My last encounter with a book collector happened while I was lurking around George R. R. Martin at the Massachusetts stop on his book tour. I met this nice fellow at the end of the signing line (a high school math teacher, if memory serves) who was going through the line again in order to avoid the two-book limit Barnes and Noble had imposed. In addition to carrying a shopping bag filled with foreign and domestic editions of every volume in Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series, the gentleman carried a large, white three-ring binder containing a very long printout of a spreadsheet that listed, in tiny type, all the books he owned and wished to own.
Dollars to donuts this guy will be at the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair. This weekend, he and his ilk will scamper about the Hynes Convention Center like children in a candy forest. Dozens of booksellers from around the world will peddle rare and not-so-rare titles to slavering men with binders, as well as the rest of us. There will also be seminars ("Decorating with Books and Prints," a collector's roundtable) for those inexperienced in the art of the grab.
One caveat: an antiquarian book fairs is a terrible place to go on a date. I know this firsthand, from three separate attempts. So just don't bother.
THE BOSTON INTERNATIONAL ANTIQUARIAN BOOK FAIR | Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston St., Boston| November 11-13| $8-15 | 617.266.6540 or bostonbookfair.com