Changing of the Guard of the Granite State Book Fair

The Granite State Book Fair has a new name and new management. Richard Mori of Mori Books recently purchased the Book Fair from Marvin Getman and has renamed it the Northern New England’s Book Fair, to be held this year on June 2nd at Douglas N. Everett Arena at 15 Loudon Rd in Concord, New Hampshire.

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For career bookseller Mori, the Northern New England’s Book Fair is special because it has been part of the local antiquarian book scene since the 1970s. Also, “It dawned on me that I’m not always going to be lifting boxes and boxes of books. I approached Marvin to see if he wanted to sell the fair, he was kind and gracious and said yes. I guess the fact that Marvin is adding a major fair in DC had something to do with his decision”

Mori’s vision “is to make this a regional fair for northern New England, thus the name Northern New England BF. The only other fair in Northern New England is Burlington, VT held in April. There are books and ephemera on all subjects and regions with an emphasis on New Hampshire and White Mountains.”

Though fairgoers will see many familiar faces, Mori has a few updates planned, primarily for dealers. The first is aimed at “maintain and stabilizing the floor” by scaling the dealers’ fee with the number of the dealers. “The more dealers who do the show, the lower the rent” for each of them, Mori says.  

However, he explains that it is important “to maintain integrity of the floor with people who are professional dealers doing a professional job,” At the end of the day, Mori says it’s “really important that the customer feels like they get value.”   

Mori describes the antiquarian dealers as a “cordial and collegial group. We all know each other. That is the advantage that I have in taking this over. The dealers and I have been buying and selling books together and to each other for years.” Of course, he quips, “New Hampshire is a small state so it’s easy to know everybody.”

Some of the dealers participating in this year’s show include Greg Gibson of Ten Pound Island Book Company (Gloucester, MA) specializing in nautical books; Naomi Needle of Naomi and Matthew Needle, Books and Ephemera (Newburyport, MA) specializing in 19th century manuscripts, and  Jeffrey Bergman of Jeffery Bergman Books (Fort Lee, NJ). (See the website for a full list.)

Also, this year Rebecca Rule New Hampshire author and storyteller will be available to sign books and tell stories starting at 12 noon!

Mori’s second innovation is cribbed from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Patrons will receive an unmarked envelope upon arrival with bookmarks inside, one of which will contain the “Golden Bookmark,” a $100 gift certificate redeemable with any dealer throughout the day of the show.

What better way to kick off summer than a trip up north to take in the revamped Northern New England’s Book Fair.

Elisa Shoenberger is a researcher and writer. She has published articles and essays at the Boston Globe, the Rumpus, Deadspin, and other outlets. She is a regular contributor to Book Riot and is the co-editor and co-founder of The Antelope: A Journal of Oral History and Mayhem.