Over the years, I've exhibited our books at many an academic conference and book fair. I experienced firsthand the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial heyday, during which we sold multiple copies of our 13-volume hardcover set of the Lewis and Clark journals or the paperback 7-volume set of the core volumes in a single day at any given archaeology or anthropology meeting. I've experienced the less productive times, too, like waiting in Canada for our books to clear customs so that I could set up our book exhibit in a church next to the conference hotel. This past week, I had the chance to staff our exhibit at the 2013 Nebraska Book Festival, which took me just up the road to Omaha.
Exhibit set-up and staffing is often a group activity—our marketing manager Martyn Beeny and our exhibits coordinator Emily Giller hit the road on Friday with all of our exhibit supplies.
A sturdy cart (I think the technical term is handcart) is awfully useful, because you never know how far you'll have to carry your materials.
I wasn't there to see Martyn and Emily work their magic, but in the end we had a beautiful corner space in the exhibit hall.
Which is where Martyn and I spent what turned out to be a beautiful spring day in Nebraska.
You can see the beautiful day coming through the window next to our booth space, which was nice. Exhibit spaces tend to be located in a windowless basement of a convention center.
Browsers enjoyed our newest books—I actually heard people laugh out loud (LOL!) as they thumbed through Joel Sartore's most recent book, Let's Be Reasonable, a collection of essays and photographs that depicts everything from state fairs to holiday family dinners.
Being the biased Omaha Central High alum that I am, I talked to anyone who would listen about The Rhythm Boys of Omaha Central: High School Basketball at the '68 Racial Divide by Steve Marantz, which will remain on my Top UNP book board indefinitely. It's a great look at Omaha civil-rights history at the end of the 1960s.
Many people also picked up From Society Page to Front Page: Nebraska Women in Journalism by Eileen M. Wirth, who was one of the first women reporters at the Omaha World-Herald.
Martyn and I chatted with people all day long (Martyn couldn't stop talking about his South Dakota accent), then we let the packing tape rip, attempted to fold tablecloths with rounded corners, and headed back to Lincoln knowing that a few more Nebraskans had learned something about the University of Nebraska Press and our books.