I thought the Georgetown Book Fair was going to be all about celebrity-themed cocktails, diletantish swells, and dolled-up swellettes swanning about, sipping bubbly.
Instead, it turned out to be a well-organized and well-publicized event attended by a surprisingly eager crowd whose median age was well below the usual range of doddering book fair visitors. They saw, they asked, they bought.
John Townsend writes up another sale
And, contrary to the usual book fair chatter, conversations tended to be book-related. Definitely a well-educated crowd, with a few bucks to throw around.
Yes, the event was spread among a mere 30 – odd dealers crammed into six spaces occupying 2 ½ floors, but somehow this only contributed to a sense of discovery, as if the venerable Tavern Club had turned into a book-themed amusement park for the weekend. A few dealers and I have been having speculative conversations with Marvin Getman, thinking about new ways to stage traditional book fairs, and this event is worth studying in some detail because, against all apparent odds, it worked.
I think it was the clubbish aspect that gave me the wrong idea. I’d done book talks in similar-seeming clubs in Boston and New York, and had formed the opinion that these clubs existed to service old men who wanted to get out of the house for a drink… or six. In fact, the clubbish aspect of this particular club was due to the staff, who were exceptionally well trained in the art of making people feel comfortable, and did a splendid job of it. They fed us lunch and dinner, poured drinks for us all afternoon, and catered (as best they could) to our every whim.
After the first evening I happened to mention to Eve Lemon, the genius who’d conceived of and promoted this event,
Eve buys a few from Ron Cozzi
that it was rather dark in my booth.
I came in the next morning to find that a lamp was brightening things up. Try getting that level of service at a show in New York, London, or Los Angeles.
I’ll stop right here. I don’t want to talk this event up too much. They’re planning on doing it again next year and I don’t want too many people trying to get in.
Georgetown traffic was horrible. Don’t come.