Sunday, March 18, 2018

Why Attend a Book Fair? by Elizabeth Alsobrooks

Nancy Gideon, Elizabeth Alsobrooks, and Rob Tucker
at The Tucson Festival of Books, 2018

So what’s so great about book fairs? Well, if you’re a reader, you’re in Valhalla. Not even the biggest bookstores have the diverse collection of books you will find at a large book fair, and you will get to have many of them autographed by your favorite authors. If you’re an author, nothing is ever better than being surrounded by avid readers and fellow writers.

Book fairs have more than books, too. There are panels of authors discussing a myriad of topics from how and why to write particular genres to talks on cooking, gardening, crafting, parenting, and pet care. Both nonfiction and fiction books of all genres are represented, including comic books and graphic novels. Along with hundreds of book tents hosted by large and small publishing companies, and even individual authors, there are tents with artists and craftsmen, offering their designs from jewelry to pottery and new age wares. You can learn to manage your finances or get your fortune told.

 Book fairs have something for everyone. You can meet storybook characters, comic book heroes, and even Darth Vader and a movie star or two. Spend the afternoon watching children dance an Irish jig, a Mexican folk dance, or demonstrate a Karate Kota. Listen to bagpipes, rock bands, and marching bands. Visit the juggler, or the aerobatic performers.

Nearly every special interest group is represented, from the League of Women voters, to religious organizations, universities, media organizations, libraries, literacy groups, parks and recreation, and even museums. 

Getting hungry from all that walking around browsing and shopping? Let’s not forget the diverse ethnic food booths. Mexican, American, Thai, Italian, BBQ and Creole, just to name of few of the hot meals to be had. If you just want a quick snack, they have yogurt, gelato, salads, popcorn, corn on the cob, wraps, and smoothies.

These pictures and video are from the Tucson Festival of Books, held on the University of Arizona campus every March. It's the third largest book fair in the country and well worth the visit. If you get the chance, visit a book fair near you, and if you're an author, by all means participate. Nothing beats meeting fans first-hand. 


Nancy Gideon said...

And a wonderful time was had by all!! The young readers are a special treat. Love seeing kids get so excited by books and parents who encourage them.

Diane Burton said...

Book fairs are fun! Last year, I did 7 plus a craft show as an author. Fun, yes. Profitable ? I enjoyed meeting readers. Sales were minimal. Yet, I was thrilled when a woman ran home (literally) from the library to get money for one of my books. I won't forget her. I've often thought I should be writing either kiddie lit or YA, since they have so much fun meeting authors. Glad you and Nancy had a great time.

Francesca Quarto said...

OH! How I did miss this year's event in Tuscon! Won't let that happen next year as I know what a great time it is indeed. Glad the group had its fill of great moments in the world of readers.

Francesca Q.

Maureen said...

This is great- looks like so much fun and I enjoyed the photos!

Sandy Wright said...

Not only is the Tucson Book Festival big, busy and fun, it's been my most profitable fair every year. I had one title and sold 50+ books both years.

Elizabeth Alsobrooks said...

Thanks, Nancy. Wow, Diane, that's incredible! What fun. Glad you liked them, Maureen. Wow, congrats, Sandy! Had to lose out when you have nearly 140,000 readers on hand!