Thursday, March 10, 2011

Festival of the Book!

The Virginia Festival of the Book will take place next week, March 16-20, in Charlottesville. The festival's website is here. A schedule by topic is here. Books about subjects related to legal history, such as slavery, civil rights, habeas corpus, African Americans, the Civil War, and the Founding Fathers, will be featured at the festival. Panels about publishing and promoting books may also be of interest to legal history blog readers. See here. It's a fun event, and it's worth the journey to central Virginia, certainly for those within driving distance.

Authors may find the festival a good forum for book promotion. I emphasize may because academic publishers don't fund travel to book festivals for most authors, claiming that festivals do not generate enough book sales to justify the expense. Hence, individual authors must calculate the costs versus the likely benefits of promoting a book through a festival. Of course, the benefits of participation--which an author might not measure solely in terms of book sales--can be difficult to assess.

After all, quite apart from sales, many of us deeply enjoy being in the company of books: book authors, book covers, bookmarks, book stores, book readings, stacks of books, new books, used books, textbooks. Books!