A refreshing change or too ‘clinical’? Lots of space was evident at the 'Firsts' fair held at the Saatchi Gallery.

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I hope this practice is a one-off as I normally attend the Battersea fairs on complimentary tickets,and even though £10 is not a great deal of money, it will put people off.

With regard to the comments in ATG No 2514 that it brought a greater concentration of serious buyers, maybe so, but surely these buyers would come anyway, and complimentary tickets will entice the general buyer at the lower end of the market.

A bit clinical

I also attended the Firsts book fair at the Saatchi Gallery on October 23 and enjoyed the atmosphere of a book fair after nearly two years away.

However, although the gallery is fine I found it a bit clinical after the homeliness of Olympia and then Battersea – very stark. I wonder if anyone else feels this way.

I’m sure we will all get used to it and that the book dealers are pleased to be back selling face to face with the public.

Robert Duckworth

ATG replies: One person’s ‘clinical’ is another person’s spacious, well-lit venue.

Three members of the ATG team visited Firsts at various points during its run. One reported virtually unanimous positivity among the dealers on the opening night, exemplified by this comment from a trader who told us: “We deal in a lot of this material, but rarely have the space to properly showcase such a wide range of it, so we were very grateful to be able to really do it justice.”

The second ATG colleague says: “I came away thinking the organisers had done a really good job. The layout flowed well between the rooms and it was easy to get from floor to floor.

“For me, ‘clinical’ is not how I would have described it but if you are used to more traditional book fairs then it’s understandable. ‘Refreshing’ would be my word. The contemporary space held the traditional exhibits well – the contrast worked for me.”

The third took the photo above which illustrates the point. For some it might look ‘clinical’, others might see a relaxed setting where dealers and visitors have time – and space – for a good discussion.

A full report on Firsts will appear in next week’s ATG.