Book Fair Futures, 2018 | Newberry

Book Fair Futures, 2018

I’ve been going over the lists of boxes we’ve packed for our first Book Fair in the new first floor. This was done with some trepidation. Because of the occasional inaccessibility of the building, the lack of a loading dock, and other factors, I was worried about our assortment. Not the quantity, really: I know from experience that people determined to get books through will make their way in. But experience has also taught me that the people with the best fortitude and sense of purpose often have the worst books. I have made no report to the scientific community on this phenomenon, but I think it’s a pretty good working theory.

As it turns out, I didn’t need to worry. Each Book Fair has its own personality, with some subjects looming large and others sitting in secluded corners. (Two years ago, for example, our Foreign Language section was heavily Swedish. Last year it was Polish. This year, it seems, it’ll be Italian.) But on the whole, things are proceeding in a fairly routine manner.

The only subject area where we are drastically down from where we expect to be in April is Science Fiction. I’m not sure why this is. It may simply mean that they are staying home reading until winter ends. (Currently scheduled for about June 17.)

We are SOMEWHAT down in some of our popular categories. So far Art, Chicago, and Children’s books are around two-thirds of the number we were hoping for. We are NOT worried quite so much about being a little below expectations in Poli Sci, Health, and Psychology. This may worry those of you who were looking to complete your collection of diet books from the Sixties, but it does not trouble OUR sleep. And, as noted, we have three months to go on all these subjects (donations tend to increase in June, and would really increase in July if we hadn’t added those machine guns to the design for the new front door.)

Now, as for those of you who are making financial plans for the end of July, we are ahead of the game in a fourth of our categories. After what I said in Friday’s column, you may not be surprised to learn that Philosophy, Math, and Science are up thanks to those two truckloads of books. Classics has also benefited from this windfall, particularly among Greek and Roman authors who worked in Math, Science, and Philosophy. So far, just to put it into perspective, we still have more boxes of Art books than of any two of those four categories combined, but you WILL find more of them than you’re used to. (The investigations of time travel are currently in Science, not Science fiction, but I may read the books and then go back to last week and change things.)

We are also well ahead of last year in Antiques (two large donations here), Cookbooks, and Romance. (And we’re expecting a large Romance donation this week.) Those of you hunting for Photography, Travel, and Nature are also in for a treat. That Photography count does not include three books which came in last month, all a bit too big to call coffee table books. None is quite big enough to BE a coffee table, but each of them is in fact heavier than most coffee tables I have known.

The Graphic Novel section, too, is going to be much bigger than last year. This is because there was no Graphic Novel section last year.

Miscellaneously, Architecture, Judaica, How To (Hands), and Nature are above average, and likely to get bigger, while our collection of jigsaw puzzles and board games seems to have exceeded last year’s total. I hope all of this helps you make your vacation and financial plans. If so, I shall file a copy in with all those boxes of investment advice in How To (Hands) and make that section even bigger.

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