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IT'S A (BOOK) BUYER'S MARKET
SMALL PRESS at the FESTIVAL

The ___ _______ _____ Festival of Books, held at ___, is, according to the ___ _______ _____, “the largest book fair in the nation.” Exhibitor fees (if paid four months in advance) range from [$1,150 to $1,550] for a 10 x 10 booth at the two-day event. The ___ _______ _____ Program Guide insert begins with “We [the ___ _______ _____] believe in fostering a dialogue with our neighbors and building a greater sense of community in Los Angeles.”

At the event, _____ occupied a standard booth in a pleasant location (beneath a Downey Way Moreton Bay fig tree about 100 yards in from Trousdale Way—the main thoroughfare). For numerous reasons, it was not as busy as many other booths, but this was offset by a quiet atmosphere (making it easier to speak with people one-on-one).

Sandwiched between Hoffman Hall and (unsettling) Hancock Lab, the booth lay beside an “S” (author signing area), an ATM (with hidden transaction fees (see page three)) and an “ART” (Artist’s Row—attendees wearing wizard’s caps posing against a cartoon background). It faced the “What Are You Reading?” 12 x 50 foot vinyl billboard upon which people marked down titles then took digital pictures.

Naturally, sales were down. But who bought and who didn’t?

Ryan G. (conversant on urban trends) bought, but Joel E. (pushing his blog) didn’t. Susan bought, but Daiqi Sun (studying financial engineering and returning to China in two months) didn’t. Juan, Julie, Herb’s daughter, Siona, Aura, Dre, Julio, Alex, Eduardo, Kent, Omar and Lori all bought, but everyone else didn’t. _____ brought in a total of $200.

The last time _____ had a comparable booth, but brought in $600. That festival (the first at ___) was bigger, attendance was higher and attendees, less electronically distracted. Back then, _____ still had a local following, fans (and competitors) stopping to comment.

“So, you’re at the festival.”

“Yes.”

“You have your own booth.”

“Yes.”

“How are sales?”

“Fine.”

“Was it hard getting a booth?”

“No.”

“Do you think I should get one?”

“Too expensive.”

Yet even then, focus was shifting from content to what form (media) the work takes. “Is it available on line?” became a “Top Five Customer Question/​Comment”.

Still, surprisingly, this festival had a very high sales ratio. Though not a lot of people stopped, many of those that did, bought. Yes, _____ only made eleven sales, but that’s out of about twenty-five pitches. (Very high sales ratio).

The other surprise was that when (with three hours left) _____ upgraded to a booth on Trousdale, sales did not increase. They remained the same.
_____ continues to promote literacy, provide local history, offer information about reading books and counsel on electronic media addiction.


Selected Works

Indigenous roots of Los Angeles’ layout, center, commercial corridors and the buildings that line them.
L.A.’s planning achievement, its sabotage, how it was done, who did it and why.
Although paved over, L.A.’s spirit remains. Visions rise from the asphalt guiding vegetarian musicians like Marc, an Angelino Heights rare bookseller who rides a bike and packs gourmet lunches for his over-worked wife. What happens when he lands a holiday gig at downtown’s most exclusive (meat-eating) haunt?

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