guest post – Montreal Book Fair

Saturday morning left the house shortly after 6, [ I was up earlier 4:00 a.m. with the hound, who had to go out]. Stopped at Tim Horton’s for coffee then remembered business cards left sitting on the dining room table – so beat a quick retreat to pick them up then off again. We had rented a GM van and loaded it the night before 7 boxes of books, two pails of stuff and one folding shelf. A very smooth ride and arrived at 8:30 – unloading a breeze as the crew quickly stacked our load on a trolley and whisked it away leaving us to park in Concordia’s underground garage.

Montreal’s Fair highlights 30 dealers, the majority from the city and surrounding area along with 3 Ottawa area dealers – ourselves, Patrick McGahern Books and David Ewens Books, followed by Steven Temple Books and Contact Editions out of Toronto.

Adrien King-Edwards – on the fairs organizing committee always gives us a warm welcome, was interested to hear of his bicycle tour of Iceland this past summer –>>

What is it that makes this fair special? I may be prejudiced having grown up in Montréal, but the atmosphere is charged.

Folks greet each other, don’t know how many times I saw customers shake hands with Michel Lefebvre of Librairie Henri-Julien. There’s a buzz that I love and haven’t experienced at other fairs and this one is only 30 dealers strong, it’s one of the things that brings me back year after year.

< <--As the show opens at noon we started the set-up. *me in the hat [with son Stephen & Mimi] Leaving my helpers to had finishing touches took a quick look around, just around the corner found Contact Editions–>>

One of the smartest ideas for protecting books was this folding text of Pope’s costumes with a cylinder of heavy Mylar around it – great visibility, without being fingered courtesy Susan Ravdin of de Freitas Books < <--

And the books – a marvellous display of Charles Bukoski material. Slipstream Books had a lovely designer book from a Newfoundland book artist, Doug Barnes, the owner collects books about bookmen – I was fortunate to have included two that he needed.

I Have always admired Michel Lanteigne-‘s shelf labels with illustrations, makes browsing so much easier. –>>

Other purchases included two on ceintures fléchés, those woven belts from Robert Campbell of Ex Libris Books and a great cookbook “MORO” with recipes from Spain to Morocco from S. W. Welch, Bookseller.

Sales too went well, my best year yet, it is satisfying when the books I choose to take go find customers.
Montreal customers appear to take a keen interest in what is available – French classic literature was a winner, along with Humboldt’s Cosmos. It’s always a pleasure to see Bauman’s up from New York will never forget selling her a copy of Rabbit Hill.

Packed up and out in record time – 2 hours home.
Hope for a repeat next year.
All the best,

v. alice hughes
Argosy Books in Ottawa

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