Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Goodbye Books by the Bay

There was a depressing item in Leah Garchik’s Chronicle column: The Annual Books By the Bay Festival has been abandoned.

For the past 10 Julys, the Northern California Independent Booksellers’ Association has sponsored the day-long event, which featured authors and panels under the sun in Yerba Buena Gardens. I loved the event and made a point of going every year.

But the festival cost $20,000 each year to produce, even with corporate sponsors like the Chronicle, according to Hut Landon, the director of the NCIBA. It was money the organization couldn't afford to lose.

I can’t t help thinking this wouldn’t have happened if Debi Echlin was still alive. Debi was on the board of the NCIBA and one of the festival’s biggest boosters. Last year she bolstered the philanthropic aspect of the fair with the goal of turning the entire thing into a non-profit that would donate money to literacy programs around the region.

In addition, Debi was determined and would have resisted giving up this visible, rewarding celebration of books. But Debi,the owner of A Great Good Place for Books in Oakalnd, died in her sleep in November. Now the fair will die, too.


Susan said...

Oh NO. That is really sad news. And I think you are right: Debi would have found a way to keep this event alive. How sad.

ed said...

This is terrible news. And really twenty thousand clams doesn't strike me as all THAT much money. You could get five more sponsors at $4,000/pop. Or you could make up the difference through individual donors.