The Virginia Antiquarian Book Fair – A DRIVE THROUGH MY CHILDHOOD!

For an internet based bookseller, I sure do talk about doing physical book shows an awful lot…  I know, I know…  That said, let’s talk about a book fair! 

For many of us in the rare book trade, our days go something like this:

  • Wake up
  • Drink coffee
  • Think about our Day
  • Drink coffee
  • Plan out our Day
  • Drink water
  • Check Facebook and Instagram to see if people like our cool items
  • Start formulating the stack of items we want to catalog
  • Drink coffee
  • Make sure emails and partner website orders and questions have been taken care of
  • Eat lunch
  • Start cataloging our first item of the day
  • Hammer away at the keys of our keyboard, turn on the switch in our brain that says “Why would someone want to buy this?”, lose six or seven hours of our life in a relatively comfy chair with the John Williams Complete works playing in the background.
  • Drink an alcoholic beverage, preferably attached to some ice cubes.

Book fairs take us away from our otherwise boring lives or self-employment reality. Book fairs provide an escape from our normal confines and are easy to rationalize to our husbands or wives.  Book fairs are like AA meetings for those of us suffering from the “collecting” disease.  Waiting my turn to tell my story…

As an example, I give you my most recent outing.  The Virginia Antiquarian Book Fair in Richmond, VA.  Having popped up on the scene a few years ago, this show has turned into possibly my best show of the year.  Having lived in Lumberton, NC and Chester, VA in my youth, the drive to Richmond is a veritable scrapbook of the fabric of my memory.  Anyone else remember that big damn sombrero in the sky on I-95 just south of the North Carolina border?  I can remember that thing from when I was eight or nine years old.  Anyone else remember “The Diamond”, the old home of the Class AAA Richmond Braves?  Many a night spent chasing autographs in that field of yesteryear.

As for the actual show. WHAT A VENUE!  The Virginia Historical Society building is fabulous.  Great parking, good food right around the corner and some of the best book dealers in the Eastern US. I love this fair!  The crowd always buys well and the dealers from Virginia always buy stuff…  I think this is just their way of saying thanks for coming.  I don’t care – I’LL TAKE ANY SALE I CAN GET.  If you haven’t been to the Virginia Antiquarian Book Fair, give it a try.  Tell them “the comic guy” from Florida sent ya.


Mike Cotter

“The Transforming World of Collectible”

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