Riverdale Arts Festival turned out to be record setters for book sales of Cologne No. 10 for Men and Well Considered. The following Saturday and Sunday at the Greenman Festival in Greenbelt was another record setter.
Again, we did not hear people saying that they wished they could buy books but that they were out of work, as we had heard in the past couple of years.
Even so, it didn’t seem that the economy could be the only reason for a four-to-five times increase in book sales, so we started considering other possibilities. We watched people approach our tent with their eyes on the new posters high at the corners which were replicas of the book covers painted by book artist Audrey Engdahl and concluded that the beautiful artwork was partly responsible for drawing in people so that they could hear what the books were about. We passed out copies of David Willson’s glowing review of Cologne No. 10 For Men for the Vietnam Veterans of America, and that undoubtedly sold some books: “There aren’t very many funny Vietnam War infantry books. This is one of them. Read it and be amazed.” And I had lowered my prices a couple of bucks below the “sticker prices.”
Earlier in the season we had experienced successful events at the College Park Library Book Festival and at the Kensington Book festival, but suddenly the first weekend of May brought a new measure of success!
At the Gaithersburg Book Festival, which is highly competitive and features so many nationally known books and authors, I sold twice as many books as I had sold there in years past but with the previous record weekends to live up to, a doubling was even a little disappointing!
Memorial Day with the Memorial Day Writers’ Project on the Mall in Washington, D.C. near the Vietnam Memorial was, as usual, a wonderful occasion to gather with friends who are singers, songwriters, writers, and poets to honor our veterans. Although there seemed to be less passersby this year in spite of the beautiful weather, perhaps they had all turned out on Sunday instead as we chatted that day with many people and sold lots of Cologne No. 10 for Men and Skytroopers CDs.
Even with other variables entering the picture, it still seems that people are feeling more optimistic about their economic situations and spending money for the pleasure of reading a good book!