Book fair attracts crowds from afar

SUCCESS: People on the hunt for books at this weekend's Founders Book Fair.
SUCCESS: People on the hunt for books at this weekend's Founders Book Fair.

Book lovers raced to find some rare reads when the gates opened for the Founders Book Fair this weekend.

First in line on Saturday morning was Glenn Haszard, who had been waiting since 7am, and had travelled up from Christchurch especially to buy books to sell online.

He's made the annual mission for the past 13 years, and he enjoyed seeing his fellow-fair goers, as much as the book hunting.

"I've become friends with people who come every year. There's lots of good banter here, you hear lots of jokes."

Waiting with bags in hands for the 10am opening, he planned to spend $500 and "load up the van" with his finds.

Haszard was after a range of books and made a beeline towards the higher priced, special and rare books first. From there, he had a plan to visit the other tables, to see what would make the trip back to Christchurch that evening.

The Founders Hall had books divided into different sections, from animals, to prose, politics, to humour, to hunting and fishing.

Haszard said the range of books reflected well on Nelson.

"It's quite amazing for the size of Nelson; it says a lot about the city by the sort of books you have."

Despite Haszard being first in line, Nelson City councillor Tim Skinner was first through the doors to the hall. He had a "friendly" rivalry running race with tennis coach Alastair Cotterill and this year was no exception. The pair pounded the pavement, bags flapping alongside them as they raced ahead of other book lovers caught up in the excitement.

Skinner was looking to add to his own collection of books, and buy his children something new to read.

"I went for the special value books first; they are interesting, older books."

He said the book fair was great for Nelson and showed people still cared for physical books. Many that he bought were not available digitally.

"You won't find them on the internet. Some are 150 to 200 years old."

Organiser Karen Clark agreed, she said the numbers at the book fair showed "people still cared for print media."

"This is probably one of the biggest crowds we have had on an opening day. Even some of our regular buyers said they were quite surprised."

Friends Jan Dahl and Heather Cole had driven over to Nelson from Takaka "at the crack of dawn" to stock up on some reading.

Dahl had been to the event for the past five years, and convinced Cole to come this year - her first time.

They had waited since 8.30am and "galloped in" they joked.

Cole said it was "wonderful. I am enjoying it, everyone is very friendly, and you talk to people while in line."

She had brought a bag to fill, and was after books about history, politics and international relations.

She spend $20 and had about 20 books to keep her busy.

"I would have brought more but I can't carry them. Once I start a book I can read it in one sitting."

She said she will "definitely" be back next year.

Carla Glasgow was rummaging through children's books with her keen bookworms, Eddie, 3 and Iris, 5. They had picked up some Enid Blyton books as well as a Twister set.

"They just love it, they love books. Iris is really into reading."

She liked the recycling aspect..

"If they take a shine to something during the year we'll keep it, otherwise I'll bring them back for the next fair."

The annual Founders Book Fair runs until Sunday, from 10am-4.30pm every day. Daily entry fee is $2 or $5 for a nine-day pass.