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We’re back — and we’ve moved!

Next year will mark the 30th Antiquarian book fair in the Twin Cities. While we are keeping in tune with our regular fair standards — knowledgeable book dealers, high-quality items, and a passion for all bibliophiles — we have some important news: We’ve moved locations!

The 2021 fair will be held on July 9th and July 10th (see times on our about page) at the Schoenecker Arena on the stunning University of St. Thomas Campus in St. Paul, Minnesota. Details concerning parking, admission costs, and event times are all posted on our About page.

Schoenecker Arena Courtesy of the University of St. Thomas website

We’re so glad to celebrate 30 years of preserving history through print. So come out next summer and celebrate with us on the University of St. Thomas campus!

For more information subscribe to our email list by entering your email in the Mailchimp box on the bottom of our Home page.

Cancelled, but not Forgotten: Virtual Events to Tide us over until 2021

Yes it’s true, the Twin Cities Antiquarian and Rare Book Fair has been cancelled for 2020.

But, we have dates for 2021! July 9th and 10th, same location, same free parking, with hopefully many of the same exhibitors. In the meantime, how can you, the bibliophile, get your fix for books?

Allow me to assist: I have compiled a list of virtual book fairs for 2020, and as I become aware of more, I will post them on our website.

It goes without saying that these circumstances are unusual, unprecedented, and unpredictable. I feel for every open shop across the country, every small business that has had significant loss of revenue, every event planner, our frontline workers, those who have fallen ill, and all of those who have been negatively impacted by the virus.

At the risk of repeating what others have said, please take care of yourselves during this time. We all have to proceed in a cautious manner to live well, but also live safely. That being said, here are a few book fairs that don’t require you to leave your couch, just an internet connection and a device:

  1. The IOBA Virtual Book Fair: May 15th through the 17th. Doors open at 1 p.m. EST. Over four-dozen exhibitors with over 1,000 books for sale. The IOBA supports independent online booksellers across the world. If you want to shop small, this is the place to do it. Click here for more information: https://www.iobabookfair.com/.
  2. The Rose City Virtual Book Fair: Portland’s finest book fair, the Rose City Book and Paper Fair, was tragically cancelled for 2020. However, they march on with this virtual book fair. Starts at 9 a.m. PST on June 12th. There is a preview night on June 11th, with the fair closing at 6 p.m. PST on June 14th. Books, postcards, manuscripts, ephemera, and more will be offered for sale. Shop this fair to support local businesses on the Western seaboard! Click here for more information: https://cascadebooksellers.com/rose-city-used-book-fair/.
  3. The ABAA Virtual Book Fair: June 4th through the 7th. From the ABAA Website: “The ABAA Virtual Book Fair will allow visitors to shop handpicked highlights and recent acquisitions from trusted ABAA members from all over the country. Interact with dealers in real-time, just as you could at a physical book fair! Items will be new-to-market, and exceptional!”. Cultural Partners for the ABAA Fair include The Grolier Club, The Bibliographical Society of America, The Folger Shakespeare Library, The Huntington, and many more. If you’re a bibliophile and you ain’t there, you are square. Click here for more information: https://www.abaa.org/events/details/virtual-book-fair.
  4. Getman’s Virtual Fair: to be held in June. A premier virtual exhibition of booksellers from across the United States. Marvin Getman is one of the best bibliographic event promoters in the U.S. and will certainly put on a great show. Click here for more information: https://www.bookandpaperfairs.com/virtual.

Separated, but not cut-off, we must persevere. It is a well-known fact that reading has numerous psychological advantages, including helping a person to stay focused and in the moment. Treat yourself this summer to some great books. Stay well, and check back with the site for more bookish news and happenings!

Jennifer, The Twin Cities Fair Manager

March Book Events in the Twin Cities

We love books and we know you do too — while the Twin Cities Antiquarian Book Fair remains 132 days away (we know you’ve been counting with us!) we want to promote other events in the book community this Spring.

March 3rd: Twin Cities Artful Book Club

This book club explores the lives of artists and the creative process. Currently they are reading An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro. Join them in their discussion at Hopkins Center for the Arts in Minneapolis the first Tuesday of every month!

March 10th: Books & Bars

What could be better than kicking back with some food and drink while discussing books? This fun take on a book club adds a fun social element to the night — make sure to check them out! This month they are reading The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison and meeting to discuss at Moon Palace at 7 p.m.!

