which will included a number of new dates and venues.
    One loss next year will be the Clare Book Fair. Judith Neal tells us that they have decided to join forces with Stephen Cook's new Long Melford Book Fair, as they are within five miles of each other, and already share many dealers and customers. We wish the new combined fair every success.  Add a comment

01.12.06. Welcome to TheBookGuide's 2007 Book Fair Calendar. As ever, I must stress that it is very much a provisional calendar, with a number of organisers still to confirm dates. If previous years are anything to go by, I wouldn't expect to have the majority of dates until towards the end of January. Needless to say, if you stand at a fair we haven't got listed, please get in touch.
    2006 seems to have been another difficult year for all but the top end of the secondhand and out-of-print book trade, and book fairs didn't buck the trend. I will take a detailed look at the statistics at a later date, but the following are a few of the things we have done to help support the UK's book fairs this year ... more  Add a comment

12.12.06. A very late entry for 2006, Stephen Lloyd's Book & Ephemera fair in Newport, Isle of Wight on December 30th.  Add a comment

30.11.06. Mark Richardson who runs The West Kent Book Fairs (formerly Tonbridge) reports that providing a more interesting atmosphere worked very well at his October fair, with visitor number dramatically increased.
    Along with 25 booksellers there were local author book signings, poetry readings, children's story time, literary quizzes, hand writing and doodling analysis, book readings and traditional story telling. There were also book binding demonstrations throughout the day and publishing advice.
    Mark's view is that book collectors will come pretty much whatever you lay on - the challenge is to increase the interest from people on the fringes, who need a bit of persuasion to visit a book fair. (See Are Book Fairs Boring?)   Add a comment

23.11.06. After many successful years, Ken McLeod is stepping down from the running of Long Melford Book Markets and passing the fair onto new owners. From January 2007 the 'New Long Melford Bookfairs' will be run by Stephen Cook of Churchgate Books and John Crawford.
    Stephen and John have many years' experience in the booktrade, both as specialist dealers and Fair Manangers for the PBFA. There will be much work to do to build and develop this fair. To begin with stand rents for exhibitors will be reduced in 2007 to make them better value and the entrance fee for the public will also be reduced.
    They aim to make this a busy and exciting fair, with the hall full of exhibitors and a steady stream of discerning customers. For further details ring Stephen on 01284 704604.   Add a comment
    Best news for East Anglia for years, Long Melford changing hands. Stephen Cook & John Crawford have a lot to do to bring back the confidence, but at least will have many book dealers like me wanting to do it again. - Anon

16.11.06. Barry Meaden is staging the first of what will be an annual Letchworth Book Fair, on December 10th.
    Barry describes it as: "A small selection of quality books from reputable dealers. The fair will be held in an indoor shopping mall in the vicinity of Gallimaufry Book Shop. Light refreshments and free parking are available. This is the first ever book fair in the World's first Garden City!"  Add a comment

15.11.06. John Bacon alerts us to a change of organiser and date for the Kempton Book Fair. Apparently it is no longer run by HD Fairs, but has been taken over by Wendy and Peter of Thames Valley Bookfairs, who have brought the date forward from December 3rd to NOVEMBER 19th.  Add a comment

23.10.06. On the 4th & 5th of November the National Trust are holding a fund raising book sale at Plas Newydd, on Anglesey.
    Also on November 4th, Douglas Armour is holding a Book and Record Fair in Lichfield. He describes it as: "... a mix of antiquarian and modern books alongside collectable vinyl records of all styles, for lovers of literature and music."  Add a comment

06.10.06. Richard Jones advises us that the final monthly PBA fair at Cambridge was held in August. "It was announced some time ago that the fairs would finish at the end of the year but the closure was brought forward because of the ill-health of some exhibitors." The monthly Missing fair at Cambridge still continues.

26.09.06. Amongst the highlights at The Performing Arts Book & Ephemera Fair on October 7th, is Leon Bakst's The Inedited Works, illustrated with hand-coloured plates, and one of only 600 copies .. more  Add a comment

25.09.06. Stephen Lloyd's fairs on the Isle of Wight seem to be working, because he's holding another on the 18th of November.  This one is described as a "book fair with postcards and ephemera, including football programmes, and will be held in Newport. Add a comment

02.09.06  The Bristol Railway Collectors' Fair takes place on September 30th in Stoke Gifford, and is described by Tony Hillman as having "over 40 stalls selling railway books, ephemera, postcards, photographs, magazines, maps and tickets."  Add a comment

02.09.06. A Postcard & Ephemera Fair is being held in Ventnor, the Isle of Wight, on September 16th. It's organised by Stephen Lloyd, who has recently run a number of fairs on the island, and he says it's "a small book fair, with postcard & ephemera dealers in attendance."  Add a comment

