Posts Tagged ‘Book Fairs’

New York, New York!

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

armory show floorStart spreading the news: the 54th Annual New York Antiquarian Book Fair opens tomorrow! As I type, over 200 American and international exhibitors are converging on the historic Park Avenue Armory, unpacking crates of rare books, ephemera, maps, prints, manuscripts, and other treasures. If you’ve never attended, you’ll be amazed at the amount and range of material that our exhibitors have in each booth, their mini-stores for the weekend.

The fair has been referred to as a treasure trove and it’s an apt description. Exhibitors spend countless hours curating their most interesting material and arranging their booth displays in the most enticing manner. As the Armory slowly fills up with (more…)

Countdown to the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair!

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

ABAA Boston International Antiquarian Book FairWe are only nine days away from opening night of our 36th Annual Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair and I am ready to head north to Beantown! I’m excited to see all the wonderful material— books, maps, ephemera, etc.– that will be on exhibit, see friends and members, and take advantage of my time in Boston. It’s a fantastic city with no shortage of history, culture, and activities, so we have been compiling a list of events and attractions taking place during the fair. Check out our Facebook and Twitter pages for a new suggestion every day! Plus, it’s autumn in New England which means you’ll be in stunning surroundings all weekend.

For a sneak preview of items exhibitors will be bringing to the show, visit the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair’s Facebook page. I’m drooling over the latest post about a signed Charlie Parker LP of his notorious Lover Man recording. Check out the post for more details.

Click here to purchase your tickets for the fair.

There’s Nothing Like Books & Springtime in New York

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

2013 NY Book FairThe 2013 New York Antiquarian Book Fair was a great success: 200 ABAA and ILAB exhibitors brought the best material they had to offer, attendance was bustling, and everyone enjoyed the post-fair hours with colleagues and friends.

Festivities kicked off Wednesday night at the grand opening of B & B Rare Books, Ltd.’s new gallery. The space, located in a historic building on East 20th Street, was lovely and filled to the brim with excited booksellers, which made for a delightful party. I even managed to take a few moments to look at the books and was especially impressed with the inscribed copies B & B had to offer.

Attendees queued up early for the Thursday night preview and with good reason. There was quite a buzz about the quality of material

Papier-Maiche ape offered byLibrairie Alain Brieux

Papier-Maiche ape offered byLibrairie Alain Brieux

exhibitors had on display and there were some truly remarkable items, like the life size papier-mâché ape. Not to mention that there were four Kelmscott Chaucers on the floor (!). A rainy and cold day made the Park Avenue Armory the perfect place to be on Friday. Magician and author Ricky Jay visited and examined a deck of cards from the 1700s in Donald Heald‘s booth. I got the chance to take a break from the ABAA booth and walk the floor on Friday, and was seriously impressed by what I saw. I am always a sucker for prints and hand-colored books and illustrations, and there was no shortage of them at this fair. I was especially taken with a number of watercolors of 1920s fashion designs and boldly colored French cover art. After dinner and drinks, (more…)

The Best Book Fair of the Year

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
Booksellers setting up this morning

Booksellers setting up this morning

We are only a day away from opening night of the NY Antiquarian Book Fair, an event not to be missed by anyone who has a passion. You’re probably thinking: You forgot to finish your sentence; surely you mean a passion for books. No, you read it correctly the first time.

ABAA book fairs offer a chance to purchase a piece of history and every field is represented. Everyone can find something fascinating at the shows, no matter what their passion or interest may be– just take a look at the drop-down list of specializations on our member search page to get an idea of the breadth of fields our sellers deal in. What’s more, it may be called a book fair, but there is much more on the show floor than books– manuscripts, prints, maps, ephemera, sketches, letters, photographs…almost anything you can think of. As I posted last year, ABAA fairs are truly living, breathing museums and they give you the unique opportunity to take home part of the exhibit. (Read last year’s post after the jump.)

Just writing and thinking about the fair has gotten my adrenaline pumping– I can’t wait to get to the Armory! I hope to see you there.


