top of page


The IOBA Standard is the journal of the Independent Online Booksellers Association and covers the book world, with a special focus on the online used, out-of-print, and collectible bookselling markets.


The Classiest Book Fair in the Midwest

Well, at least I think so. The Ann Arbor Antiquarian Booksellers Association was proud to sponsor the 25th Annual Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair, in conjunction with the Clements Library, on Sunday May 18th, 2003. Held in the beautiful wood-paneled Ballroom of the University of Michigan Student Union, the book fair was attended by about 40 dealers from around the Midwest.

It’s a long day and a short book fair; the fair opened to the public at 11 am and closed at 4pm. There were just under 500 customers.

Dealers lined up early outside the Union to wait their turn at the loading dock, which is located right next to the giant trash bins for the Union. A lovely aroma to inhale as you unload your van. Hmm… doesn’t sound very classy to me, you might be thinking to yourself, ah… but that is on the way to the ballroom. The efficient unloading crew made quick work of it and the stop near the dumpster was brief, albeit fragrant.

Dealers were treated to catered breakfast buffet of fruit and danishes, and bagels and muffins. Then, after a brief repast, the book fair was opened by the booming voice of John Harriman, a Clements Librarian, who heralded the dealers and customers alike with his great voice (a favorite part of the bookfair for me) saying “Ladies and Gentleman, The 25th Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair is now open!” It’s the coolest moment of the fair, if you ask me.

The exciting thing about this book fair is that right when it starts, the Clements Library is having a sale also right inside the door of the book fair- the book fair partially raises money for the Clements Library and so even though the fair has opened, many dealers can be found in front of the Clement’s tables making stacks of books and rare paper items to purchase.

While this fair is much more of a ‘mellow’ book fair than many in the Midwest, it still has a much to offer. One couple who came from Pennsylvania to attend the book fair were very pleased with their purchases and happy to have made the 250-mile trip. Book fair manager Jay Platt had met the couple at the Akron book fair and encouraged them to attend the Ann Arbor fair. They planned to make a day of it and walk to some of the bookstores in the downtown area, as well.

After a wonderful luncheon of cold cuts and pasta salad in the dealer room, it was time to go back to our booths and wait for the end of the show and for John Harriman to proclaim, “Ladies and Gentleman, The Book Fair is now closed. Thank you and have a good day.” Now, that’s class.

Aimee England



bottom of page