Also known as the Huckster Room in the US.
One or more rooms where dealers (professional, semi-professional or fans) can rent one or more tables and sell stuff. It is not a room for playing card games as one fan once thought.
Types of Dealer
Bookstores, big publishers, SF-related toys etc. are sold by people whose main source of income is their SF-related business. They bring items to the convention to make money from them to pay for more than their room and table. At least that's the theory!
People with small home businesses that want to make money but it is not their primary source of income. People selling hand-made jewelry, pieces of artwork, costumes etc. Authors who have self-published or very small press publishers.
People promoting their fanclub, society or convention/bid. They are there mostly to meet other fans and get them to join their club/convention/society. They may be selling books, t-shirts, two headed teddybears etc.
One Historic View on Eastercon Dealers Room
Caroline Mullan posted some notes about Dealers Rooms to the 1995 Worldcon fanzine a number of years back, the following is based on her article. It is very out of date and needs updating ... this is a wiki, you know what to do!
Dealers Room Liaison
The Dealer Room liaison (the person running the Dealers room):
- sends one information mailing to about 50 or so dealers whose names he has had for years
- takes about 50 phone calls and maybe a dozen letters over the year
- normally turns away the last handful of people who want tables
- talks to the organising committee maybe once a month by telephone or in the pub
- visits the hotel once or not at all prior to the convention, and turns up on the day assuming (normally correctly) that the hotel will provide the appropriate number of tables, cloths, and chairs without overmuch fuss.
Then at the convention itself, for the most part the 30-50 dealers for whom there is space:
- turn up with their stuff at the hotel on the Thursday or Friday morning without expecting or needing any information other than the convention PRs
- move their stock by hand or hand trolley brought with them or provided free by the hotel
- use covered tables which are provided free by the hotel
- if lucky enough to have a power point handy and they want it, plug their unchecked equipment in with no fuss and at no charge
- leave again Monday the same way
- pay at the con and are given cash receipts
- don't grumble unduly at table prices OR membership rates with the latter at about GBP 25-30 [Note: this has doubled in price from 1995 to 2009, but table prices have remained pretty much constant] and given that tables normally end up flat rate at GBP 30 or so each
Huge American conventions or professional trade fairs may be able to supply lots of things, but an Eastercon is a lot smaller. If you are a dealer then here are some of the things that an Eastercon Dealer Liaison does not do:
- assist dealers who have no idea what an SF convention is nor how it habitually runs
- produce formal Dealer's Room sales or contractual documentation
- arrange building work (walls, power, telephones)
- arrange to hire furniture and moving equipment
- advise or otherwise help with import/export procedures and communications
- handle VAT accounting requirements for 150 invoices over 18 months
- handle deliveries and collections by shipping companies
- arrange for electrical safety testing
Note: This section was originally written to highlight how much more complicated running a worldcon dealer room is. It could be rewritten