Why Wasn't Access to SXSW Bookstore Free?

RECEIVED Sun., March 21, 2010

Dear Chronicle,
    As a nonattendee of this year's South by Southwest (I have been a volunteer in the past), I appreciate all the free and open-to-the-public events SXSW provides.
    This year, I was lured to brave the madness/crowds of Downtown Austin by seeing many references to free/open events at the Austin Convention Center, including the Flatstock poster show and record convention.
    Also, I saw many listings for the South by Bookstore at the same location. Being not only a music collector but a book collector as well, this was the lure that got me there (at no slight inconvenience to myself, I might add), ready to spend some of my hard-earned cash and possibly snag a signed book by one of the artists who had appeared there.
    Yet, inexplicably, the bookstore was restricted to badge/pass-holders only. Where is the logic in that? Isn't the point to sell books?
    I am sure the authors would be as unhappy as I was to know that they had lost sales.
    I realize that SXSW is a huge event, with zillions of tiny details, yet I believe that if something is restricted it should be indicated on all subsequent publicity.
    I guess they wanted everyone's cash but mine.
Jim Trawicki
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