22.08.06. Joy was checking the PBFA site and discovered that their September 9th fair in Ludlow has been cancelled due to "unforeseen circumstances".  Add a comment

05.08.06. Two Devon fairs we've just added; Torquay (new venue) on September 10th and Plymouth on October 14th.   Add a comment

01.08.06. Chris Maughan is holding a book fair in Heathfield on October 7th. This replaces his usual Mayfield fair in October, due to a mix-up over booking the hall. However, if the Heathfield Fair is successful, he may try it again next year.   Add a comment

27.07.06. Ian Kahn's ever-readable (and recently reactivated) blog has his take on American book fairs as its 24th July entry. "I feel strongly that book fairs need to bring more to the table to draw people in the door...I do not think such efforts need to add much to the cost, but they do require more back office/organizational time" ... more   Add a comment

25.07.06. Ray Masters tells us that there will be a book fair in LLandudno on September 16th. The majority of the books will be in English, and their will also be postcards & ephemera.  Add a comment

10.07.06. Chris Missing is organising a new book fair at Great Dunmow in Essex. The first date is August 19th, and if successful, there will be more next year. Chris thinks the new fair will prove popular with the public - it's only ten minutes from the M11 - and there are currently only two annual fairs in the county.  Add a comment

05.07.06. For 36 years it has given city people the chance to pick up books at bargain prices and educate underprivileged people around the world.     The annual Feed the Minds book fair returned to Norwich today and will run each day until Saturday with thousands of bargain books on sale to raise money for the charity ... more  Add a comment

30.06.06. Recurrent computer problems have kept us occupied for the past few days and it's possible we may have mislaid some email. If you have emailed us and not received a response, please do contact us again. Apologies for any inconvenience.  Add a comment

22.06.06. A couple of days ago, Selma from Farringtons School in Chislehurst, Kent, contacted us to try and find a replacement bookseller for their Asian Earthquake Appeal fund raising event. "Just to let you know someone contacted us via your site and we have someone now for our event. Thanks again! " - Selma.  Add a comment

21.06.06. Stephen Lloyd, who has been running book fairs in Newport on the Isle of Wight, is orgainsing a new one in Cowes, on July 29th. It's timed to coincide with Cowes week and there will be a wide range of books and ephemera as well maritime books.  Add a comment

Museum of Transport in Manchester are holding a fund raising book and postcard fair on Sunday 13th August in the Museum. Dealers can book a stall here, or for more information call 0161 205 2122.  Add a comment

Chris Phillips of Bath Old Books emailed to tell us that the PBFA has had to change the date of the Dublin Book Fair to 15th & 16th of September instead of 29th & 30th. We are most grateful to him and all of you who help us in the endless task of keeping this calendar updated.  Add a comment

Farringtons School in Chislehurst, Kent, are holding a Summer Bazaar and Asian Mela on June 24th, in aid of the Asian Earthquake Appeal. The dealer who was going to run a bookstall has dropped out, and anyone who fancies taking their place should call Salma on 07966 426 776.  Add a comment

It will be interesting to see how trade held up during London 'Book Fair Week' (4-11th June) which turned out to be the hottest week of the year so far. I look forward to Barry Shaw's detailed analysis of the numbers in Bookdealer and will give a Pr'ecis next week.  Add a comment

One of the world's earliest printed documents, Christopher Columbus's account of his first voyage to discover the New World, will come up for sale in London this month with a price tag of £500,000.
    The Columbus Letter, or Epistola Christofori Colom, is the explorer's remarkably humane description of his first encounters with the natives of Hispaniola and other Caribbean islands early in 1493.
Peter Harrington Antiquarian Books, which will offer the letter at the Antiquarian Book Fair in London starting on June 8th, said yesterday that it was perhaps the first known example of "a papal press release" ... more  Add a comment

Mark Richardson, the organiser of Tonbridge Book Fair, shares his thoughts on how to make book fairs more interesting ... more 
    Keith Thompson disagrees: 'Presumably the object of a book fair is to sell books and whether or not it is "dull" misses the point' ... more  
    Gordon Hill exhibited at book fairs for nearly twenty years, so he feels qualified to comment ... more
    Clive Keeble's prescription is simple - price the books to sell ... more
    In Robert Brown's view, there are: 'Too many "booksellers", not enough retailers!' ... more
    Your thoughts, as fair exhibitors, visitors and customers, could help organisers plan for the future, so please leave a comment

