Codex was massive and amazing. It was the best book fair debut an independent bookseller could hope for. I met pen pals in person, I made new friends, I saw old friends, I preached the gospel of contemporary fine art bookbinding, and I sold books. San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and Richmond were very good to me.
Now I get to bring it all back home. Really. It’s about 20 blocks from home. I can walk there.
The setting this time is New York Rare Book Week, specifically The Manhattan Vintage Book and Ephemera Fair (known as the Shadow Fair). This year it is going to be across the street from the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, and will be accompanied by the Fine Press Book Fair. Antiquarian book fairs are like a warm, fuzzy blanket for me. I have been to and worked at so many of them. Those of you who haven’t been to an antiquarian or vintage book fair may be surprised to learn that not all the books are antique. Modern first editions and contemporary book arts have been a part of that world for a long time. In fact, there are more than a few dealers whose inventory is primarily contemporary books. Rare and collectible might be a more accurate description of the books at these fairs, although the majority of them are, in fact, antique.
All of this is to explain why I am showing contemporary fine art bookbindings at an antiquarian book fair and why that isn’t weird.