DittoDitto is hosting its fifth annual Detroit Art Book Fair at Trinosophes in Eastern Market on Oct. 14 and 15.
The Detroit Art Book Fair, which is free and open to the public, features books from vendors across the United States and Canada, including the Wayne State University Press. It provides a chance for lovers of literature to get together, grab some coffee and buy some books.
“The fair is one of my favorite things that I've ever organized,” said Maia Asshaq, founder of DittoDitto and the Detroit Art Book Fair. “I just get really excited to see what books [vendors] have and how visitors respond.”
DittoDitto was founded in 2012. It started as a pop-up shop and eventually opened as an independent bookshop in Corktown. The shop sold a variety of small press books, classic paperbacks and art books.
After three years of business the Corktown location shut down.
“Since the store closed earlier this year, I've been trying to figure out what [DittoDitto’s] role can be—both in Detroit and online,” said Asshaq. “I realized that my interest in book distribution led to an interest in digital distribution of texts…It's been really exciting to think beyond a physical space to see how I can continue to connect writers/publishers inside and outside the city.”
Trinosophes, the chic cafe which hosts the yearly book fair, offers a variety of locally sourced foods and hosts live music, art exhibits and film screenings. It has been the location of the Detroit Art Book Fair since the fair’s second year.
“We decided to move to Trinosophes in our second year because it provided a little more room to accommodate more vendors, but also because the owners of Trinosophes have been so supportive of my work in the past,” Asshaq said. “I love Eastern Market—it's a really fun place to host an event like this. And folks visiting [Detroit] from out of town can get a nice view into a neighborhood they might not otherwise see.”
Asshaq added that she appreciates the cafe's environment, and decided the space could accommodate a maximum of 40 vendors.
“This limit is both a way to make sure the space doesn't get too crowded, but also so that vendors and visitors can really absorb what vendors have to offer,” Asshaq said.
A few notable returning vendors participating in this year’s book fair include Issue Press based out of Grand Rapids and Salt & Cedar from Detroit. Asshaq said she is looking forward to seeing what those vendors have in store this year.
There are also new vendors entering the book fair this year.
Gant Studios and Youngblood are Detroit-based businesses planning to display their work at Trinosophes for the first time.
Bree Gant, founder of Gant Studios, is an artist from Detroit who works with a variety of different media. She said she is participating in this year’s book fair to show what Detroit artists are capable of.
As Eastern Market has changed with the influx of new Detroit residents, Gant emphasized that seeing vendors of color in a city that is majority black is an important step to creating truly inclusive and diverse events.
“I [attended] the DittoDitto Art Book Fair the last two years,” she said. “The first year [I attended] there was one table with black vendors in the whole room. They were from Brooklyn. The second year, Brooklyn was back. Plus, two more vendors of color. I was angry and confused about this large white room at the white coffee shop with all white vendors and artists with the name ‘Detroit’ on the event. So, this year I want to take up space. Be real black. Real me. Real.”