Festival Ticketing Software For Book Fairs

Book Festivals

Springtime plays hosts to many types festivals and that includes book fairs and literary events. While lesser known than music festivals, book festivals can draw big crowds encompassing several different formats. Here's a look at different book festivals and how to best manage yours with the tools built into festival ticketing software (including one you are already very familiar with!)

Types of Book Festivals

This week, the Library of Congress (LoC) posted its treasure trove of videos from last year's International Summit of the Book on YouTube. The agency has made the videos available just as the literary world looks forward to the 2013 Book Festival, an event also hosted by the LoC. The 2013 Book Festival represents the pinnacle of literary events with thousands in attendance including president Barack Obama.

At a smaller scope and scale, the season for local book fairs has just begun in earnest, a tradition that coincides with the nice weather Springtime brings. Famous authors and bibliophiles alike will soon be flocking to book festivals for learning and commerce. In fact one of the most popular ways for authors to sell books is by making paid appearances at a book fairs. That's because attendance levels at outdoor book festivals are routinely much higher compared to a book signing at a local bookstore.

If you are tasked with managing an upcoming book fair or literary event, you can look to the following formats for inspiration.

Outdoor Book Festival

The reference standard for the outdoor book festival is the annual event held in Los Angeles on the USC campus grounds. The Festival of Books (video above) held its 18th edition last month and drew in more than 150,000 people. The Los Angeles Times provides extensive coverage of the event each year conveying all the aspects of the entertainment and knowledge to provided to the community. And, as one would expect given the host city, part of the event entertainment came from the many celebrities in attendance, including comedy legend Carol Burnett.

Of note, the scope of the L.A. Festival of Books also includes seated dining experiences at various locations as well as live musical performances (See 'Mix & Match Mediums' below).

Literary Gatherings For Authors & Appraisers

As mentioned earlier, the Library of Congress literary events are heavily focused on symposiums with famous authors. This author-centric format makes for an event that is much like a trade show or industry conference (with vendor booths, special guest speakers, etc.) and can be an order of a magnitude more complex to manage.

Another variant of this type of book festival format is when book appraisals are part of the attraction. Those who collect rare and out-of-print books can spend thousands of dollars in pursuit of their passion. When book fairs include appraisal services, in addition to having authors speak, attendance can double. Such is the case in South Carolina during the SC Book Festival that will offer attendees the chance to have their prized possessions appraised by professional book dealers.

The Antiquarian Book Dealers Association of South Carolina will be one of the antiquarians present, selling hard-to-find books and items. But, they will also be offering a bit more - book appraisals. Those interested can bring up to three books for $10.

Mix & Match Mediums

Often overlooked is the idea of mixing and matching a book festival with another medium in order to broaden the appeal. In Honolulu Hawaii, the Hawaii Book & Music Festival (HBMF) is set for this weekend combining, as its name implies, book and music in a family friendly atmosphere. HBMF is described by Maria Kanai as:

Bringing together authors, editors, publishers, musicians, dancers, singers, filmmakers and audiences for two days of readings, panel discussions and performances.

Although HBMF is a free event, the format of combining two mediums can easily be made into a paid, ticketed event, be it an extension of an existing music festival, or a book fair graduating in scope to include live music.

Barcode Scanners - A Familiar Tool

Widening a festival's scope is not a trivial task, just ask any of the successful music festivals that have grown ever larger each successive year. The combination of multiple venue entrances, big crowds, and talks by famous authors can result in organizational challenges never before experienced by the those tasked with managing a big book fair. However one of tools in pervasive use by most festival ticketing software programs is a barcode scanner - something that will be very familiar if you have ever worked at a bookstore!

At the other types of festivals, such as music, entrance gates can be swamped with long lines, which makes for a poor experience for the festival goers as well as a being safety concern. To address this, large music festival operators use handheld barcode scanners, just like the ones at the bookstore checkout, to scan tickets as people enter and exit (aka "ins-and-outs").

ThunderTix Book Festival Ticketing Software

barcode ticket scannerIf you are operating a book festival, you'll will find that ticketing software will make the event much easier to manage, even if it is a free event. If paid appraisals are going to be an aspect of the book fair, that dollar amount can be made part of the ticket purchase process within the ticketing software. Doing so will give the appraiser a good idea of what to expect allowing them to budget their time.

The ThunderTix plan for book festivals includes our years of experience with barcoded tickets and handheld barcode scanners. Our technology not only provides for improved entrance gate efficiency, and thus less time waiting in line, it also increases security. When tickets are scanned, the database record is updated, making the ticket invalid for use at any other gate. Should a duplicate ticket be presented, the staff member scanning sees a ”DUPLICATE” message along with the original ticket buyer’s name and order number.

If you are ready to implement in-advance ticketing for your book fair, please contact us at your convenience.