When is a book fair a success? When you find the power of One

This past weekend we had the privilege of attending the second annual Dallas International Book Fair at the Dallas Public Library. Thanks to the efforts of the library’s staff, the sponsors and volunteers who worked restlessly before and during the fair, the city enjoyed a weekend of culture, fun and literature. Of course, this being Texas one of the largest group of people who came to the fair were Latinos and there were plenty of books in Spanish language (and other languages) showcased. The fair is starting the attract the attention from the Dallas community that one would expect during the early years. The Dallas Public Library has sown the seed of international literature for the past two years. Now we all have to water it tenderly in order for it to grow. And grow it will. The hardest part has been done by the library, which is to make real the dream of Dallas as a literary city. For us, it was a great success. Talking with other vendors, librarians, authors, and readers we saw the passion each had for books and what it takes for a fair to be a success. We believe a book fair is successful…

– When you talk to ONE librarian: We would not be here without libraries and librarians. Anybody who has read more than one of our articles know that we support their constant effort of creating passion for reading. Whenever we talk with one of them we feel recharged and come with a new appreciation of their efforts and the challenges they face. The effort of the Dallas Public Library and the challenges they took upon them, were evidently clear everywhere at the fair. Theirs can be sometimes a thankless job (so, thank you!) and yet they keep on giving us the joy and opportunity of reading. Their enthusiasm for everything written is inspiring. There were many librarians at the fair and we enjoyed the opportunity to talk to everyone of them and share this passion for promoting reading. But nobody embodied this passion more than the organizer of the fair, Miriam Rodriguez, who for the second year in a row gave a few days of culture to our city.

– When you see ONE kid reading: Seeing adults read is great, seeing kids read is even greater. The habit and love for reading must be instilled from a young age. Once a kid sees the benefits of reading and the wonderful world of books, he or she will become readers for life. At least we hope so. That’s why it is important to see the faces of the kids light up when they read, or are read, a section of the book that they enjoy. A new world opens up in their minds. At the fair they had the chance of reading books, having books read to them, seeing clowns made animal balloons for them, having their faces painted, and many other activities. Kids were smiling everywhere. And there was this one kid who run over to his parents to get them to buy a book about the Pharaohs and Pyramid of ancient Egypt. His face lighted up as soon as he saw the book and we know he couldn’t wait to get home to start reading it.

– When you sell ONE book: We love fairs that involve the community as they are the readers of our books. While professional fairs are great to revitalize business relationship, you rarely see the final reader in them. For wholesalers like us, and for publishers and authors, it is great to connect one to one with the reader. Each sale is special because each reader gathers something different from a book. Every single opportunity to turn a fairgoer into a reader is a success. Besides, as statistics show each book sold is read by more than one person, so each book sold actually gets to many different readers. For us this book was a computer title that an budding entrepreneur needed to help him repair computers.

– When you are inspired by ONE author: As wholesalers we deal with publishers most of the time, so we don’t always get to experience the passion that the author has for his or her written work. Nobody sells the books better than the author. We can see which are the characteristics that the draw the readers to a particular book by listening to the author. We get inspired by the authors work and his or her words. If we find a new title, a new author or a new take on a book, the fair is more than worth it. For us this author was Ofelia Audry who has published more than 15 titles, sold tens of thousands of copies of them, and still finds time to go to fairs and be with her readers.

– When you find ONE new title: Every month thousands of new titles are published. We get books by the hundreds, and we promote them and offer them to our customers. While each book is different, sometimes they can all blend together as they pile on numbers. But every so often there are true gems hidden in the mountain of titles. And many times we find them in fairs, by watching the reactions of the community of readers, by talking to the authors, publishers or other vendors. In this case we found a great title, La Hija de la Chuparrosa, which tells of the story of the author’s family and with it the history of his country.

The fair was a great success. There were more than 70 authors, thousands of readers, and many publishers represented. And most importantly, there was one book sold, one tireless author, one new title, one gifted librarian, and specially one young reader. That’s is when one is not a lonely number anymore but rather brings together a whole city to celebrate our love for reading. May all your book fairs be as good as this one. Thank you Dallas Public Library for this opportunity.

Your friends @ SBD

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