Recently, Team Tavistock flew out to Chicago to exhibit at the Chicago Antiquarian Book Fair. A first time exhibiting at this fair for Tavistock, we got the low-down on their experiences below!
So Vic, is this your first time exhibiting at the Chicago fair? And if so, what made you decide to try it out?
VZ: Indeed, this was my first time exhibiting in Chicago, and I did so because it was held at the prestigious Newberry Library. A lovely venue.
Samm, have you spent any time in Chicago before this fair?
SF: Yes, I have spent quite a bit of time in Chicago before this trip. However, I was never in the area we were in – Lincoln Park is, I believe, the neighborhood that the Newberry is in. The park in front of the Newberry is absolutely gorgeous, and the Newberry Library was spectacular! Not to mention that we discovered a lovely breakfast diner called Tempo, and it was a delight. Every time I visit Chicago I seem to find great and beautiful places.
Vic, how did you decide what was best to take with you, exhibit-wise?
VZ: We had contracted for two trophy cases, no tables. And to save on shipping costs, decided to carry everything with us on the airplane. So selections tended to have two aspects: a connection to Chicago, and being more of a pamphlet or otherwise ’smallish’ item. What inventory we brought with us was supplemented by the 85 Dickens titles I acquired at the 1 May Hindman auction. And no, we didn’t put out all 85! Just a half dozen or so.
Samm, what was load-in and set up like? How did it compare to the previous fairs you have worked on?
SF: Overall, load-in was easy. It is always a bit confusing when first arriving at a book fair – where to go and what doors lead to what rooms. But it is definitely the way when you have never even been to the venue before! Other fairs I have attended have had very detailed load-in and load-out policies and rules, but that did not seem to be the case at the Newberry. It is a HUGE venue and easy to get turned around if you are unfamiliar with it.
Vic, what was the best part of the fair, as one who has so much experience both exhibiting and shopping fairs around the country?
VZ: In this case, for me, the best part of the fair was the Friday night exhibitor dinner arranged by the fair promoter, Sammy Berk. Was a quite enjoyable evening, with good food, good drink, & good company.
Samm, what was your favorite thing about this fair?
SF: To be honest, I think its one of my favorite things about every fair I have exhibite at so far. Meeting people I have only talked to on the phone or emailed with! It is always nice to put a face to voice or name. People’s responses to me are typically along the lines of “its nice to meet you in person, I have been seeing you on Instagram and the blog.” Haha!
And last but not least… Vic, do you think you’ll be exhibiting at the Chicago Antiquarian Book Fair in the future?
VZ: TBD! I say this, for despite the fantastic venue, sales were, shall we say, less than robust, and at the end of the day, one must have sales to remain a bookseller.
And there you have it, ladies and gents!
Looking forward to the next book fair report this fall, coming to you from Tavistock Books.