This past weekend the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair once again occupied Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum on Porter Avenue to unite publishing presses, graphic designers, artists, poets, book lovers, and more. Vendors and visitors alike grouped together from noon – 6pm Saturday, April 18 and from 11am – 5pm on Sunday, April 19 to network and sell their products.
As with every year, the upstairs of Karpeles was made home to open readings of poetry and prose on Saturday, during which nearly every time slot was filled by writers performing their work. The audience was a mix of young and old who dropped in and out throughout the day. The environment was very family-friendly for readers and writers of all ages.
Sunday was scheduled for several workshops. Visitors were given the opportunity to make paper, recycled journals and sketchbooks, as well as learn about “tramp” printing from a well-traveled artisan who has already visited much of America for his work.
Looking around the vendors on the first floor, one could find anything from comics to homemade notebooks and journals to literature-related jewelry and bags to zines and chapbooks. Over 100 publishers came from all across the country and Canada, including New York, Hawaii, Ohio, Toronto, Michigan and New Jersey to name a few. Naturally, some of Buffalo’s most well-known businesses attended, such as No Frills Buffalo, Just Buffalo Literary Center, Buffalo Heritage Press, Sunny Outside Books, The Second Reader Bookshop, Westside Stories Used Books, and Queen City Gallery.
Aside from workshops, readings and spending money to expand one’s bookshelf, the book fair always provides an excellent venue for up-and-coming authors to network with one another. All of the vendors were friendly, making a great opportunity to meet publishers and other writers to glean insight from or keep in touch with. One can never know too many people and contacts can only help when joining the field of publishing.
The book fair also gives high school and college students the chance to hunt for internships to gain experience working in the world of literature, and this year was frequented by many interested youths.
Since lovers of literature were present all throughout the day, the venue was occupied by Buffalo’s famous food trucks. The inexpensive but tasty food accommodated visitor’s wallets for plenty of book-buying, and not many left without carrying some type of souvenir.
If you missed this event, never fear! The website offers information for next year’s book fair as well as notification through email sign-up. This is an annual two-day affair that should be attended by anyone who writes, reads, or aspires to work with literature in any way, and if you’re reading this article, that means you so take out the planner and write it down!