Book Fairs

Sunday, Jan 29, 2017

To Book Fair, or Not to Book Fair...That's Not a Question!

The upcoming California book fairs are a great place to hunt for treasures, learn about the antiquarian book trade, and find like-minded folk who love what you love... books! However, going to the fairs can be a daunting endeavor, especially if it is your first time attending. We'd like to focus on two of the main California fairs that will be held this February in the Bay Area, and give our followers a bit of an overview to attending these wonderful events. Both the Codex Symposium and the California International Antiquarian Book Fair (put on by the ABAA) are fantastic places to learn and buy, and we encourage you to attend!

First, the Codex Symposium will be open February 5th through the 8th in Richmond, California. Held every other year, the Codex Foundation (headed by the illustrious Peter Koch) brings to the East Bay hundreds of book artists from around the world.  Their Mission Statement says it better than I can:  “The Codex Foundation exists to preserve and promote the hand-made book as a work of art in the broadest possible context and to bring to public recognition the artists, the craftsmanship, and the rich history of the civilization of the book.”

On my first visit there, in 2013, I was awe-struck by the talent gathered into one room.  Artisans from all phases of book production were there; wood engravers, paper-makers, letter-press printers, binders. It was a feast for the eyes. This year they have artists signed up from Norway, Italy, the UK, France, Australia, South Korea, China, Guatemala, Mexico, Austria, Israel, Egypt, Ireland – and of course, most of the 50 states.  I lost count but it appears there are over 200 exhibitors signed up!

The next weekend you will find us at the California ABAA fair, a grand event that draws thousands of people each year (it alternates between being held in the Bay Area and in Pasadena in Southern California), and is certainly a sight to behold. The Oakland ABAA fair boasts almost 200 exhibiting booksellers from around the world, and is offering quite a series of lectures and special exhibitions throughout the 3-day event, including seminars such as Bookselling 101 for those new to the antiquarian book world! 

The ABAA Fair is not only a fantastic event for book-lovers and bibliophiles, but is also a fair near and dear to our heart this year, as it will be the first ABAA fair that Swan's Fine Books will be exhibiting at, as a new member of the Antiquarian Bookseller's Association of America. Please stop by (we’ll be in Booth 712) and feel free to browse our titles, get inside information on where to find interesting hidden gems in our booth and in those around us, and especially our hints on what's looking good at the snack counter! We want you to love book fairs as much as we do, please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you enjoy your experience. See you at the fairs!