The smell of aging books wafted through the main hall at the Glendale Civic Auditorium on Sunday, March 19. Celebrating its thirty-eighth year, the one-day show boasts an affordable $5 admission and free parking, and, in return, attendees can browse the tables of over fifty vendors. While there were tons of vintage paperbacks of various genres – westerns, mysteries, science fiction, and horror – there were also hardback books of recent and classic fiction, original artwork, and back issues of Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, Illustration, and many other magazines. Books filled makeshift shelving units, stacked on tables, or in long boxes under the tables. It was all a matter of rooting around until you found a treasure that you could not be without.
Throughout the day, fans and collectors could meet their favorite writers, get their books and memorabilia signed, as well as get in a quick – or long – chat. It was not uncommon for those who waited patiently in line for their turn to have one or more grocery bags of items to be signed – from Joe R. Lansdale, Larry Niven, Lisa Morton, John Shipp, Barbara Hambly, and many other fantastic writers representing many of the popular genres, especially horror and science fiction. Autographs and chats were free, but the authors had books to sell and sign, too. In addition, the Horror Writers of America and the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society had information tables set up on the stage to talk about their respective upcoming conferences: StokerCon 2017 (April 27 – 30 on The Queen Mary) and LosCon 44 (November 24 – 26 at the LAX Marriott Hotel), respectively.
This is an excellent event for bibliophiles and antiquarians with an interest in the vintage paperbacks. Many vendors return year after year, which attests to the success of the event, as well as the dedication from the organizers to host a fun and enjoyable event. Given the sheer volume of choices one is likely to encounter, an important tip: Prepare and bring a list! Or be prepared to be distracted by all of the books, magazines, and other paraphernalia ready to entice your dollars from your wallet. And maybe that isn’t so bad.
Photographs of the Los Angeles Vintage Paperback Collectors Show by Michele Brittany can be found at the Fanbase Press Photo Gallery located on Facebook.