MIDWEST ANTIQUARIAN BOOKSELLERS ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER
Vol. 11 No. 1 January 2005
This is the first version of the online newsletter. Future editions will be available in pdf fomat for you to download.
MWBH Board Minutes and Financial Reports are located in the Members only area which can be accessed via the Newsletter index page.
Book Fair News
Larry Van De Carr has been appointed Chicago Area Book Fair Chair to replace Chuck Kroon who had retired from the Board. Chuck did a fine job when he served in that capacity. We wish Larry the very best with his new position.
Janet Van De Carr has agreed to serve as Manager for our upcoming Spring 2005 Book Fair at Loyola on April 30th and May 1st. Jan managed our fair there this past spring and managed our recent fall 2004 fair at DePaul. She has done an excellent job in managing our book fairs.
2004 Twin Cities Bookfair Report
Once again we had a drop in dealer participation, but not nearly as serious as 2003, and we did replace and add a few dealers. The long and short of it is we dropped below eighty dealers and thus the search for a smaller and cheaper venue. We are down to the hard-core dealer and customer.
Attendance was just short of 700, but doesn’t count those who came back Saturday. Another year, another small decline in attendance. Our customer base is finding other ways to buy books. I really don’t know what to try in an advertising sense. One dealer dealer suggested combining with Barnes and Noble in some reading/book event and using their advertising power, but frankly that’s like joining with Osama bin Laden.
Nevertheless, it’s an idea, and I welcome any and all suggestions. Our best effort is the post card campaign we have used since day one. We sent out over twenty-three hundred cards, and less than one hundred were returned (because of forwarding expired, etc.)…twenty-two hundred book people who know what to expect because they’ve attended past fairs. It’s specific advertising. Also, many participating dealers send out cards from their own customer lists. Many names are duplicated, of course, but the word is getting out to our basic hard core customers/bookies.
All other advertising is speculative. You hope somebody reads and responds to the ad or poster. Many local and nearby dealers could do more to help. How many took a poster to their local library? The new newsletter program was a step forward. This year we will sell cheap advertising, and expand it some. Anyone with a short article or quiz?
Because of a miscommunication with the air conditioning people, we had only one unit installed, and it proved more than adequate with the cooperating weather. The savings was a windfall for MWBH, and we will continue using one unit.
No one really said it, but I sensed that sales were down. I passed out bags, and sold stickers at a steady rate both days, but most didn’t do as well as hoped.
Next year will be our 15th. I’m looking forward to it … See you there.
Longtime St. Louis Bookman Passed Away
On September 9, 2004, Reginald Patrick “Pat” Dunaway, a well-known St. Louis bookseller, passed away after undergoing intestinal surgery. Pat operated a bookstore at 6138 Delmar Boulevard in St. Louis for 37 years before he sold his R. Dunaway Bookseller business about 2 years ago to Walter H. Morris. Walter opened up Dunaway Books at 3111 South Grand Boulevard in St. Louis. Pat continued to work in the book business with Walter until his death. Those who associated with Pat know him to have been a scholar and a gentleman who loved books, baseball, opera and jazz. A University of Missouri graduate who majored in classical language, Pat specialized in literary criticism and biography. Some of Pat’s longtime customers were Susan Sontag, William Gass, William Safire, and Larry McMurtry. Mr. Dunaway will be sorely missed and fondly remembered by many of us.
New MWBH Members Are Needed
As I think most of you are aware, our membership numbers have dropped during the past several years due to retirements, dealers going out of business, geographical area moving, deaths, internet business priority, and others. Some of these membership losses are understandable and expected. We all know other fellow booksellers, however, who I think would benefit by being a member of our group, and who I believe would benefit our organization by joining our ranks. Recently, Larry Dingman has sent out membership applications to more than 20 Minnesota booksellers who he feels should join the MWBH. I sent applications out to 6 Michigan and/or Indiana book dealers. I would ask each member to do the same with reputable non-members booksellers you interface with. Applications can be obtained from Darlene Sporher, our Membership Chair. Larry suggests when you send an application to a prospective member that you include your own completed letter of recommendation for that person. This will facilitate that portion of the membership process. Thanks for your help and cooperation with this important matter.
Also, as a point of information, please be advised former members who let their memberships lapse, but who may be interested in rejoining the MWBH, need not go through the formal application process to rejoin, as long as they left in good standing. They simply need to contact our coordinator Joycelyn Merchant and advise her they wish to rejoin. They would have to pay their dues of course, but they would not be required to pay another initiation fee, nor fill out another membership application, nor get letters of recommendation. If you know of any former members who you think would benefit by rejoining, please contact them and encourage them to do so.
Re: Joel Hyde’s Book Review of “Book Row: A History of the Antiquarian Book Trade”
I thought the members might be interested in hearing about an interaction which occurred this past September at the Baltimore Sha-dor Book Fair/Antique Show. In this regard, after perusing several books in my booth, a gentleman came up to me and expressed his interest in some of the books. During the pleasant interchange which followed, I learned his name was Marvin Mondlin and that he was one of the authors, along with Roy Meador, of the book, “Book Row: A History of the Antiquarian Book Trade”. I mentioned one of our members, Joel Hyde, had recently done an excellent review of the book for our newsletter. Marvin asked if I would send him and Roy a copy of the review. I agreed to do so and subsequently sent both a copy. Shortly thereafter, I received a very nice letter from each of them, which I shared with Joel.
In Mr. Meador’s correspondence, he stated, in part, “The review pleased my mind and warmed my heart. It’s great to encounter such a detailed accounting. Mr. Hyde, whose writing sings, appears to have appreciated the guided tour Marvin Mondlin and I provided about the fabled place and people who accumulated and sold books on and around old Fourth Avenue. If you ever knew Book Row, the place, I hope you too have discovered it in Book Row the book. Joel Hyde with his wealth of references makes me think he read Book Row cover to cover and generally approved what he read. Believe me, that’s quite encouraging. Such familiarity was absent from some reviews, write-ups, and comments in other publications which echoed the dust jacket and showed evidence of the reviewer cursorily glancing through the foreword and preface in quest of quotes. Not that such hit-and-run reviews are at all uncommon these days in a large swath of the media. No doubt that’s how a lot of reviewers go about the business of commenting on new books. They remind me of the Big Little Books I had as a kid which featured little pictures in the corner that moved when you flipped the pages. I rippled the pages and the Lone Ranger and Silver galloped across the plains. Remember those? Anyway, that’s how some of the Book Row ‘ “reviews” ‘ came across—that the reviewer merely flipped the pages. Joel Hyde read them, and I’m grateful.”
Mr. Mondlin wrote, in part, “Thanks for …… the copy of Hyde’s nice & lengthy review of Book Row. Roy is the writer; I’m the hustler/schlepper. Both of us are very pleased with Hyde’s review/essay. It always pleases us to read or hear from someone who, in a particular way, enjoys our book, agrees or disagrees with one thing or another about it–after all, it is a huge cast of characters, and, then again, it’s only a very small fraction of all those who worked there. And, I agree with Hyde that the Strand story is a very much bigger thing than what is found in Book Row. If I live long enough to turn my mind to it and, perhaps again together with Roy, another Big Book may take shape. However, for the next year or so I’m busy trying to establish American Sunbeam Publisher.”
I later learned Marvin has been a member of the booktrade since 1951 and was the estate book buyer for the Strand Book Store in New York City for more than 20 years. Marvin is also the author of “Appraisals A Guide For Bookmen Practical Methods and Essential Principles” published by American Sinbeam Publishers in 1997. I recently purchased a copy of the book and am in the process of reading it.