This was such a cool event. It costs $25 per person and runs about 3 hours. The only stipulation is that you have to give up a book that you really liked. When you get there, you sign in and get a badge with a bunch of numbers on it. Before the event even begins, you take the book you've brought and write the name, author, and main protagonist on a piece of paper and gum it to a bulletin board based on whether you think that person is Brave, Romantic, Brainy, or Deadly.
When that's done, you sit at a table designated on your badge. There are 6 tables and 6 or 7 people at each table, including a captain chosen by Kepler's. Each person at the table gives a 2-3 minute synopsis of his or her book, basically trying to convince everybody how good the book is. When time is up (approx. 20 minutes), you move to the next table specified on your badge, and you repeat the process. After the 2nd 20 minutes, time out is taken to have dessert (there is food and beverage throughout the event), and then you go to your 3rd table. Obviously, this gives you an opportunity to hear a little bit about half the books.
Then the real fun begins. Everybody puts there book on a table in the middle of the room. And the moderator, Angela, starts calling names beginning with #1 (the 4th, and last, number on your badge). That person goes to the table and picks up a book. #2 (me) gets to steal that book or pick another one. And so on. If your book is "stolen," then you immediately go back to the table and pick another one. And you are safe. You can only be stolen from once. However, really popular books can be (and were) stolen multiple times. Finally, when the last person picks (#39, in this case), that's the end of the event - except for the ARC's. Kepler's puts a whole bunch of ARC's on the same table, and everybody can rush to the table and pick one.
Some of the books that book swap members brought to exchange
Our illustrious leader, Angela, on the left
The ARC (advanced reader copy) table
So let me sum up: For $25, you get a book that, typically, you want - plus an ARC - plus as much food and wine (or sparkling water) as you can eat/drink. You're giving up a book, but it's usually something you already have at home. I think that's a pretty darn good deal. Kepler's does this 4 times per year, 2 in Spring and 2 in Fall. I can't wait for the next one.
BONUS: Since it was California Bookstore Day, we got Tracy Guzeman, author of The Gravity of Birds, as part of our group. She participated as a regular book swap member - until the end. Then she spoke about Gravity and signed books. As you may remember, she was our VHOB Book Club author for April. She was a huge hit then - and was again Saturday night.
(Who's that handsome guy in the jeans and blue shirt?)
SIDE NOTE: I got Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, which I've been meaning to read for a long time. Even more interesting is that Joni got a book that was specifically about the city she grew up in - San Leandro, in the East Bay. I brought The Lost Saints of Tennessee, and Joni brought The Glass Castle. Both of them were very popular throughout the evening.