ANZAAB Bookfair Round Up
Well its all over now for another year, and there are probably exhausted booksellers still in recovery mode. The final day of the fair was relatively uneventful, I spent half the day there, having spent the morning doing various and sundry, including a visit to a remainder shop that I shall talk about separately.
The previous night’s dinner had been a successful one, though I was really fading by the end (midnight). Unlike the Seattle Bookfair (ref Ed Smith’s guest post), the ANZAAB dinner is not sponsored and attendees have to pay for themselves – $150 per head this time, which covered canapes, 3 courses, coffee/ tea with crostoli and alcohol.
As Joyce can no doubt testify, the whole small talk/ social chitchat thing isn’t my strong point so when I saw, to my horror, that we all had allocated seats. . . . Happily, I was seated to someone with whom it was very easy to chat. Equally happily, the table of 8 was a good mix. Peter had, earlier in the day at the AGM, been elected the new President of ANZAAB, and we had two of the new members at our table. I have often wondered whether dealers actually talk anything but “booktalk” amongst themselves. The conversation on the night covered a various bookish matters but there was a lot of discussion between those who still have a shop and those who operate solely online [both via their own website and via ebay (auctions and stores)]. Personally, I may be old fashioned but I like the bricks and mortar store because I’m a browser. Online browsing just doesn’t have the same visceral appeal and I am less likely to do it and thus, less likely to make an impulse purchase.
By the close of the fair there was the usual mix of happy and disappointed dealers. A rough estimate of total attendance would probably be around 1000. Not bad for a weekend in which we were competing with the Australian Heritage Home Show, the Caulfield Cup and the Tri Nations! Melbourne is a horse racing city. The Caulfield Cup is only topped by the Melbourne Cup,which is a public holiday in Victoria.
ANZAAB has, I am told, about 80 members. When I mentioned, in my first fair post, that the antiquarian booksellers in Australia are a small group who are fairly well known to each other, I meant those more active members who do the ANZAAB fairs. Given the small number of total members, as an ordinary book buyer/ collector I have to express sadness that not more of them can participate. Further, for those who operate solely online, I think that it is an invaluable PR opportunity and a chance to make important face to face contact with customers.I guess its back to my day job now . . . Y