Book Fair Toolbox


by: Julie Fauble and Sue Gallagher


Sue Gallagher

Administrative Stuff (What you need to make the sale today)

  1. Pens
  2. Pencils and Eraser (had a request from a dealer for both items – when he purchased two pricey books, he immediately erased and repriced)
  3. Receipt book
  4. Credit card slips and imprinter (aka “knuckle cruncher”)
  5. Calculator
  6. Tax sheet for quick reference
  7. Change for cash customers
  8. Box or some other place to keep the cash, checks and credit card receipts

Marketing (What you need to make more sales down the road)

  1. Business cards
  2. Bookmarks
  3. Notebook or cards for collecting customer contact information and wants.
  4. Stapler – keep from losing those pesky little business cards that customers give you – staple them in the notebook.
  5. Flyers with information about your business and/or upcoming events

Booth Organization and Decor (What you need to get people into your booth)

  1. Collapsible shelving – Getting harder to find sturdy ones – rumor has it that Linen ‘n Things now has them
  2. Labels for shelves (A one-time investment in a good label maker is a good idea)
  3. Card tents (place cards – especially if you have a locked case)
  4. 3-4 Lights (the ones with clamps and movable extenders)
  5. Bulbs
  6. Extension cords
  7. Magic marker and cardstock (for making the labels you forgot)
  8. Tape or push pins
  9. Table covers
  10. Easels/book stands
  11. Decorative elements that make you stand out (Object d’art that fit the genre such as spurs, old fashioned spectacles, theme bookends, posters)
  12. Candy for customers
  13. Sign showing which credit cards you accept

Exhibitor Comfort (What you need to survive the whole experience)

  1. Comfortable shoes
  2. Bottled water
  3. Quick energy snacks
  4. Breath mints
  5. Aspirin, ibuprofen or pain reliever of choice (preferably legal)
  6. Post-fair relaxing agent of choice (preferably legal)

More handy stuff

  1. Scissors
  2. Utility knife
  3. Extra boxes
  4. Price guides
  5. Extra dust jacket covers
  6. Cleaning stuff (travel-sized babywipes work nicely)
  7. Pocket-sized reference books
  8. Magnifying glass
  9. Feather duster, if you’re outside
  10. Camera – capture your progress

We didn’t come up with all of this on our own. The above list was developed from years of listening to people much smarter than we are and taking notes when something particularly useful crossed our paths. Among the people we’d like to thank for long ago sharing their wisdom on this particular topic are: Lynn DeWeese-Parkinson, Forrest Proper, Linda Keele and Sasha of Neetstuff.

The Standard: The Journal of the Independent Online Booksellers Association

Check out the Independent Online Booksellers Association Website