March 21st: Rosemount Writers Festival & Book Fair

This event is sponsored by the Rosemount Area Arts Council and will feature multiple writing workshops, a free book fair, and keynote speaker Leif Enger! Check them out from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Steeple Center in Rosemount.

March 26: Books & Bars

This event is the second discussion on The Fifth Season and will be held at Urban Growler in St. Paul at 6:30 p.m.!

March 26: Cut, Eaten, Burnt, Stained: The Perilous Life of Old Books

This lecture is part of the series “Destruction and the Book” featuring a partnership between the Minnesota Center for Book Arts and the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library. The event is free and open to the public and will have a wine reception following the lecture!

What the Twin Cities Book Fair Means to a Bibliophile

By the Twin Cities Antiquarian and Rare Book Fair Manager

Five years ago, the Twin Cities Book Fair was the first book fair at which I exhibited. I had no idea what to expect as an exhibitor. Would anyone talk to me? Were the other book dealers friendly? Were the books I brought good enough?

I am pleased to say that the other dealers were indeed friendly, though five years later I am still not sure if the books I bring to the fair are the right ones.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and indoor
My booth in last year’s Twin Cities Antiquarian and Rare Book Fair.

This book fair holds a special place in my heart because I consider it to be the one which started my bookselling career. Thanks to this fair, I began to make contacts in the trade. These contacts would go on to become friends, who would go on to become voices of support in other book endeavors. Thanks to the Twin Cities book community, I have worked in an open shop (shout-out to Bookhouse in Dinkytown!), in a specialized antiquarian firm, and I have mingled with some of the greatest book artists in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

This fair taught me the importance of showing up, and engaging with your passions in real time. The book trade is a face-forward one. Your personal connections will help you establish your place in whatever book community you belong to, whether it is Minneapolis, Madison, or Chicago. One event leads to another which leads to another which leads to another opportunity.

If you are a collector or a librarian, I highly urge you to show up in person too. Book fairs are a chance for you to evaluate the people from whom you are buying books. A book fair is your chance to sit with them, face to face, and to explain your curating or collecting priorities. The chance to see their stock in person will help you feel confident in ordering from them online, should you later find a book on their website that was not at a book fair.

The beautiful Minneapolis skyline.

Even though the internet puts the book world at your fingertips, the importance of local events has not been undercut. A book fair can show you not only the dealers of rare books in your area, but the current book artists, publishers, open bookshops, libraries, and literary collectives that exist near you. No, arts communities do not only exist in New York and L.A. It is up to you as a member of the book-loving public to go to events like book fairs and literary festivals near you. These events can illuminate other opportunities for you to participate in other book culture and book appreciation events right in your own backyard.

Here is a list of book organizations in the Twin Cities that would be of interest to book and print lovers. I have taken the blurbs from each website’s home page, to better explain why you as a book lover in Minneapolis should check these organizations out:

The Ampersand Club

The Ampersand Club fosters appreciation for the historic and artistic importance of the printed book, and for the arts essential to book production, such as typography, fine printing, binding, papermaking and book design. With monthly events, any book collector, book dealer, or book artist can join and engage with a group of passionate bibliophiles from the Twin Cities.

The Minnesota Center for Book Arts

Founded in 1983, Minnesota Center for Book Arts is a nonprofit visual arts center that celebrates the art of the book. We practice letterpress printing, bookbinding, hand papermaking, paper marbling, and more! We offer youth and adult classes, numerous exhibitions annually, and opportunities for artists of all levels.

The Loft (offers numerous literary events/classes)

Founded in 1974, the Loft is a haven for readers and writers; one of the largest centers of its kind in the country. Our mission is to advance the artistic development of writers, foster a thriving literary community, and inspire a passion for literature.

Wordplay 2020

Minnesota’s largest celebration of readers, writers, and great books. This year the festival will be held on May 9, 2020, and is a great chance to engage with the new literary publications and the local presses of the Twin Cities.

The Twin Cities Rare and Antiquarian Book Fair

July 10th 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., July 11th 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check out this fair for the rare book side of the Twin Cities book scene!

Still haven’t registered for the fair yet? There’s still time! Click here to access the contract. Click here to buy a ticket to the Twin Cities fair.

Are you planning on exhibiting at the book fair this year? Have you attended the fair in the past? Tell us what 30 years of the Twin Cities Antiquarian Book Fair mean to you! If you would like to guest post, please email tcantiquarianbookfair@gmail.com with a draft.

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