Vancouver Book Fair 2015

Last weekend one of my best friends, Jaime, invited me to head to the Vancouver Book Fair – Western Canada’s only book fair featuring sellers who specialize in antiquarian and rare books and art. I’d never been before and wasn’t really sure what to expect – but hey, say books and I come a-runnin’!

The book fair itself was held at the downtown UBC campus, and (with a discount code provided by signing up on the website) only cost $6 to get in – for both days! We walked into a room that was full to bursting with some of the most beautiful and old books I’ve ever seen. Not to mention hordes of enthusiastic book lovers just like me!

I obviously couldn’t afford to take home most of the books I fell in love with, since many of them cost hundreds of dollars, but I was thrilled just to be allowed to handle some of them (which I did very, very carefully!). I did bring home a two volume set of The Count of Monte Cristo, which was about the only thing I could afford, but I did take a bunch of pictures of some of the most wonderful books I encountered. Here are a selection – you can see all of them on my Instagram!

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 I loved the battered crate the set on the left came in, and the books 
on the right were only about three inches tall!


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 Two illustrations by Arthur Rackham from Gulliver’s Travels.


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 Some beloved children’s classics! I so wanted to bring the Dahl box set home.


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 Beautiful and tiny Oxford English Dictionary.


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 I never even knew J.M. Barrie wrote another book – and this one was gorgeous.


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 I have absolutely no idea what this book was about, but I fell totally in love with it.


I can’t even tell you how many of these I would have brought home with me if only I had unlimited funds! Because I knew I wouldn’t be able to buy many (if any) books, I wasn’t really sure if I’d enjoy the Book Fair. But even just seeing some of these books that have been around for decades and turning pages that have been turned by countless fingers was an incomparable experience for any book lover.

Do any of you have a prized antique book or two in your collection that you occasionally take down from the shelf and gently flip through? Any prohibitively expensive books you fell in love with and painfully had to put back on the shelf?


  1. M.

    You know, I have a few old books from my mom as well, and mostly they're not books I'd have much interest in reading, and I don't think they're worth anything in terms of monetary value – but I treasure them. Something about books that have been passed down through the hands of your ancestors that creates a strong connection.

  2. M.

    Yeah, me too! Going to the book fair was ecstasy (seeing all the beautiful books) and agony (not being able to take them home with me). I have a very few old beautiful books, but they're not valuable to anyone except me. If I ever strike it rich, though…..

  3. Katrin

    I loved seeing all your pictures on Instagram. That clearly is a book lover's heaven. Glad you got to buy something! I would have clearly enjoyed this too! I have some really old books from my grandmother (I think she got them from her grandmother), mostly cooking books. I don't know if they are worth anything but I like them.

  4. Trisha

    I am so jealous. So many older books are just gorgeous. Unfortunately my book collecting tendencies are much more pedestrian (read “cheap”). 🙂

  5. Trisha

    I am so jealous. So many older books are just gorgeous. Unfortunately my book collecting tendencies are much more pedestrian (read “cheap”). 🙂


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