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Friday, August 17, 2007

Hubin's Crime Fiction

A just got my copy of Hubin's Crime Fiction 1749 to 1980: A Comprehensive Bibliography, and have been browsing to my hearts content. A great reference book, I realize the print had to be small to fit all the information in at 712pgs, but I wish they had invested in some darker ink... I've got a serious case of eye strain.

I wonder if anyone has done a bibliography, or even a biblio checklist of juvenile mysteries?

(shameless & crass marketing link to my juvenile mystery catalog listed above.)
"The best fertilizer for a field is the footsteps of the farmer...."


"the devil is in the details..."

If you plan to operate on online or catalog book selling business it is a good idea to keep faith with both these concepts.

Keeping on top of your inventory means more than repricing; you have to maintain the books in the condition described and in a way which allows you to find them easily once they sell. Also plan on some sort of inventory numbering system, even in the out of print and collectible market, you will end up with a surprising number of duplicate copies which will usually not be interchangeable.

It also means tracking your costs, not just inventory cost, but packing material, shipping costs, online fees, ALL expenses....the devil is indeed in these details.

And finally, expect that sometime in your book selling career that there will be an economic downturn, or a system failure or a family emergency or some combination of disaster scenario and keep funds and contingency plans in place for when something does happen.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

even as x-libris

Sally Watson wrote great juvenile historical novels and it has always amazed me that her books were never reprinted.

Mistress Malapert.
NY: Henry Holt, 1955. Illustrated by Genia. This book in particular seems to generate a great many want requests.

(I'd pick up any of her titles, even as x-libris as long as the dust jackets were not too mangled. )

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

David Edwards First Book

David Edwards, an avid collector of modern signed children's books and a dedicated and determined writer will have his first book published in October. David's wish was to have at least four copies of every title he collected (one for each of his children) which allowed many a children's bookseller to see black ink instead of red at the end of a month.

The Pen That Pa Built written by David and illustrated by Ashley Wolf will be published in October and is available at for pre-order.

Book Description

In this warm display of old-fashioned know-how and family spirit, a blanket is made from scratch--from the shearing to the carding, spinning, dying, and weaving. And it all starts in the pen that Pa built. Told through Ashley Wolff's vibrant artwork, this illustrated history of 1830s North America celebrates the lost art of creating a cherished, homemade object.

Homesick Mid-West Blues

I've been a fairly happy transplant to the East Coast; Maryland with it's history, culture and bookstores, is a much more dynamic (and pricey!) place to live than was an acreage out in the cornfields of Iowa. And believe me, my appreciation of Maryland increases exponentially each month of it's short winter season.

We've been in Maryland for 4 years now so I was a bit surprised to get a call yesterday from a small press and almanac collector in Atlanta wanting to know if I had the first and second issues of a Iowa regional magazine called The Wapsipinicon Almanac. The Almanac is an annual magazine published and printed by Timothy Fay in Anamosa, Iowa and has been described in a review as "part New Yorker and part Farmers Almanac".

I had advertised in the Almanac in the early 90's and since I still have the same toll free number the collector hoped I would have copies of the first two issues. It took me a while to find my magazines and unfortunately I did not have the issues he wanted, but this very well crafted and literate magazine is a must have for anyone who has enjoyed or hopes to enjoy a more rural lifestyle. I've spent the last 6 hours or so re-reading my Wapsi Almanacs so I guess it's no surprise that I'm now sitting here staring out my window wishing I was seeing cornfields instead of trees and rooftops.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar

The Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar which just finished up in Colorado Springs has been held every summer for well over 20 years. The 5 day seminar is advertised as being a training forum for for Booksellers, Librarians, and Collectors and among the talks includes a detailed training exercise on how properly catalog (describe) a book.

One of these years I'm going to beg, borrow or steal the time and the money and attend. I can't imagine anything more fun than spending 5 days with other crazed booksellers. I've been reading the news group and blog discussions on the seminar and besides making me pea green with envy they got me thinking about how my book descriptions have been dumbed down over the years.

Some of the traditional book selling terms and abbreviations that I no longer use for online book listings are:

signature: a group or gathering of leaves printed together on a sheet of paper which is folded, bound with other signatures and trimmed to form a book or pamphlet; i.e. a section or grouping of pages in a book resulting from printing and binding methodology. (omitted altogether, too many customers confusing this for an author or illustrators signature)

n.d and n.p. are spelled out as no publication date or no place of publication

t.e.g. or a.e.g.: is now written out as top edge gilt or all edges gilt.

x-libris or x-library I've had to change to library discard.