Brendan Carroll took us to task about a "Book Fair" we had listed, which he said was tiny and had only one bookseller. When I investigated, it turned out to be an individual dealer's "Book Sale", but it had been submitted using the "Add a Fair" link ... so that's exactly what we had done. We've now remedied this but Brendon's comments raise a couple of issues.
    Firstly, perhaps we need another category of "Book Event" to accommodate those which are not traditional Book Fairs?
    Secondly - but most importantly - it illustrates how vital reader's eyes and ears are in keeping TheBookGuide's listings relevant, by ensuring that we are well informed.  Add a comment

An historic and influential film guide which dismissed modern-day masterpieces such as Citizen Kane, is for sale. Edward Maggs, the antiquarian dealer, is to offer the collection for £12,000 at this year's Antiquarian Book Fair at Olympia, London, in June ... more  Add a comment

Beginning with its June date, Steve Marshall will take over the running of the Sevenoaks Book Fair from Bob Broadway. As a result there will be no fair in May but then the dates will continue as usual for the rest of the year.  Add a comment

There are three book events being held in adjacent Sherborne halls on Easter Saturday, April 15th. Brian Basden reminds us that: 'The Sherborne Lions are having one of their twice yearly sales in the Masonic Hall, which is adjacent to the Age Concern Hall where my monthly Book Market will be held, which in turn is next to the Church Hall where a PBFA Fair is being run.'  Add a comment

The London Map Fair on April 9th will be the last of the bi-mothly fairs held at the Rembrandt Hotel. Lack of international customers and the internet go some way to explaining the fair's decline. The June two day map fair at Olympia is not affected.  Add a comment

Neville Chapman, who recently moved from Cornwall to West Yorkshire, is organising a new fair at Todmorden on April 9th. Refreshments are available, entry is by donation and the proceeds will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. We hope the fair is a success and will become a regular event.  Add a comment

Also on April 9th, an extra date at Clapham in North Yorkshire. It's promoted by Pete Fry, who held two successful fairs at this venue last year.  Add a comment

April 2nd is the first of two fair dates we've just added for Tonbridge, Kent.  Add a comment

An original poster advertising an early Beatles concert at Harrogate's Royal Hall goes on sale at the town's largest antiquarian book fair next weekend, Saturday March 17th.
    The fab four were probably the most famous act to perform at the Royal Hall, and the poster advertises a performance by "The Sensational Beatles" on Friday March 8 1963 - just weeks after the Liverpool band reached number one with "Please, Please Me "... more   Add a comment

Joy reports that this March we are listing 33 more fair dates than in 2005. These are mainly new ventures by novice organisers, or in a few cases, new locations by existing organisers.
    Early feedback from some of the new organisers is quietly optimistic and provides a welcome contrast to the visible contraction of some of the fairs we regularly visit. However, even at those fairs where exhibitor numbers have continued to slide, some organisers are reporting significantly increased visitor numbers.
   Although it's too early for a detailed analysis, these figures suggest that not only has the overall decline in fairs stabilised, but that we are actually seeing a modest growth of about 5%.
   This represents the first real growth for five years and perhaps these new organisers will be able to build on their initial success.

Colin Baker mentioned to us that was planning to try a fair in Plymouth, the largest City in the region. I'm pleased to say that the initial fair will take place on April 22nd and will hopefully be the first of many.   Add a comment

There have been a few changes to the PBFA's fair dates, the most important of which are the cancellation of Tiverton on February 28th and Aberdeen on September 10th. However, Monmouth gains an extra date, February 19th.
    We have now added all the Glasgow Botanic Gardens dates but are still unable to discover if the Chesterfield, Dronfield and Retford Fairs are to run this year.  Add a comment

Joy tells me that we now have the vast majority of known fair organisers dates for 2006, with the exception of the Glasgow Botanic Gardens. This is due to Richard Rogers still recovering from a knee operation, but we should have these by the end of January.
    The other remaining events are mainly single day fairs, the dates of which are yet to be determined. I will highlight these in this news section as they become available.
    However, one organiser remains un-contacted, despite dozens of unanswered phone calls. If anyone can tell us whether the Chesterfield, Dronfield and Retford Fairs are to run this year, they will earn Joy's heartfelt gratitude.

Chasing fair organisers for their dates is always time consuming and it coincides with a traditionally busy time for us. This year has been particularly fraught due to the unusually high volume of bookshop updates and correspondence. This is largely due to the unprecedented interest taken by the national press and media in the supposed fate of the UK's secondhand bookshops.
    However, this is good news, as the stories have done a great deal to alert readers to what would be lost, if we were all become virtual book buyers.

