The six people you will meet at Miami Book Fair, whether you want to or not

Miami Book Fair is upon us again, showcasing our favorite authors and giving the finger to every other snobby state that thinks nobody in Miami reads (we’re looking at you, NYC).

If you’ve never been to Miami Book Fair, well, here’s what you need to know: There are writers and readers and ideas and music and books for sale in English and Spanish and Creole. You can find a million things to do with your kids, and there’s usually a Clifford the Big Red Dog sighting. You can  buy comics, watch cooking demonstrations and listen to your favorite authors read. Plus arepas.

So you should go. And if you do, you will definitely meet these people.

The Friends of the Fair

Get used to the back row if you’re not a Friend of the Fair.

There are many of them, and they are going to get all the best seats because they are Friends of the Fair. That means they donated money, so they get first crack at tickets. Which is only fair. They will be out in force for popular nonfiction authors like Walter Isaacson, local heroes like Carl Hiaasen and anybody who ever ran for office. A disproportionate number voted for Hillary Clinton and are probably going to be giving former DNC chair Donna Brazile the evil eye during her appearance on Nov. 15. They did not attend last year’s Bernie Sanders appearance, but they will be out in full force to see former Vice President Joe Biden on Nov. 18 at the Arsht Center.

The collector/book seller with the giant bag

You think he reads those books? Nope. He’s building a mansion out of first edition Bronte novels.

This is the guy – I don’t know why it’s always a guy, but it is – who stands in line for a book sign with a bag stuffed with books. If he’s a bookseller, he will have several copies of some obscure first edition he’s foolishly hoping to sell on eBay even though nobody even uses eBay anymore. If he’s a collector, the books will all be different and tenderly well-preserved. Either way, you’re going to wait awhile for that George Saunders autograph.

The audience member who rambles on at Q & A sessions

Listen, we know you have been practicing at home, but don’t turn your minute at the mic into “The King’s Speech.”

It’s easy to be the least popular person at Miami Book Fair. Just get up during one of the Q & A sessions after each reading and ask several incoherent questions that have nothing to do with what the writer just talked about.

The person who can't remember to mute his cell phone

Just put it on mute, OK?

You know who you are. We all loathe you.

The aspiring writer

If you ask nicely, or even not nicely, he will tell you about his upcoming self-published ebook about a writer struggling to explain the plot of his upcoming self-published ebook.

These sincere people badly want to bond with all the published writers and would love to tell everybody within a 10-mile radius about their unpublished novel and/or poetry chapbook. Since they can’t, they will settle for talking about it during Q & A sessions while the rest of the audience visibly fumes. In drastic cases, they will attempt to force upon an author of a copy of their unpublished novel and/or poetry chapbook. It’s a painful thing to witness. Don’t get behind them in the signing lines, either.

The thrifty shopper waiting for late Sunday sales

Out of my way, scrubs. I am leaving with all the books.

You will not catch this person in some drafty auditorium. She’s lurking around the book booths with the stealth and swift reflexes of a predator, waiting for the vendors to unload books at a reduced price so they don’t have to pack them up. Get out of her way.


What: Miami Book Fair
When: Through Nov. 19
Where: Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Ave., downtown Miami

300 NE Second Ave, Miami, FL 33132