ALBANY -- The Albany Book and Paper Fair is putting the kismet back into book buying.
Garry Austin, owner of Austin’s Antiquarian Books in Vermont and an organizer of the fair, said that although online shopping platforms have done some wonderful things for the antiquarian book community, there's nothing quite like actually going into a bookshop.
“You reach people all over the world, but there’s no kismet,” Austin said.
There’s no browsing the shelves for your favorite author and finding another that you hadn’t even heard of.
There’s a missing sense of cosmic connection or interaction.
But this Sunday at the Polonaise Banquet and Conference Center, that sense of kismet will be back, with 30 antiquarian booksellers and historical paper collectors coming together to offer up books, maps, photos, prints and collectible memorabilia of all kinds.
Although the fair started in the 1970s, it dropped off in the 2000s. Austin and a bookseller and antique dealer from Cohoes, Dennis Holzman revived it eight years ago. Although they haven’t been able to hold it every year since then, they usually get a pretty good crowd of history buffs and bibliophiles.
“The excitement is palpable . . . You never know what you’re going to find,” Austin said.
Each dealer has a specialty of some sort — Austin’s is Theodore Roosevelt books and documents, while other dealers focus on beautiful editions of American classics. One dealer, in particular, Peter Luke, always has rare historical documents that you would expect to see in a museum or in a library archive somewhere, said Austin.
There will also be a silent auction by the Albany Institute of History and Art. They’ve been a long time sponsor and organizer of the fair and they will be auctioning off items from their library.
Albany Book and Paper Fair
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sun.
WHERE: Polonaise Banquet and Conference Center (225 Washington Ave. extension, Albany
MORE INFO: albanybookandpaperfair.com