September 24, 2012

Brooklyn Book Festival by the numbers


Melville House has been in attendance at the Brooklyn Book Festival every year of the festival’s existence, and while we wouldn’t call ourselves experts, we do think we might be able to share some wisdom for other publishers and bookstores that might be considering setting up a table there in the future. We’d like to present, then, a primer of sorts, with the hope that it proves instructive.

Time allotted by festival organizers for booth assembly: 3 hours.

Time assumed necessary by vendors for booth assembly: 30 minutes.

Time vendors will give themselves on the day of the festival for booth assembly: NO TIME NO TIME WHERE’S THE TAPE OH GOD.

Number of checklists created in preparation for the festival: 3.

Number of days spent packing and repacking boxes for the festival: 1.

Number of sweaty panicked bike trips taken back through heavy traffic and tourists and buses and boy the streets of DUMBO are charmingly be-potholed, aren’t they to the office for forgotten items: 2 (Those items include: cashbox, computer, receipt paper, clips, dongles, widgets, Tolstoy.)

Number of customers with compliments for the press and its books: thousands.

Number of authors, booksellers and publishers stopping by the booth to say hello and buying a book while they’re at it: dozens.

Number of guys spilling tuna sandwich—the most objectionable of sandwiches, right?—on the book your entire office spent months working on while simultaneously telling your editor that the premise of another book, and maybe the entire press, is “misleading”: 1. One charming, charming gentleman.

Number of staff present helping to sell books: 12.

Coffee necesseary for said staff: 3 gallons.

Water necessary for said staff: 12 bottles.

Bagels necessary for said staff: 12.

Number of bagels in excess of the presumed allotment of 1 bagel per person which Dustin ate, for which he is very sorry: 1.5.

Hours spent selling books: 8.

Proper unit of measurement for books sold at the festival: the heap.

Total number of books sold: heaps and heaps. Heaps upon heaps. So many books. Enough French-flapped instruments of literary wonder to enrich a borough for, well, for a year.

Thanks for coming everyone. It was great to see you there.

Oh, and, the single most important item to remember to bring to the festival next year Dustin, if for some reason you go through the archives and read this: twine. I know, I know, just trust me. Twine.

Dustin Kurtz is former marketing manager of Melville House.