“Just what is it that’s making these (book) fairs so successful, at a time when conventional second-hand bookshops are closing down? Part of the appeal is that book fairs offer up books as tactile objects for leisurely perusal at a time when readers are increasingly doing their reading on e-readers and online. Potential purchasers can feel the heft, the quality of the paper – and in the case of second-hand books, look for intriguing dedications in the back. What’s more, they can do this in the presence of knowledgeable publishers and booksellers – which is why books and pamphlets with beautiful illustrations or high production values are often to be found at book fairs.

“Of course, this still doesn’t explain why fairs should succeed where second-hand bookshops struggle – but perhaps the answer to lies in the sociability of browsing.

A book fair is not just a static location – it is an event. More often than not it includes guest speakers, workshops and poetry readings. Visitors can mingle, meet friends and form acquaintances with others who have similar literary or political interests.”

– excerpted from Book fairs get a new lease of life, The Guardian (UK), 6/20/2012

Brooklyn Book Festival 2008
via NewYorkology

Aside from the bookstores we visit regularly, and the books we save at tag and estate sales, we always try to visit local antiquarian book fairs and festivals. The photo above is of the Brooklyn Book Festival that takes place every September in Brooklyn Heights (that’s the Manhattan Bridge in the background).

We’ve brought friends and family with us and watched them make connections with independent publishers and other designers, writers, and editors. But we spend most of our time going from booth to booth to see what’s being offered, fan thru the publications, and if we have time, sit for a reading at the stage set up in the center.

It’ a good day to spend with other lovers of the printed word…

[h/t tip for photo to NewYorkology…]