guest post – "They came to the dance………"

On Friday October 10, setup at the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair, booksellers were cautious about pre-fair buying, not knowing what to expect in this economy. But when the line started to form outside prior to Saturday’s opening I heard Louis Collins say: “Well they are coming to the dance. I don’t know if you will find your partner but they are coming to the dance.” Indeed they came and danced, both Saturday and Sunday. Partners were found, (even some slow dancing occured!) SOLD stickers stuck, full bags were carried out. A woman at the fair retrieved her cell phone from her checked bag. Not to price books online, but to take and send images of books and book dealer’s booths by phone to a bed ridden friend who was “at the fair” if not physically, in spirit! I saw several out of town dealers buying, lots of local booksellers who did not setup this year but were there buying. The larger fair space was bright and airy and it felt good, not only to the booksellers but the customers as well. I saw most of the Washington Book Club at the fair, also a few heavyweight buyers from England making those special purchases, the book arts were alive and well at the fair, plenty of customers both days. Canada was well represented, and I spotted the great bookbinder Richart Smart walking the fair with his family ( Matt Ruff (Winner of the Washington Book Award for Fiction this year) was also spotted among the crowd. Filming for the ABAA archive was taking place as well, all afternoon, members recording their stories that will be part of the ABAA archives at the Grolier Club in NYC (Thank you Mike Ginsberg for this great idea!). Fair promoters Louis Collins and Dave Gregor have perfected presenting this fair and it showed in all the little details. Coffee and pastry for the dealers, ample time to setup, the Book Fair dinner Friday night (sponsored by the Book Club of Washington), several birthdays were announced during the fair. One buyer suggested to me that the PA announcer should announce his Melville wants so he could go straight to a certain booth without walking the floor on his own! Seattlei-tes support of this fair, and interest in books, maps, prints, posters, ephemera and the like, was much in evidence over this weekend, a glorious fall weather weekend as well. Great location, nice building, I was impressed by the stock brought out by all the dealers, all around a very classy event. The Pacific Northwest Chapter trotted out their fancy new directory (with color printing) at this event, postcards were give out for the ABAA SF fair in February ’09, dealers were hurrying to get their deposits in for next years fair, and be sure to watch the fair website: for pictures of this years event as well as interesting news about next year. If Chief Seattle himself was still around, he would have made an appearance at the fair, hoping to find some great books! See you next year in Seattle! Ed Smith, ABAA ps; 46 ABAA dealers exhibited this year in Seattle!

Ed Smith Books
Bainbridge Island, WA

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