Kinver, the Midland's popular monthly book fair celebrates twenty-five years - TheBookGuide took a look...more

04.11.05.Computer crash trashed our In Box and ate the last couple of day's emails. If you haven't received a responce or acknowledgement, please contact us again.   Add a comment

Charity book sale at Dorchester Abbey, Oxfordshire, on 5th November

Andrew Harty has just informed us that his fair at Croston on October 23rd is CANCELED. I await confimation of the changes to his remaining dates.

A new fair to us in Settle on December 17th, described as having up to 18 stalls, of mostly antiquarian and collector's books.

Another correction, but not our fault this time :) Pete Fry's Clapham Village book fair is on the 23rd of October, not the 31st.

Jude Haslam was kind enough two send us details of the Bedale Book & Postard Fair on October 16th. There will up to 40 dealers stalls and the fair is held in aid of Friends of Chernobyls's Children.

The Morrab Library in Penzance, is holding its annual fund raising book fair on 5th November. According to Susan Hoyle, there will be rare and secondhand books, postcards, and from 2.00, local children's author Caroline Binch will be signing copies of her latest book, The Princess and the Castle. Susan can be contacted on 01736 810765

Two Dorset bookbinders will combine forces to give an exhibition of their craft at the Sherborne book fair on Saturday 1st October. There will be free advice, demonstrations, displays and bookbinding materials and tools for sale.

Apologies to John Beck for listing his Lewes book fair as being on October 1st, when in fact, it's on the 15th.

Thanks to Mrs E. Mann of Forest Books, Cheshire; for pointing out the script error in the September calendar link, which has now been fixed.

Jo Wyborn writes: "Unfortunately, we have to postpone the Atherstone book fair scheduled for September 17th, due to circumstances beyond our control (yes, that old chestnut!). It will be rescheduled for early 2006."

Greg Finn's two day fair at Oswaldwhistle on 10th & 11th September has been cancelled. If you are at a loose end, you could visit Jude Haslam's fair at Richmond Station on the 11th.

As part of their festival, Sedbergh Book Town are holding a "Mega Car Boot & Book Market" on Sunday August 28th. 7.30 entry for sellers, 9.00 for buyers Full details from Carole Nelson.

Trevor Cooke's New Forest Book Fair at Lyndhurst was booked for 27th August but the venue changed the date, and Trevor forgot to tell us... It is now to be held on 20th August.

Donald Male is organising a charity booksale of about 3000 volumes at Lichfield Methodist Church, Tamworth Street, Lichfield, on August 13th, 10.00 - 3.00, further details 01543 252653.

Jon Eadon of Trent Valley Bookfairs has cancelled his fairs on 25th September and 27th November at Mere Green, Sutton Coldfield. At the moment no further fairs are proposed at this location, but his Lichfield fair will continue as usual.  Add a comment

I have just added a new monthly fair at Quality Mill, Croston in Lancashire. They are being held on the last Sunday in the month (except December), beginning on August 28th, and admission is free.  Add a comment

Sunday June 19th was not only Kinver Book Fair's 25th anniversary, it was also the hottest day of the year so far.
    The heat was stifling and I'm sure we were not alone in our desperation to head for the shade of our garden at the earliest opportunity. Not the best of weather to judge any book fair, and Kinver certainly seemed much quieter than usual.
    I've persuaded Ivor Simpson, the fair's organiser, to share some of his memories of this popular Midlands book fair and they will appear in August.  Add a comment

Initial reports from the London fairs suggest that trade was 'all right'. I will try to provide some more detail when the ABA & PBFA release their figures.   Add a comment

June is the high point of the book fair calendar, with the London fairs offering an unrivaled opportunely to get up close and physical with old - and not so old - books. The ABA's prestigious International Book Fair at Olympia 2, runs from the 9th - 12th June and features one of the world's rarest books, a 42-page rant written, published and signed by Galileo. Complimentary tickets are available from the fair website.
    This year the PBFA's fair at the Hotel Russell on the 5th & 6th, is join by a second at a new venue - Novotel in West London - on the 10th & 11th of June. Admission to both fairs is free and catalogues are available by email.
    Details of all the London fairs as well as more than fifty book fairs around the UK can be found in the June calendar.  Add a comment

One of the world's biggest charity book fairs opens today (14.05.05) in Edinburgh, with more than 100 Scottish authors donating signed copies of their works to help the charity Christian Aid...more  Add a comment

Jo Wyborn of Booktowns International, has asked me to add Atherstone's first book fair to our calendar. It's to be held on Saturday 17th September, stands will be £20.00, trade entry at 9.00 and you can find the full details here.  Add a comment

Richmond's first book fair was such a success that Jude Haslam's going to run another on September 11th...more  Add a comment

Gordon Hill of Bowdon Books writes: 'Reading your review of book fairs and their performance, it's hardly surprising that the quality of stock offered for sale at many book fairs continues to deteriorate.
    When we went on ABE, about 4 years ago, there were approx 23 million books on that site. Now, there are 13,000 "dealers" and 70 million books on offer'...more  Add a comment

Sue Pope is house manager of Dudmaston Hall, a late 17th century National Trust property near Bridgnorth, and is hoping to hold book fairs there on 24th July and 23rd October. Dealers interested in standing at this event should email her.

