The Book Exhibit: The Business Behind the Scenes, Pt. the First

     “I just spent waaayyyy too much money” is probably the most often heard phrase outside the book stalls. This is usually closely follwed by “I have no idea how I am going to get all of these home.” This is not surprising given the proximity of a large (3000+) population of academics, all specializing in a variety of medieval disciplines and all starved for instant access to the latest that their fields have to offer. After all, it is not like we can just mosey into our local Barnes and Noble to pick up the latest Ashgate book. For four days each year, we have the opportunity to browse, pick, and purchase from a person, not a computer or catalog. Further, unless the publisher only brought display copies with which to take orders, we get to take it right there and then…and, in this era of instant gratification, begin reading immediately. Every year, I am invariably jostled by someone walking down a hall, nose buried in a book, just purchased. To be honest, I guess I’ve done my fair share of jostling as well.

     The lure of the stalls is social as well as intellectual. For grad students like myself, the exhibit gives us a chance, second only to the wine hour, to screw our courage to the sticking place and actually approach some of our academic idols. Indeed, the stalls often seem like a sort of walking bibliography. “Hey, there goes fn 7 from chapter 3!” Lunches are arranged, plans made, and many people, who only see each other once a year, spend quality time together searching the stacks and catching up on the previous year. How easy it is to lose oneself at, say, Boydell and Brewer or Cambridge Uni. Press, chatting away, coffee in hand, reveling in the company of like minded folk, gossiping, arguing, and shopping. Mostly shopping…

    Next time: The Book Exhibit: The Business Behind the Scenes, Pt. the Second- The Art of the Book Deal!

One Response to “The Book Exhibit: The Business Behind the Scenes, Pt. the First”

  1. Kalamazoo and Back, III: bloggers, bishops, Bavaria and bastions* « A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe Says:

    [...] and determination not to come away with anything I didn’t actually have a use for. Now, as is well documented That Never Works, but I didn’t spend too much and, as someone observed later in a conversation about this with [...]

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