Fairs | February 2012 | Nate Pedersen

California Antiquarian Book Fair (Day 1)

fair 1.JPGAfter a late departure, stalled by dense fog (which is virtually unheard of in the high desert of Bend, Oregon), I arrived at the 45th annual California Antiquarian Book Fair around 6:00 p.m, just in time for the last two hours of the day.  This was the first year that the Los Angeles Book Fair was held at the convention center in Pasadena, moving away from its long time home at the Century Plaza Hotel on the west side of LA.  The general mood among booksellers was that the change was a big improvement.  All the booksellers were together in one spacious, open area, a nice contrast from the winding corridors of the Century Plaza.  The lighting - bright and clear - was another improvement commented upon by several booksellers.  Hosea Baskin, of Cumberland Rare Books, in Northampton, Massachusetts, referred to the new venue as "clean and sparkly and delightfully un-antiquarian."  Teri Osborn, of William Reese Co., and one of our profiles in the Bright Young Things series, said that there was "a lot of foot traffic" and overall sales "seemed alright."  Tom Congalton, of Between the Covers Rare Books, also mentioned that the there was good amount of the usual pre-fair activity amongst dealers.

teri at book fair.JPG
I spoke with a young fair attendee named Caitlin Getz, who at 23 years old was attending her first antiquarian book fair.  She found the experience "amazing" and "mind-blowing" and was clearly enjoying a leisurely stroll amongst the medieval manuscripts, first editions, and signed photographs.

By the time 8:00 pm rolled around, the fair activity had died down considerably, and the book dealers commenced making plans for dinner and drinks in the old town of Pasadena.  Tom Congalton succinctly summed up the mood for day two: "We're hopeful."

I'll be posting again tomorrow with two entries about Saturday at the book fair.