Book fairs and festivals are community-centered events that bring books and authors and the publishing world to the reading public. Whether local, regional or niche-based, these literary events celebrate and showcase books from every perspective and offer authors critical opportunities to promote their books to a circle of readers most likely to engage with them.
For authors and publishing professionals, book fairs and festivals are great opportunities to bring new books to a variety of readers, to help grow writers’ fan bases, and to increase book promotion and sales.
Book Festival Programs
Book festival feature author readings, book signings, cooking demonstrations by cookbook authors and celebrity chefs or both, book publishing and author panel discussions, and publishing and book- or reading-related exhibits.
Because book festivals focus on serving the reading community, they usually also include a focus on children's books with readings, storytelling, performances and author appearances geared to kids and young adults.
Book festival programmers
(and, sometimes, programming partners)
are responsible for selecting the list of authors who appear at the festival and developing
the other events.
When programming the book festival, they take into consideration what books are newly-published and what local talent they can support. Of course, respected, established writers and other celebrities with newly-published books usually draw large audiences and celebrities are popular with programmers.
Major, multi-day events with many participants and moving parts to coordinate, book festivals are managed by a small year-round festival staff as well as many volunteers. Volunteering at your local book festival in some capacity is a great way to get acquainted with the literary community in your area.
Many book festivals and fairs are regionally based; some (like Jewish Book Fairs) are also based around a specific theme or subject matter. While by no means exhaustive, here's a list of some of the popular book festivals in regions around the United States.
"Book Festivals" can also encompass many other events