New York Antiquarian Book Fair
April 11-14
Park Avenue Armory @ 67th Street
Thursday preview: 5pm-9pm
Friday: Noon-8pm
Saturday: Noon-7pm
Sunday: Noon-5pm

Book Collecting 101, Saturday at 1pm
Discovery Day, Noon-3pm (more…)

Boston Fair a Blast

Monday, November 19th, 2012

This past weekend was the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, which was held at the Hynes Convention Center. The Boston fair kicked off the ABAA’s fair season, which includes our California show in February and New York show in April. Besides getting to see an abundance of fascinating and unique books, prints, maps, and ephemera, the fairs are the book world’s opportunity to connect with friends and colleagues, and fair weekends always involve good books, food, drink, and conversation. This fair was no exception and a good time was had by all.

Every ABAA fair also features lectures and presentations, and the Boston fair had some really interesting programs like “What’s For Dinner”, a presentation by Richard Gutman and Erin Williams that recounted the variety of factors that influenced cuisine in the 20th Century and an illustrated lecture by Martin Antonetti and Ron Patkus on “The Art of the Book in Wales.” Attendees took advantage of the free appraisal program on Sunday afternoon, evidenced by the long line that persisted during the program’s two hour slot. (It’s worthwhile to note that every ABAA fair features an opportunity for attendees to have up to three books appraised on Sunday afternoon.) If you attended and had your books appraised, we’d love to hear from you about the experience.

Thanks to all the exhibitors, attendees, and Commonwealth Promotion for another great fair!

Autumn, Books & Boston? Yes, please!

Thursday, July 12th, 2012
Boston in Autumn

Boston in Autumn (image by Rebecca Kennison via Wikipedia Creative Commons)

There’s still plenty of summer ahead, but it’s the perfect time to plan a weekend getaway for the fall, when heat and summer holidays seem a distant memory. Where to head, you ask? New England is the place to be in autumn, and the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair is the perfect reason to plan a long weekend in the historic city. Just released details on this year’s fair are below. (more…)

Top 5 Celebrity Sightings at the NY Book Fair

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

As I mentioned in my previous post, there was some extra buzz at this year’s NY Antiquarian Book Fair due to a number of celebrity sightings. I know there were a number of important and influential scholars, authors, curators, etc. in attendance and I’m sorry that I didn’t recognize more! I was, however, all over the pop-culture ‘heavy hitters’.

Below are my top five celeb sightings from the fair.


Springtime in NY + Antiquarian Book Fair = Success, Great Time Had By All

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Outside the Park Avenue Armory, which is currently getting a facelift. (Photo courtesy of Neveen Marsh)

This past weekend’s NY Antiquarian Book Fair was a great success, with high attendance, eager  buyers, and, most importantly, fantastic inventory from over 200 exhibitors from around the world.  This was our largest NY Fair to date– there were so many enthusiastic dealers that the show floor was slightly expanded to accomodate the absolute maximum number of exhibitors– and dealers did not disappoint with the marvelous offerings they brought along.

The weather was spectacular– I heard it again and again throughout the fair and there truly is nothing like springtime in NYC– but that didn’t stop people from exploring the cavernous space of the Armory all weekend long.  There were also multiple celebrity sightings (more on that later) which only infused the show floor with additional excitement.

As an employee of the ABAA, I spend most of my time during the fairs in the ABAA booth handing out literature about the organization and fielding questions from attendees and exhibitors.  I enjoy the opportunity to speak with both attendees and dealers about the fair, and I’m particularly fond of the gusto book fair virgins have, the wonder and excitement they express at their discovery of the rare book world.  This isn’t to say that time in the booth doesn’t drag on a bit at times.  It does, but mostly because I get frustrated that I’m not exploring every nook and cranny in each booth.

Preview night at the NY Fair allows me the chance to explore, and it’s one of the many reasons I love this fair in particular.  On Thursday night the fair opens in preview– sales can take place but admission is slightly higher because you are truly getting first pick at a highly popular event– and I’m afforded the occasion to check things out for myself, say hello to members I don’t often see or have not yet met in person, and try to see as much as possible.  If you saw me on Preview night this year I probably looked like a chicken with its head cut off (though even wobblier in heels) as I tried to simultaneously meet, greet, and Tweet, all while trying to take in as much as possible.  I was taken by a number of natural history prints, beautiful pictures of flora and fauna; illuminated leaves; and original drawings from some of my childhood favorites.

