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Antiquarian Book and Paper Show: Keeping the tradition of book sales alive post-COVID-19

October 1, 2021
<p>Photo courtesy of Ray Walsh.&nbsp;</p>

Photo courtesy of Ray Walsh. 

Twenty-five years ago, Curious Book Shop owner Ray Walsh and his friend set up a coin show in the National Guard Armory. That coin show went through a big transformation.

After the addition of more products from sellers, more demand from buyers and the event moving from location to location, it has now become the Book and Paper Show that occurs every year in Lansing.

This year, the Book and Paper Show is happening from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 3 at the Causeway Bay Hotel and Conference Center.

“We do it every twice a year, normally in the spring and in the fall,” Walsh said. “Due to COVID, we couldn't really have a show which made it more challenging for everybody.”

The hosts for the show are Archives Book Shop, Curious Book Shop and Michigan Antiquarian Book and Paper Show. They collaborate with sellers from around the nation to bring the event to the Lansing community.

“It is one of the largest book shows in the Midwest, and we have a variety of exhibitors coming in for the show, from a number of different states,” Walsh said.

The tradition of this event does not only prove the resilience of these bookshops during COVID, but to keep the demand for hand-held books alive after a serious surge in demand for online media and e-commerce-centered buying that cause negative impacts on small businesses and local bookshops.

“The internet is a little bit different not being able to touch and feel and see things,” Walsh said. “So, yes, you can actually touch these books.”

The admission fee is $5 for adults and free for kids 13 and under, along with ease of accessibility to free parking. It welcomes all members of the community, from readers to non-readers, to showcase various products ranging from collections of postcards to old books.

As Walsh described it, “It's like a treasure hunt for a wide variety of items that are there, and an attempt to look for the right stuff.”

As the hosts work hard and prepare to put on the 71st Book and Paper Show, Walsh expressed uncertainty and excitement.

“We’re not sure what's going to happen with COVID-19,” Walsh said. “But we're hoping that there will be a lot of customers and a lot of people will be happy with the things they find in the sale.”

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