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Michigan Antiquarian Book and Paper Show this weekend helps keep paper books alive

Ray Walsh
Posted at 1:35 PM, Apr 27, 2023

EAST LANSING, Mich. — If you're an avid reader, you may have one of two (or maybe both) types of libraries at home, physical or digital. In a growing age of technology, some have a library right at their finger tips wherever they go, but some still believe physical books are the way to go.

Ray Walsh owns Curious Book Shop on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing. He considers himself an avid reader and collector.

“I usually read every night. Sometimes the cat joins me, jumps up on the bed, but that's another story," Walsh said. “Alice in Wonderland I have over 200 different editions of Lewis Carroll's famous book, including some illustrated editions and foreign language editions.”

For Walsh, he has one rule when collecting books, they have to be physical copies you can touch.

“I'm basically a touchy-feely person when it comes to books, and it's a good feeling just to be able to pick up a book and look at it and say, 'Wow, that's really, really cool, something I want to read,” Walsh said.

In a day and age where so many people live in a digital world, some are choosing to put down the physical books and pick up a kindle or their phone and read or listen to books digitally. Walsh says this has caused a shift in customers for his shop.

“Certainly a shift in readership," Walsh said. "Unfortunately, some of my older and better collectors and readers have passed away. Instead, we're getting donations and people selling large quantities of books or trying to, and it's a little bit overwhelming at times.”

Walsh says for some, however, they never even consider going digital.

“People still are looking to feel and touch books, and a lot of the older generation, that's the way they read," Walsh said. "They don't read online, and I don't read online.”

He said it's important to keep physical books in circulation for the history and nostalgia.

“A lot of people still like to feel and read books and they enjoy it," Walsh said. "They have fond memories of growing up reading children's books, like The Black Stallion or Raggedy Ann and Andy.”

Which is why twice a year for 74 years, he's organized the Michigan Antiquarian Book and Paper Show to preserve history and keep paper books alive.

"You'll find a wide variety of material and of collectibles," Walsh said. "It's not a garage sale and flea market. You're not going to find things for 50 cents or a dollar, but you're not going to find things for $20 or $30 either. There will be some rare books on many different subjects.”

The Michigan Antiquarian Book and Paper show is Sunday, April 30, at the Causeway Bay Hotel from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It's $5 to get in with free parking. Vendors will be selling books, magazines, post cards, bookmarks and more.

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