Even with the time I had on preview night, I didn’t see the majority of what sellers had to offer at the fair, and it’s easy to see that if you really wanted to explore every nook and cranny you would need to attend the whole run of the show (and even then would be likely to leave stones unturned!).  For me, the fair is ambiguously overwhelming, exciting and anxiety producing at once, and I love it every time.

There was no question attendees were impressed and, from the post-fair reports that I’ve read, dealers sound very pleased with the weekend as well.  All in all a success!  (Please check out our Facebook page for more photos of the fair.)

If you weren’t able to make it to this year’s NY Fair, mark your calendar for next year and catch up with the ABAA & ILAB in Boston in November and/or San Francisco in February.

Why Visit an Antiquarian Book Fair?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Show floor at a past NY Antiquarian Book Fair

For many readers of this blog, the answer is obvious, but based on the responses I occasionally receive when I tell people who I work for or about one of our fairs (blank stares and sometimes an “antiquari-what?), it’s very clear to me that not everyone is ‘in the know’. The most evident reason– to buy rare books– can be easily deduced, but it overlooks the pure pleasure of attending, whether you leave with books in hand or not, and what I consider to be the true spirit of the show: a celebration of books, history, and intellect.

I attended my first antiquarian book fair here in New York two years ago, before I had any idea what the ABAA was.  Literature has always played a central role in my life, both academically and personally, so when my aunt, also a bibliophile and minor collector, invited my boyfriend and I to attend the show with her we accepted eagerly. We were unsure of what to expect, but figured that if there were lots of books involved then it couldn’t be that bad.

Armed with no real expectations, I was staggered to arrive on the show floor and behold the immensity of the Armory and its current inhabitants– first editions of every classic I had ever read, texts from the Renaissance, maps and prints I had only seen the likes of in galleries and institutions.  I was overwhelmed, albeit in a good way, and before I had even begun to look around I realized that I wanted to spend more time there than I had allowed for that evening.

I wandered through the aisles in silent wonderment. (It sounds cheesy, but it’s true.) My memories of what I saw that night seem dreamlike– Ulysses with illustrations by Matisse, The Grapes of Wrath in its original dust jacket, illuminated manuscripts, Janis Joplin’s handwritten letters back home after her arrival in San Francisco…

The biggest impression left on me was not something I saw, however, but something an exhibitor said.  My aunt and I were in a booth excitedly peering at a book behind glass when the exhibitor offered to take the item out so we could have a closer look.  We explained that, although enthralled with the book, we weren’t planning on purchasing it and didn’t want to waste her time.  The exhibitor immediately shrugged off our concerns and took the book out of the case, allowing us to flip through the pages and providing us with more detailed information on the copy.  She encouraged us: “The fair is like a living museum– take advantage of it!”

That sentiment stuck with me and during my past two years with the ABAA it’s rung more and more true.  A “living museum” is the perfect way to describe an antiquarian book fair.  Each booth has its own curator, a seller with intimate knowledge and understanding of the items offered, and the best part is that you can take home parts of the exhibit!

Come visit NY’s living museum this weekend, I promise you won’t be sorry that you did and you may even leave with a pretty kick ass souvenir.

NY Antiquarian Book Fair
April 12-15
Park Avenue Armory
Fair Hours:
   Preview: Thursday April 12, 5-9 pm
   Friday, April 13: 12-8 pm
   Saturday, April 14: 12-7 pm
   Sunday, April 15: 12-5 pm



NY Book Fair: Where to Eat

Monday, April 9th, 2012

There are only two days left before the NY Antiquarian Book Fair opens to the public!

In addition to the more than 200 exhibitors coming in from all parts of the country and the world, collectors and book lovers will be coming to NYC for the fair. Refreshments will be offered on the show floor, but below are a few recommendations for a variety of nearby restaurants. Bon appetit! (more…)