A WORLD FIRST – THOUSANDS OF VISITORS. AN ILAB POP UP BOOK FAIR REVIEW
It is with pleasure we report that ILAB’s participation in UNESCO’s 2015 World Book and Copyright Day was a great success. Hundreds, if not thousands of booksellers and members of the public were involved. Although it is not possible to know the exact number who took part based on careful estimates we believe it to be a minimum of several thousand people. ILAB’s celebrations received a significant amount of media interest, including for example, an article in The Guardian who created a special additional site where pictures of the ILAB Pop Up Book Fairs could be uploaded. We are proud to report ILAB booksellers across the world raised at least Euros 10,528.01 for UNESCO’s South Sudan literacy project.
It was a special celebration for a great many reasons, but without doubt a principal one, was proof that antiquarian booksellers want to work together. A large proportion of the comments we have received from booksellers who took part in the day stated that working with colleagues across the world with the united purpose of promoting the rare book trade while raising money for literacy was the attraction for them. This is a shining example that ILAB’s motto is still alive: Amor librorum nos unit.
Thirty two events in twelve countries took place on April 23: A charity auction (in Cape Town), an appraisal day (in Moscow) and 30 Pop Up Book Fairs. The day opened in Australia, with a progression of events through Asia, Europe and then across the United States. The creativity shown by the ILAB affiliates who organised these Pop Up Fairs was inspiring and unexpected. If you have in mind static Pop Up Book Fairs where middle aged and older booksellers showed their wares to similarly aged book buyers think again - you definitely need to look at the blog we spent the whole, yes, the entire 24 hours putting together live!
On April 23rd ILAB affiliates held pop up book fairs giving children, students and a very broad cross section of the general public access to rare books. These fairs popped up at the most unexpected places, to mention just a few; a barge on a canal in Amsterdam, a woolshed in the Australian bush, a library in an underprivileged section of Antwerp, an elegant historic business man’s club in Munich, a bookshop in central Tokyo, the new Museum of Literature in Vienna, a brew pub in Portland Oregon, a whole street in Groningen… - there was even a travelling pop up fair in England with “Celeste the Rare Book Campervan” visiting primary schools on the road from Salisbury to Oxford.
Amidst such a great diversity of events there was a very significant unifying factor shared by all ILAB affiliates – a deep commitment to literacy. As mentioned above the ILAB celebrations contributed over Euros 10,500 to UNESCO’s important literacy work in South Sudan. ILAB has transferred Euros 8192.17 to the UNESCO Euro bank account we were advised to donate to. The remaining amount was donated via the button on UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day site. We understand that more funds than we are aware to date have been donated - UNESCO will be giving us the figures soon.
ILAB affiliates worldwide have and will get real benefit from our activities on April 23. Firstly there has never been so much publicity - and all of it positive - about ILAB and the antiquarian book trade. Lots of people around the world added photos from the pop ups they visited to the website added to the article in The Guardian. AbeBooks supported ILAB’s worldwide campaign with a generous donation of US$2000 to the South Sudan project, blogged about the day on several websites and in several languages and sent representatives to two of the ILAB Pop Up Fairs in Tokyo and in Portland (US). Moreover AbeBooks gave its entire home page to promote ILAB's celebrations on 23 April. Numerous book blogs like The Bookhunter on Safari, Book Patrol, My Sentimental Library, The Literary Tourist, Fine Books and Collections and iBookcollector published articles, and Sheppard’s Confidential dedicated a whole series of articles to the ILAB Pop Up Book Fairs. ILAB sent out press releases to the international press and, most importantly, the organisers of the Pop Ups got into contact to the local press using and modifying the press templates provided by ILAB. In summary it was ILAB affiliates across the globe that launched a worldwide campaign.
This was a worldwide campaign which was mentioned in the press from Cape Town to the Sunday Times to the local newspapers in Dunkeld, Country Victoria in Australia. And even more: ILAB and the ILAB affiliates were omnipresent in the internet on UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day. The number of visitors of the ILAB website doubled on 22 and 23 April, 2015. In addition, ILAB attracted an impressive 2500 visitors to the newly established ILAB blog on that day, and there were hundreds of posts and tweets in the social media. Such a campaign, launched worldwide in a joint effort by ILAB affiliates had never been seen before. A graphic demonstration of the power of working together.
Finally, we are pleased to report that sales were made at many of the ILAB Pop Up Book Fairs. In some cases these were serious 6 figure sales. We have heard several reports from booksellers that the events of April 23 continue to work in the favour of booksellers who took part. In fact last week a bookseller reported selling a $8500 book to a customer he met at the Pop Up Fair he exhibited in. This bookseller rang to say thanks. Without the Pop Up fair with its smaller more informal format he thought this collector would not have walked right past his books. The Pop Up Book Fair format is different and has much to recommend it as a nimble, interesting and exciting way of presenting antiquarian bookselling in the 21st century.
Hope you will join us next time!
Norbert Donhofer, President of ILAB