I just finished up my first book fair at my new school. I have struggled with book fair the past few years -- was it worth the effort and fair to the kids who couldn't afford anything? I came close to saying "never again." And I think I would have taken at least one year off had I stayed at my former school.
My situation is different now, though. I am at a school where more families can afford to buy books, and do. I also rely on the book fair for my library budget, which was not the case for me before. Now I will be doing two fairs each year, rather than one. So, while the stress of worrying about the students who cannot buy anything is lessened (though not gone altogether), I now have the stress of worrying about how much money we will make and how many books for the library my profit will buy.
Quite a few of my colleagues commented on how calm I was leading up to and during the book fair. I guess after eleven years I have figured out what to stress over and what isn't worth the emotional effort it takes to fuss about. I actually had a pretty good week, though I was dog-tired by the time the books were packed up and ready to ship back. I enjoyed talking with parents about what books would or would not be good choices for their children and it was fun to see the students that I am still getting to know come in with their families and get excited about their new books. We were able to use donations to give books to students who wouldn't otherwise have been able to afford one and I saw many of my colleagues show a very generous spirit, buying books for their students who were not able to benefit from the donations.
It is hard to know what is a "good time" to have a book fair. December can be "good" because parents buy gifts, or it can be bad because families have so many other financial demands at this time of year. Regardless of what time of year is better or will make me more money, last week was a "good" week and, while I may not look forward to the next book fair, I will be able to approach it with a much more positive attitude.