Florida Antiquarian Book Fair 2019 Recap: The Friendliest Fair in the South

Every April the city of St. Petersburg, Florida goes all bookish! Ensconced in the gorgeous St. Petersburg Coliseum, the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair is a delight for the senses. Is there anything more lovely than browsing and buying rare books, art, and ephemera under the curved ceiling of this restored 1924 ballroom during the warm, spring days of late April? We think not.

Since Biblio is an official sponsor of the Florida book fair, we try to always have feet on the ground (and toes in the sand) in St. Petersburg every spring. This year we had our own table, which allowed us to not only interact with our friends and partners among the booksellers and exhibitors but to reach out and connect with bibliophiles and collectors.

A lot of our new friends loved our new bookmark designs, coasters, pencils, and other fun goodies and quite a few entered our prize drawing for a copy of The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang! We have drawn the winners and notified them (Congratulations, Richard!). Two runners up received BiblioBucks store credit and everyone who entered received a 3-month trial membership in the Bibliophiles Club.

Being at the fair

Book fairs have a special sort of magic. The stereotype of the bibliophile as an introverted, quiet type exists for a reason, and yet when released into a building full of astonishing books and fellow bookish folk, a giddiness overtakes even the shyest reader. The booths are busy with people browsing and chatting with the sellers and exhibitors over their wares. There are wide-eyed children clutching newly-purchased prizes, serious buyers with bulging tote bags, and book browsers staring agog at truly unique and captivating items.

Browse the fair on Instagram

Biblio representatives Ashleigh and Allen not only held down the booth, but they took turns walking around to the different exhibitors and booksellers and asked to see their most interesting or favorite item for sale. Those rare finds were captured and shared on our Instagram – take a look at #FloridaBookFair2019!

You can see more pictures from the fair by searching #FloridaBookFair, the “official” hashtag of the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair, as well.

Rare Book Cafe

Amber Shehan from Biblio appeared on all three live-streaming episodes of the Rare Book Cafe as it covered the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Rare Book Cafe is a weekly live show that covers news and features guests from the book trade. The show was started by and features T. Allen Smith as well as regular hosts Steven (and Edie) Eisenstein of A-Book-A-Brac in Miami Beach, Thorne Donnelley of Liberty Books and Lindsay Thompson of Henry Bemis Books.

What’s next?

It went by quickly, and we already miss the warm weather of the Florida coast. Now, we turn our fair planning to London, June, and Firsts – London.

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