The second annual Detroit Festival of Books will take place on Sunday, July 15, at Eastern Market in Detroit and will feature thousands of new, used and collectible books for sale.

The second annual Detroit Festival of Books will take place on Sunday, July 15, at Eastern Market in Detroit and will feature thousands of new, used and collectible books for sale.

Photo provided by Ryan Place


Eastern Market to host second annual Detroit Festival of Books

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published June 22, 2018

 New and used hardcovers and paperbacks, collectors’ items, comic books and LPs are some of the items that will be for sale at the Detroit Festival of Books. Organizers said the event will have something for everyone.

New and used hardcovers and paperbacks, collectors’ items, comic books and LPs are some of the items that will be for sale at the Detroit Festival of Books. Organizers said the event will have something for everyone.

Photo provided by Ryan Place

DETROIT — Pick up some reading glasses, because it’s time for the second annual Detroit Festival of Books at Eastern Market.

The event will take place inside sheds five and six at Eastern Market in Detroit as well as in the parking lots. It will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 15. Additionally, there will be an afterparty from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Eastern Market Brewing Co. down the alley for those ages 21 and older. There’s no cost for either location.

Called “Bookfest” by some, the Detroit Festival of Books will allow people to buy and sell thousands of new and used books as well as other items. It will feature more than 200 vendors, five food trucks, two beer vendors and music.

“Bookfest is a glorious day of books, food, beer and funk music,” said Ryan Place, one of the organizers and founders of Bookfest. “The overarching theme is on new and used books, but we also have comic books, vinyl LPs, five food vendors, two beer vendors as well as a DJ playing funk music and authors who will be selling their books.”

Bookfest was started by members of the Book Club of Detroit, of which Place is vice president. The group financed the event out of its own treasury

“We had the original idea of it in January of 2016, and we had our first annual Bookfest last July,” explained Place. “We were all completely blown away with last year. I didn’t think we would have enough vendors to make it a festival, or enough attendees to make it a recurring festival. Eastern Market made a conservative estimate of 10,000 people attending last year, and they said we could possibly double that this year.”

Detroit resident John King is the owner of John K. King Books, one of the largest used and rare book businesses in the city. He took part in the first Detroit Festival of Books and is returning this year.

“It’s wonderful Detroit finally has a book festival. Other cities have them and it’s just such a wonderful thing for a city,” remarked King. “I think if you have any love for the printed word, you should show up. It’s a very good family event.”

King said the first Detroit Festival of Books was an impressive event and succeeded far better than anyone anticipated.

“It was unexpectedly phenomenal,” King said. “The amount of people who showed up was tremendous, and it was a great experience for all of us. There was a mix of people who took part — authors, booksellers, library people — so it wasn’t a boring time just looking at books at one booth after another. It had something for all kinds of people.”

King is planning on bringing a lot of Detroit-centric material, which he said was a popular item at last year’s festival. He believes that having an event like Bookfest shows the true nature of Detroit and its residents.

“I think it expands the culture of the city,” he said. “People say we have bad schools and bad this and bad that, and this is showing that there are a lot of bright people in this city. We’re not a book desert; if we were, I wouldn’t have been in business all these years.”

Place said he hopes everyone from nonreaders to book-obsessives will give the festival a try and enjoy a fun day in the city. 

“Definitely come check it out; there will be great books, great music, great food, great drinks and you’ll hopefully be exposed to some books or genres you wouldn’t have been otherwise,” said Place. “The great thing about books is there are so many genres, there is literally something for everyone. There are far more book collectors and passionate book enthusiasts than most people realize.”