32nd Annual Paperback Collectors Show
Although Lisa and I were still depressed over the lost of our much-loved store cat, Zola, we decided to stop by the 32nd Annual Paperback Collectors Show in Mission Hills on Sunday, March 27th. Run primarily by Tom Lesser, a great promoter and collector of paperbacks himself, along with Rose Idlet, owner of Black Ace Books in Los Angeles.
"The show began as part of my collecting hobby but gradually developed into
a large show which is now held for collectors and members of the public who
just want to come, walk around, maybe get some books signed and meet the
We've been going to the show for over a decade now and have always enjoyed meeting collectors and pouring over the tables and stacks of paperbacks. However, this year we just didn't feel the spirit of the show all that much and only came away with a handful of books. Nothing to do with the show (which was active and actually crowded a bit this year), it was more to do with our somber mood. Still, we got to see a lot of friends including author Christa Faust, who was excited about the show and seemed to be spending way too much money.
The Paperback Show takes up three rooms at the Mission Hills, CA., Valley Inn and Conference Center. The main room is where you enter and pay the 5 bucks to get in. Then there is a smaller room off to the side and another large room where most of the authors appear to promote and sign their books.
Most dealers display their books face up or spine up on long tables. Some dealers have additional boxes of books underneath the tables which makes for a lot of people on their knees browsing and going through endless stacks of paperbacks. The more organized sellers list books by publisher or have selections of authors works all together. And, of course, there are related paper ephemera like pulp magazines, posters and magazines.
I got a chance to see three or four of my favorite paperback people. James Madison who sells via Ebay and via mail/email, always has the best organized table with lots of good vintage paperback bargains. He's such a great guy and a top-notch paperback dealer, too.
Also got to see Lynn Munroe, who is a primarily a private dealer and historian. He has done so much for vintage paperback history and I've enjoyed every book he's ever recommended.
Ron Blum of Kayo Books always has some of the rarest and most interesting paperbacks. He had a sleaze paperback with the original painting used for the cover on display (see pix below). His San Fran store is a must see if you visit that town. The store website is pretty cool, too. Ron's wife, Maria, is always at their large dealer table while Ron's out looking for deals. It was pleasure to see her again and chat a bit. Their store is doing well, glad to say.
There is always a long list of authors signing at the Paperback Show every year. This year there was Ann Bannon, Bill Pronzini, Donald Glut, Bruce Kimmel and William F. Nolan just to name a few. I snapped a pix of Donald Glut, a very interesting author/screenwriter who in addition to his long and varied writing career is an expert on dinosaurs. I wish I had had the time to chat with him a bit.
I had a enjoyable chat with Gary Lovisi (stupid me for not taking a pix) who edits the Paperback Parade (a semi-annual mag that covers vint pap authors/history), runs Gryphon Books and is a noted hard-boiled author himself. He's done so much to bring forgotten authors to light. In the current issue of PP #77 he covers the jazz musician and paperback writer Charles Beckman, Jr.
I came away with only 6 books this year and Lisa picked up three nifty James M. Cain paperbacks. I just grabbed books that interested me. Picked up only one book by an author I've been looking for, Jack Ehrlich. Looks like a good book. I plan on posting the first paragraphs of each of the books just for fun and perhaps doing an reading of them as well for fun.
You can find out more information about the annual Paperback Show here. I took some video of the event and will edit it together in a week or so. Will post here and on Vimeo. Nothing special, just a short simple documentary of my time at the show. Here's a little snippet:
If you happen to be in Los Angeles in late March sometime, I highly recommend the annual Paperback show. Bring two 20 dollar bills with you and you'll walk out with a bag full of great vintage paperbacks, plus a lot of new friends.