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    Adventures of a rare book dealer (and former small bookshop owner).

Catalog Reactions…

Written on May 16, 2007

Note that this blog has moved. The new URL is biblioblography.briancassidy.net. Please update your bookmarks.

It’s been nice over the last few days getting feedback on the catalog. Lots if dealers have called or emailed to offer congrats on my first effort. Many have commented how many fewer booksellers are putting out catalogs of late (more on this soon). Some nice orders…Less than a week into the effort and I’m pleased with the results. Which means now there will certainly be a catalog #2.

The most interesting reactions, however, have been from family and friends. Although all of them know what I do, I also know that the image many have in their head is very different than the reality. People hear I sell on the internet and think eBay. Folks find out I have a shop and romantic images of relaxed and charming afternoons at the shop reading my favorite book and chatting with customers float through their heads. For them the catalog was the first inkling of what it is I actually do. Or to put it another way: It was the first time they realized that what I do is not something that just anyone can do, that there’s actually some specialized skill and knowledge one must bring to the game. Or to put it yet another way: I think to many of my friends and family the catalog was the first time it looked to them like a had a real job.

I was also surprised at how confused some were by the catalog. I forgot what rare book catalogs must look like to an outsider — all the jargon (Yap? Else fine? Goldstone and Payne? Who the hell are they?), the sometimes eye-popping prices, the authors and writers most people have never heard of…One friend had to actually explain the entire concept of the catalog to his wife who just kept repeating, “But I don’t understand…” My mother couldn’t find the prices.

In other news, been busy getting ready for this weekend’s Gold Rush Book Fair. I’ll be taking photos and posting a report early next week. Hope to see some of you there. In addition to much of the material from the catalog, I’ll be bringing along quite a miscellany (most of it which hasn’t yet been seen publicly): a signed Norman Rockwell; a small selection of uncommon nautical titles I recently acquired; some interesting Californiana and Western Americana; a group of handsome antiquarian titles; as well as a handful of unusual juveniles and picture books. All in addition to the usual selection of modern and contemporary poetry, literature, and small magazines. Stop by and say hello.

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  1. Comment by Megan:

    I’ve got an e-mail in my drafts to you, but wanted to tell you how much fun I’ve had reading through the catalog. It was THE topic of conversation at Mother’s Day dinner, I can tell you that :) Congratulations!

    May 17, 2007 @ 3:46 pm
  2. Comment by sarahsbooks:

    Brian, after being out sick for several days I came back to the shop to find your catalog in my mailbox. Simply terrific stuff – a great premier offering – congratulations!

    I thought of you last week when I visited The Grolier Poetry Book Shop in Cambridge – it’s been in the same location since the days when Frank O’Hara would stop in to look at books and go to readings. It’s tiny and crammed floor to ceiling with poetry, all poetry, only poetry.

    May 17, 2007 @ 4:08 pm