The River Mersey Book Fair is a new fair at the Birkenhead ferry terminal, with its first event to be held over the weekend of June 4th & 5th. Andrew Harty told me the aim was not only to attract dealers and collectors but also the general public, especially in the summer when a lot of people use the ferry terminal for day trips.  Add a comment

A rather belated listing for the Torquay Book Fair on March 20th. Colin Baker says that there will be 15 Dealers with a wide variety of specialities, including children's, fine art, modern firsts and topography. Full details can be found in the calendar.  Add a comment

A Letter written by Lawrence of Arabia is expected to attract special interest at the PBFA book fair in Harrogate on March 18th and 19th...more   Add a comment

Tony Bliss, rare-books curator at UC Berkeley's Bancroft Library, goes shopping at the California International Antiquarian Book Fair...more  Add a comment.

Barry Shaw the editor of Bookdealer recently visited the Bristol Book Fair. His verdict, "People there genuinely seemed to be enjoying themselves"...more   Add a comment

Now in its 28th year, the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair is one of the oldest antiquarian book fairs in the America, featuring museum-quality works on paper for display and sale.
    This year more than 135 dealers will gather at the Hynes Convention Center from November 19-21 to exhibit and sell rare, collectible and antiquarian books, modern first editions, manuscripts, autographs, maps...more  Add a comment.

Trent Valley Bookfairs have cancelled the Mere Green Book Fair (Sutton Coldfield) on November 27th. However, there are new dates on Sundays planned for this venue in 2005.

Barry Shaw's analysis of the numbers from the York book Fair in Bookdealer, provides an illuminating 'snapshot' of the state of the UK's secondhand book trade.
    Compared to 2003, sales were down (13%), exhibitors were also down (15.5%), but average takings and sales to the public were marginally up.     No real surprises then, but an encouraging demonstration that the pubic can still be lured away from their screens, because, as Greg Smith commented, 'Its just not possible to fall in love with books on the internet'.
    The new venue is a breath of fresh air after the tomb like claustrophobia of the Barbican, and seems to to have received widespread approval from both exhibitors and visitors.  Add a comment.

We lost track of the London Map Fairs when Robert Walker stopped running them. Tim Bryars tells us that they are now held six times a year, have a new website, and a change in venue to Rembrandt Hotel opposite the V&A.
    The two remaining dates this year are October 10th and December 12th and full details can be found in the calendar.

Ray Masters has pointed out that we have had the Bala book fair wrongly listed as Saturday 25th September - it should be Saturday 18th.
    Ray says "It is normally the last Saturday in September but not this year due to the venue being already booked for the 25th. I don't know who posted the date to you, presumably somebody who assumed it would be the last Saturday as normal."

New to us, Torquay on September 12th - full details can be found in the calendar.

As part of their conclave, the Miniature Book Society is holding a book fair at the Hilton Hotel, Bath. It's on Sunday, September 5th and public admission is from 1.00 - 5.00.

Clive Keeble reports the untimely death of Stephen Clarke, who traded as Clearwater Books...more

We have just added a September fair at Retford, Nottinghamshire and two October dates.
    The 30th of October fair at Twyford, Berkshire is being organised by a local bookseller "as a fund raiser for the 1st Twyford Scouts, whose headquarters and equipment were destroyed by arsonists last winter".
    October 31st sees a new (to us at least) fair at Dronfield in Derbyshire.
     Full details of these fairs will be found in the monthly calendar.

Barry Shaw's traditional London book fairs post-mortem in Bookdealer was as interesting and informative as ever. The PBFA's Commonwealth Institute fair (probably the last at this venue) bucked the trend by declaring a 10% increase in sales over 2003. The Russell's take was down by 7% (-32% on 2002) and the 45th ABA fair, down 10%.
     The general feeling among exhibitors seems to have been that the slow downward trend of bookfairs was set to continue. However, the strength of sales at the PBFA's fair demonstrates that quality mid-priced books continue to sell.

How are book fairs coping with the changing face of bookselling? TheBookGuide looks back over the last four years and finds a decline of 17.5%...more