a visit to Papermania
This Saturday, Samantha and I made the three hour drive from Maine to Hartford, CT to attend the giant ephemera fair called Papermania. We got there a bit after opening, but spent the entire day browsing through booths piled high with unusual items: books, prints, photographs, advertising art and postcards. In the end, we bought two big bags of items, and could have spent even more time there. There were lots of friends and colleagues both exhibiting and in attendance as purchasers, and it was a pleasure to meet some dealers we haven't previously seen on the book fair circuit. I have to say, though, that also there were some of the strangest dealers I have yet to meet. First there were the three (count 'em) dealers who had no business cards or other info about their businesses and were unwilling to give out info otherwise. Then there was the dealer with an original drawing by an interesting artist, who had no price. Was it his item? "Yes." Is it for sale? "Yes." What's the price? "I don't know." This pattern was repeated later in the show with a dealer who had a notice about an important and expensive book taped up in his booth. Is it for sale? "Yes." How much? "I don't know." Are you intending to sell it? "Yes, but I need to find a rich man to buy it." We'll you're not going to find him this way. Finalyl there was the dealer gone AWOL. I myself am guilty of leaving my booth to browse a fair or seek some sustenance, but I found myself in a booth, books in hand, ready to buy. The dealer was missing - fine. I checked with the neighbors and was told that they had gone to a basketball game(?). I returned an hour and two hours later and found an empty booth. My selection of books remained on the folding chair, with my business card tucked inside. No dealer (and no call on the phone by today). Is there any wonder that booksellers are going out of business? Of course, these situations were frustrating, but still unusual examples of my interactions with the dealers at Papermania. And I'll be back there again next show.