Book fairs in Cork and Dublin


WITH many second-hand bookshops closing due to high rents and some booksellers now trading on the internet only, book fairs offer collectors of rare and antiquarian books a chance to browse and examine stock from a wide range of dealers under one roof.

The fairs also appeal to casual browsers and people simply looking for a bargain read.

Next Saturday, August 27th, dealers from throughout Ireland will participate in the Cork City Book Fair at the Gresham Metropole Hotel in MacCurtain Street from 11am-4pm.

The organiser, Barbara O’Connell of Schull Books in Ballydehob, said exhibitors would offer a wide range of collectable and antiquarian books, prints, maps and posters with an inevitable emphasis on items of Munster interest.

Meanwhile, Sunday, September 11th sees the post-summer return of the Dublin City Book Fair at the Tara Towers Hotel, Merrion Road which is held eight times a year.

According to Ms O’Connell, the main aim of book fairs is to provide a friendly, relaxed atmosphere in which customers can feel able to browse around, ask questions and not feel that they have to spend a fortune.

So, why buy from a bookseller rather than online or at auction? She cited “the main advantage over online is that the buyer can see and handle the book.

Auctions can be overwhelming – there’s always the risk of catching auction fever and overpaying, and the books must be checked very thoroughly for any imperfections”.

Dealers, she added, were happy to share their expertise with buyers and to advise on the building of a book collection which “could be a good investment”. Novice collectors shouldn’t fret about being overcharged or in some way taken advantage of, because, “we all need customers in order to continue in business, and are unlikely to spoil our market in this way.

“Additionally, the book trade in Ireland is quite small, and word travels pretty quickly!”