Member Blogs > ten pound island book companyContagion of Pessimistic Resignation

  • Mon, 17 Mar 2014 10:16:38    Permalink
    I've been telling people for years that "food is the new religion." I used to get funny looks. Now I get knowing nods. So it was not surprising that this year's thirty-fourth annual conference of the Ephemera Society of America  – "Food & Drink: Field to Table" - was devoted to food. Books, manuscripts, documents, and ephemera of every sort relating to recipies, restaurants... you name it.

    Two days worth of presentations on everything from seed catalogs to cocktail ephemera.

    And, of course, the Ephemera Show – sixty two of America's finest dealers in paper displaying their wares to hundreds of conference attendees, dealers, librarians, and colletors from all over the country.
    Robert Fraker of Savoy Books displays in important piece of political ephemeraAnd not just food related, either. In fact, after one left the lecture theater the food theme diminished substantially. Lizzie Young of Lizzyoung Bookseller, and Don Lindgren of Rabelais Books gave presentations on Friday 
    If food is the new religion, this is churchand had booths in the show on Saturday and Sunday, but for the most part it was paper as usual, with dealers presenting their own specialties, or showing us recently purchased material. And, as usual, there were some fascinating items on display.
    The weather was good, the hotel was comfortable, and the show was smoothly managed by John and Tina Bruno of Flamingo Eventz.
    Because of the conference and its many attendees, the show has a built in audience. As these events go, it's almost foolproof. 

    However, despite all these favorble indicators, there were about a dozen fewer dealers exhibiting here this year thand there were last year. Yes, there was a conflict with the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair in St. Petersburg (I chose to do this one rather than that one), but most of the people who weren't here this year weren't there, either. 

    Wonder what that means? 

    To those pessimistically inclined it sometimes seems as if we're on the Titanic, listening to the orchestra. We can feel the ship beginning to list, but we have little idea what's coming. 

    On the other hand, colleague Garrett Scott opines, "The contagion of pessimistic resignation that has overtaken bookfairs hasn't quite yet reached the Ephemera Society show. We've seen some symptomatic carriers, but they're usually booksellers." I like his attitude.
    Ten Pound Island Book Co. had a good show, buying and selling, and almost all the exhibitors I talked to were quite happy with the event. I've said this before, but it's worth repeating. Every once in a while we need to get out and look at something other than books.

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