The guys I talked to at last years fall show thought it would be the last one organized in Omaha. Ebay has pretty much killed of this type of venue for selling gear. But here they were again in the spring show, although about 15% less dealers than last year.
One of the noticeble absences this time around was a guy who sold lots of Leica gear. He would show up with a couple of dozen bodies and maybe 50 or 60 various lenses. One of the other guys told me he stricly sells on Ebay or at larger shows closer to home in Chicago.
Another seller who I have bought several lenses and a couple of cameras from also was not there. I know that last year he did not sell on Ebay, but I will have to contact him and see if he has gone that route.
I guess on the other side of the ledger are the folks who would show up to these meets and sell their old gear. Now it makes more sense to try to get maximum value on Ebay for individual items.
I think some of the guys still doing the winter swap meet circuit do it for the social aspects of talking to fellow enthusiasts as much as anything else. Like one guy told me, when you factor in gas, motel, food and renting a booth or a table and the time invested it begins to make a good deal of sense to be at home or shooting film while your inventory sells on Ebay.
While Ebay certainly has its problems, this thread is not intended to be anti-Ebay or Internet selling. Auction sites have been a huge and efficient factor in moving cameras and equipment from one consumer segment to another, helping to keep analog going.
It will be kind of sad when they end because it was always a unique opportunity to see all kinds of older cameras and gear as well as actually see the stuff in person and talk to people. And I never left one without getting some great deals on equipment.