A balmy, clear and windy day, not as hot as expected. In theory, perfect for Founders Day. But there were odd signs, a prevailing lack of interest all around compared to last year. Vendors who signed up didn't show up. And a much smaller crowd. The civic club fell drastically short of the number of customers needed to justify buying and smoking 176 Boston butts. Don't know why. Maybe it's just the way the ball bounces.
Little White Cabin's first customer was a girl, not yet 12, who was running with a pack of her school chums. I could tell by the way the posters and books pulled her as if by magnetism from the street to the booth that she was a natural reader and a lover of books. Her interest was rather intense, and I despaired at least a little that I'd have to steer her away from Cain and Rufus with an explanation that they were for a more mature readership. Luckily, she chose The Relic. She pulled out a little ziplock bag and started counting coins. She was working on dollar #3 when she said she had a 20 and I let her know I had change for it. I signed her copy, she thanked me, and they all trotted off to enjoy the festivities.
I didn't expect a lot of buyers, especially after observing the low turnout, but of those I did get, all were female. (And not just this event.) It's certainly not the content, since nothing in the posters or books cries out "chick lit." And it's sho'nuff not my personal draw as a chick magnet. Do guys not read anymore? I don't know. These little arts and crafts fairs likely are not a good measure anyway. People don't come to these events to buy books.
But it's certainly not an atypical crowd in this community. So I do wonder what, if anything, it says about the place of books in general and the novel in particular in my "tribe." But that's probably the wrong question. I think I know the right question.
As Willie Sutton said when asked why he robs banks: "Because that's where the money is."