Sunday, June 8, 2014

Printer's Row Lit Fest 2014

We made our annual trip to Printer's Row for what used to be an exciting book festival. I expected a wow of a festival for the 30th anniversary. There used to be lots of vendors selling collectible and vintage books of all types. Now the book market and the Lit Fest itself has changed. Less antiquarian dealers, a lot more contemporary books. New books everywhere. New writers, too. It's more about coming to hear writers talk about their work and an opportunity for indie press to promote their books.

This year I noticed more self-published writers hawking their wares. With fewer real booksellers showing up that allows more space for self-published writers. I guess that's why it's now called the Lit Fest instead of the Printer's Row Book Fair.

Sadly, it felt more like a flea market this year. Loads of junky books, boxes filled with book club editions that were waterstained and sunned, lots of books with remainder marks. And IMO there were way too many people selling self-published books. I was pretty depressed as I made my way through the booths.

So with fewer dealers selling vintage books I came home with a meager pile of six books. Here's what I picked up. Finding the Q. Patrick reprint pretty much lifted my mood for the rest of the day. I don't care if it's damaged DJ with many rips and tears. Where else could I find a hard to find hardcover by a fantastic mystery writer whose books are all sadly out of print for only five bucks? Made the trip worth it.


  1. A couple of nice scores, to be sure -- the Q. Patrick, and then that groovy Queen paperback. These days, my life in a small town doesn't run to many antiquarian book sales, and flea markets aren't a fertile source of books that no one in my small town would have bothered to read. So -- I don't mind vendors on the internet making a little money for attending antiquarian sales AND flea markets on my behalf. But I do miss the thrill of the chase!!

  2. Sounds like some great finds. I don't find books like that here either.

  3. I was just working on the e-book version about self-published writers taking over book fairs and then having to make you wait for your copies because of the delay in print on demand when someone unplugged the CafePress machine. I was going to self-publish it but now you're making me think twice.

    1. Hey do what you want, Rick. Don't let my crotchety whining stop you. I'm just an opinionated SOB in search of old books at dirt cheap prices.

      BTW, I deleted the sentence about that "revenge comedy" book because it turns out it was published by an indie press called Freakshow Books. Shows you what I know! Maybe most of the "self-published" people were actually published by some small press I'd never heard of.

  4. Hi John, If you get a chance to visit The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles you must do that. They have the most amazing Vintage book collection. Thanks for your blog! - Cynthia Rosi (also on Goodreads).

  5. Nice haul, John. I won't find even one of these in my neck of the woods.

  6. Don't you hate when that happens? Self-published writers have a write (HA!) to exist, but jeez, so much of that sort of writing is really awful. I hate to say it, but it's true: Not EVERYONE can write a book. At any rate, John, you came home with some treasure.

  7. Too bad you do not know Italian, John! In Italy, all the novels by Patrick quentin, Quentin Patrick, Jonathan Stagge have been published, and on the stalls are still several novels by this author!.

  8. The Q Patrick is a great find. Look forward to reading more about it.