By Jennifer 8. Lee | March 28, 2008
On Wednesday night we had an amazing book event in San Francisco, spearheaded by Dave Lu of Fanpop (and aided with Jimmy, Ben, Lydia and James). It was 150+ people at Swig Bar on Geary Street, and it was a new promising model for a book event.
As someone who has done her own time in event organizing, I really was impressed (and touched). It was a well conceived. We got dim sum, funded by the publisher, which really went a long way (Chinese food — Designed to feed people in bulk). The projector was provided by James Hong — super bright so it worked well in the dark bar. And they even decorated with my big book poster (fedexed by Carolyn Mimran) and scattered fortune cookies about. (We just threw them away afterwards, cookies really are that cheap).
They showed the Colbert clip (which I still have not seen) and then I did an abbreviated version of my Mac Keynote presentation (I did it faster because I was afraid of losing a 150+ crowd standing in a dark bar, you hear rumblings at the peripheries, but I managed to hold them). It was a very Asian crowd, and also very Mandarin-speaking (or at least understanding), this was the only group where I could say things like èŽ«åå…¶å¦™ (momingqimiao) and get a big laugh.
Dave went to college with my childhood friend Eric, who hosted my New York book party. I reassured him that while the SF party rocked, the food was better and he gave an impressive and entertaining speech (at least 15 people, unsolicited, have mentioned how funny his speech was to me in passing).
And best of all, we sold a lot of books. Hannah from Book Passage walked away with only three copies left, which means they sold more than four boxes worth.
Which brings me to the realization: alcohol makes people buy books. (duh) Probably for two reasons: 1) it just loosens purse-string inhibitions, but also 2) in terms of relative worth, when you are spending $12 on a apple martini that will be gone in 20 minutes, spending $27 (that includes tax) on a book that lasts forever does not seem so unreasonable. These kinds of mind things are discussed in Predictably Irrational, by Dan Ariely.
So this is the type of event I think would be fun to model in other cities. I’ll say it again: I wish I had more Dave Lus around the county. So if you want to use this book as an excuse to throw a party, let me know.
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