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Monday, June 6, 2016

Antique Car Show Inspires Idea For A Book Exhibit



Over Memorial Day Weekend I attended a car show with my family at Lime Rock Raceway in Connecticut.  Not only was it fun to see dozens of vintage cars on display, featured side by side with their helpful owners who handled the inquiries of those in attendance, but it made me think how books deserve the same kind of treatment.

We should have an event that puts old books on display – with librarians, authors, editors or publishers standing by to answer questions of curious passersby.

True, there are many book fairs and festivals, conferences, and book signing events, but I can’t think of any that are quite like the show that I envision.

Imagine a big room with maybe 100-125 booths, each one highlighting an old or important book.  Each booth would feature someone who can talk about the book, explain why it is significant and be available for questions.

Patrons cold learn a lot and purchase replicas of the featured books – or books about the showcased books.  The books on display may have been best-sellers, award-winners, banned, or made a social impact on society.  They can be several generations -- or centuries-old.

I know very little about cars but I enjoyed being able to see and touch history as I walked around some really beautiful mobile beasts.  I loved hearing the hum of the motor of a car that used to be on the road 50 or 80 years ago. I marveled at the variety of vehicles – their shape, color, and interior design and texture.  I liked seeing the familiar and exploring what used to be but is no more. The owners are informed, passionate, and very helpful. The book world can follow suit.

Maybe the closest to what I’m suggesting is an event I missed but takes place annually – The New York Antiquarian Book Fair – where over 200 American and international book dealers exhibited a treasure trove of rare books, maps, manuscripts, and illustrated works. The fair is sanctioned by the Antiquarian Bookseller’s Association of America and the International League of Antiquarim Booksellers.

I’ve developed a greater love for all things books and sold over the years.  Maybe it’s because I’m getting older or because I see how the book industry has changed dramatically over the past decade.  I want to preserve and honor the books that have come before us – and to inspire new generations to love, appreciate, and value books. Maybe we should combine books with things like cars.

Actually, maybe there’s something to such an idea.

Would an event draw more if it said “Come see vintage cars and books” or if it read “Come enjoy old books and vintage cars”?

Often such events sell things, but maybe all that would be sold is an admissions ticket and the collaboration of two industries might generate more interest than separately seeking to lure visitors in.  What else can we match books with?

·         Art
·         Trading Cards
·         Coins or Stamps
·         Antique furniture
·         Old jewelry
·         Memorabilia (i.e. sports)

Or we can have a theme to a show, such as “Revolutionary War,” and present books at it.  Take a fashion show, a food festival, or an ethnic fair and tie books to it.  

To me, everything is better with books, but books don’t need an enhancement.  Books speak for themselves.  They are functional treasures.

Honk if you’d attend the Rare Books & Antique Car Show.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2016

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