Report from the 2008 Grand Palais Paris Bookfair
By Jean-Pierre Fouques
Some 157 bookdealers (a third from outside France) and 30 print sellers were present at the fair. The Grand Palais location with its vast volumes and excellent natural light, presented almost ideal conditions for both exhibitors and visitors: 3m deep booths and wide alleys with rest areas, a concert area (with thrice daily chamber music concerts), a conference room, various displays (bindings and photographs) and demonstrations (restoration, binding and copper plate printing); and a spectacular exhibition by this year's guest library, the Bibiotheque Nationale de France.
The event was well relayed by the media and some 24000 visitors were registered. Although every visitor was not a buyer, the event undoubtedly sparked a new general public interest in the antiquarian book world at large (books, prints and manuscripts), with many first time visitors and the presence of the younger generation. In spite of the current French economic slowdown, sales statistics show the market is holding well, with some spectacular higher end sales, and most exhibitors seemed satisfied.
The SLAM sees the venue as an essential tool in the promotion and development of the antiquarian book trade in France, Europe and abroad. Next year's guest library will be the National Library and Archives of Québec, for a very special exhibition on the history of the France – America relationship. This will also be the general theme of the next edition of the fair, to be held from 18th-21st June 2009.
The article was published in the ILAB Newsletter 60, September 2008