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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Full Circle

I started selling books by catalog in 1993 and joyfully migrated to Internet sales in 1996. In the early days of bookselling on the internet, I sold books through Interloc, Abebooks and Bibliofind. I even sold books to Amazon when their out of print department consisted of someone calling on the phone and asking if a book was available and then sending you the payment, PRIOR to shipping the book.

Flash forward to present: Interloc is now Alibris, Bibliofind was bought by Amazon, neglected to death and then shut down, and in this year alone, Abebooks bought Chrislands (which hosts my bookstore site) and less than 2 months later, ABE itself was bought by Amazon.

And me? I will be publishing my first print catalog since 1995, which will hopefully be mailed out in January 2009.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

2008 Edgar Award Winners- Juvenile and Young Adult

In the category of better late than never, (the awards were announced on May 1st) these are the books which won the Edgar Allen Poe Award for best Juvenile and Young Adult Mystery Novel for 2008.

The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh published by Hyperion.

Ratt Life by Tedd Arnold, published by Dial Books.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Market Research and Buying New Stock

The in-print portion of an out of print and collectible book business is the speculative portion. If you can discover the new Harry Potter before everyone else, guess correctly on the next Caledecott or Newbery winner, or develop a mad passion for a new author well before the public discovers them-there is the potential to realize a large profit. Even though you are making a guess, the trick is to make it an educated guess, or you will be paying at or near full retail for stock which may never sell for retail again.

Routinely peruse Publisher's Weekly magazine and see what books are going to be published, (or as is the case with many children's titles, re-published). You can get a good feeling not only for trends but also how much marketing money/buzz a publisher is putting into a title or an author.

Also, for children's books, The Horn Book Review is a great way to identify interesting titles or upcoming authors and illustrators. A dealer specializing in in-print titles, no matter what the genre, should be studying both these publications as well as individual publisher's catalogs. Even for an out of print dealer, these magazines can help you determine which titles are generating buzz, and also ones are going to have a large initial print run and therefore would be wiser, to wait a bit and not pay full retail price.

Catalogs are great, but display is better, so I try to get to the in-print bookstores, chain and independent, at least 2 to 3 times a month. I'm also lucky enough to live close to a remainder warehouse, which I try to visit at least once a month, so I can also see which titles are on the way out of print. In some cases I'm able to purchase books I'm interested in, at a decent price, BEFORE they are attacked by the dreaded black marker.

To be totally honest, some of these recommendations are things that I SHOULD routinely be doing and don't; in part because I don't have the manpower, time, organization, or discipline.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Series Books

Collectors of series books, bless their hearts, are a passionate and dedicated group. Anytime that I get a good series title in and list it in my inventory I can count on calls from collectors not just for the title listed, but for other titles in the series that I might have stashed away or may find in the future.

The problem is that I have over 13,000 children's books online, at any given time maybe 10 of them are series titles. I've found that serious collectors of series books are not usually interested in collecting other genres, and to specialize in series books as a dealer takes a major commitment in time, reference material, and most importantly space.

I never mind getting a call from collectors wanting to talk books, I always come away learning something, like the last book of most series is the most valuable etc. Kind of like the market research coming to me. But it does get frustrated at times to get calls that can't turn into sales.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Little Mental Health Break

Well I just got back from a 3 day mini-break, I did not go far but spent the 3 days reading, sleeping and NOT WATCHING THE NEWS!

Now rested and ready for (hopefully) the start of the holiday season.

Which brings me to my point; it is very easy with a home based business to always be at work and working, that way can lead to burnout ...however you choose to do it you need to find a way to take some time off.

Auction Price Realized- A WRINKLE IN TIME

A bit of old news now, but the following very hard to find Newbery was auctioned by PBA galleries in San Francisco in Aug and fetched a most respectable $10,800.

"First Edition of of the 1963 Newberry Medal winner, the 1965 Sequoyah Book Award, and the 1965 Lewis Carroll Shelf Award. The first in the author's series of novels for children of the Murry and O'Keefe families. Extremely rare in the first edition, According to ABPC no copies have appeared at auction in more than 15 years.
Very minor wear to jacket, primarily at spine ends, light browning to jacket edges and folds, small stain at foot of rear jacket panel; light wear to cloth at spine ends, faint stain on rear board corresponding with stain on jacket; small spot of foxing on front free endpaper; overall near fine in a like jacket."

Unconfirmed rumor sez that an bookseller had the winning bid....all I know is that it was not me :-(