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

Archive for 'The Book Biz'


ILAB has posted to YouTube bibliomania, the:
ABAA-produced documentary filmed entirely on location at the San Francisco Book Fair. Filled with interviews given by both booksellers and attendees, it gives a revealing look at the reason to collect antiquarian books.

Also: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 (mislabeled “Part 6″), and (the actual) Part 6.

“Yeah, what he said…”

[T]he interesting catalogue sits somewhere in the intersection of curious material pointed up by obvious learning and a certain restrained enthusiasm. (Is an interesting title in a catalogue still interesting if you are not shown why it is of interest?) A brief explanation of the merits of a late 18th c. chapbook edition of Tom [...]

Bookseller as Economic Barometer

Yesterday I had three people come into the store with books to sell and three others calling about bringing their books in later in the week. Normally I get 2 or 3 inquiries like this a month. I suspect as the economy gets worse, more and more will be coming out of the [...]

Mister Bookseller

Nice short comic [click image above for complete strip] from Eastern Europe about a bookseller who has every book in the world “except one.”

Another reason I love my wife…

“Did you read the new catalog**?”
“Yeah, looks really good.”
“Just one question though.”
“Who’s James Fenimore COPPER?”
“Oh crap.”
“Better call the printer.”
“And while you’re on the phone with him, you might want to ask him if he’s heard of an artist called NORMAL Rockwell, cause I know I sure haven’t.”
“Oh, and I’ve NEVER seen a letter written on [...]

He’s one crazed book-loving monkey alright

The results of my six-year-old daughter playing with my label maker when I brought her to the shop Saturday.

Bookselling Blogs

Bibliopolis, who make Bookhound (the database program I use), has put together a fantastic aggregator of bookselling blogs. Great layout, slick design. Hmmm…Don’t see me on there though….

Happy Birthday to Me

It dawned on me yesterday, now that the holidays have calmed down, that Thanksgiving marked the one year anniversary of my taking over the shop. It’s my one-year birthday as an open shop. In honor of this momentous occasion, I offer:
18 THINGS I’VE LEARNED THIS YEAR (Or: 2007, A Bookseller’s Year in Review)
1) I [...]

What I got for Christmas…

My wife commissioned my brother-in-law to make this sign for my shop window. I won’t even tell you what I had there before. But needless to say, this is a vast improvement and exactly what I would have gotten had taken the trouble to do so myself. Thanks, sweetie.
I know I’ve been [...]

This past Weds., I had a near-perfect day as a bookseller:

1] Began with a nice sale to a fellow book-dealer (book-talk, book-talk, book-talk) who visited the shop and then…
2] …An even nicer sale to a civilian so…
3] …Promptly spent a good portion of these sales on several fantastic (and much-needed) reference books…
4] …Purchased from another bookstore across town (more book-talk, book-talk, book-talk), followed by…
5] [...]

Sacramento Wrap-Up

Although this is the first time I have exhibited at Sacramento, by all accounts from other dealers, this was the best fair in years. Crowds were strong (and I do mean crowds – many times throughout the day I had to step out of the booth to make room for browsers) and people were [...]

Sacramento Book Fair

Yesterday I spent the day in the shop pulling material and boxing it up for the Sacramento Book Fair. I got together about eight file/banker boxes to far, slightly less than half of what I plan to bring. Personally, I find the decision of what to pack for a show very stressful. [...]

GTD-ing A Used Bookstore

For some time I’ve been utilizing (or trying to, anyway) Dave Allen’s noted Getting Things Done system of personal organization and time management. (For those not familiar with “GTD”, this provides a decent overview). I’ve been using the system to manage my paper-flow and email, to-do lists and the like.
One problem with the [...]


Apologies for how quiet it’s been on the blog. After vacation, lots of work piled up at the shop. And once I that was under control, it was time to get to get ready for my trip to Minneapolis where I presented a paper at the annual conference of The Society for the [...]

24 Hours in the Life of a Used Book

I always have mixed feelings when a book I care about is chosen by Oprah for her book club (The Corrections, House of Sand and Fog, Night, East of Eden, Light in August…). On the one hand, I like that good books get read and that reading as a pastime is endorsed on [...]

Catalog Reactions Part II

Some nice online press have been posted in the last couple of days. Americana Exchange notes “those who collect the ‘beat’ generation and its contemporaries in particular will be pleased with this catalogue” (more here). Meanwhile colleague Garrett Scott on his blog says “The catalog includes a well-researched batch of material [...] For [...]

Gold Rush Book Fair Redux

Following up on my report on the fair, the Americana Exchange has their own piece on Gold Rush in their latest issue, including a ten-minute video (!?) (high res and low res).
That’s my booth at the very end, but you’ll probably have to just take my word for it.

The Gold Rush Book Fair Report

The Gold Rush Book Fair, while not especially lucrative, was eminently enjoyable. The crowds were steady, helped by a front-page article in the local paper. And though sales were less than hoped (which seemed the general consensus among the dealers I spoke to) , they were enough that between them, the new clients [...]

To Catch a Book Thief

The most costly aspect of dealing with a book thief is not so much the value of what is stolen (although this can be considerable), but rather the time it takes to deal with once discovered.
For a couple of weeks I’ve noticed that several books seemed to have gone missing from the shop. [...]

Catalog Reactions…

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 [...]

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