Another identifier that I'm not using at all in online are the traditional book sizes:

Folio: more than 13 inches tall
Quarto (4to): approx. 10 to 13 inches tall, average 12 inches
Octavo (8vo): approx. 8 to 10 inches tall, average 9 inches
Duodecimo (12mo): approx. 7 to 8 inches tall, average 7.5 inches
Sextodecimo (16mo): approx. 6 to 7 inches tall, average 6.5 inches

The Abebooks site has a gloss
ary of bookseller terms, but I find most customers don't want to wade through a lot of abbreviations and in the internet world of instant click are not going to take the time to look up terms they don't understand.

(Information that I always include in my listings is: Author(s), Illustrator(s), Publisher including place and date. Binding type i.e. Hard Cover, Soft Cover Library Binding etc. Edition statement and a solid description of book and dust jacket condition. )

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

2007 Edgar Mystery Award -Juvenile and Young Adult

The winner of the 2007 best juvenile mystery went to Room One by Andrew Clements. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2006. Illus by Chris Blair.

and the winner of the 2007 Edgar award for best young adult mystery went to:

Buried by Robin Merrow MacCready. NY: Dutton, 2006.

(I need to catch up on my reading, I did not know of either of these titles before the award announcement.)

Monday, August 6, 2007

even as x-libris

Another good book to scout is Tony Hillerman's only children's book, The Boy Who Made Dragonfly: A Zuni Myth. Harper & Row, 1972. Illustrated By Laszlo Kubinyi.

(This one has an ISBN # so you will have to grab fast or fight the Scoutpal users for it.)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Genre Collecting- Juvenile Mysteries

I was visiting with another children's book specialist the other day and we were doing the usual free association book natter, the topic being the books that seem to be most sought by collectors in the juvenile mystery genre. The list below does not cover the series books (Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden etc.) and is by no means complete:

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. (This book won the Newbery Award and is probably my single most requested mystery title.)

Enid Blyton's Fabulous Five stories, especially from the 1940's and 1950's. Published by Hodder Stoughton. (My dealer friend is from the UK, I'm not sure these were even published in the U.S., though I remember reading them in California in the 60's.)

Elizabeth Honness. Her books were all "Mystery of" Mystery of the Secret Message, Mystery of the Maya Jade etc. Mostly published by Lippincott.

Phyllis Whitney wrote juveniles, including juvenile mysteries, as well as adult mystery/romances. She won the Edgar Allen Poe Award for juvenile mystery in 1961 for Mystery of the Haunted Pool and in 1964 for Mystery of the Hidden Hand. Whitney's juvenile mysteries were published by Westminster Press which sold almost exclusively to libraries, so finding first edition or even early edition of her mysteries that are not library discard is a major feat.

As I said, this is mostly an off the top of my head observation based on personal experience, not on market research. The flaw with working this way is that it tends to be a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy; these are some of the books I loved growing up, so I scout them as a dealer and find collectors who share the same interest.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Where the Wild Things Are Auction Price Realized

From the July 12th auction at the PBA Galleries, this copy of Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are had fetched $6900. (This is less than I thought, I know of copies that have reached the $10,000 range.)

The Little House Auction Price Realized

The July 12th auction at the PBA Galleries not only had a first in dust jacket of Curious George but also this beautiful first edition in dust jacket of Virgina Lee Burton's The Little House. The auction price realized was $9775.00. (I specialize in children's books and have been a full time dealer since 1994 and have never seen a first edition of this book.)

Friday, August 3, 2007

Oh, The Places You'll Go

There is a very active group of collectors for all Dr. Seuss material, both books and ephemera, but Oh, The Places You'll Go is the single title that I have the most requests for from the non-collectors market. The number of requests increases each spring with the school graduation season.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

even as x-libris

With a nod both to the legion of series collectors and my own childhood memories:

Robert Arthur's Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators and the Secret of Terror Castle. NY: Random House, 1964. Issued without a dust jacket. This is the first book written in The Three Investigator's juvenile mystery series.

(I loved this series as a kid and judging from the large number of fan sites I'm not the only one who remembers it fondly.)