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The BookThinker Newsletter


ISSN 1547-9501

#124, 30 June 2008

BookThink Update
7 July 2008>>>


Update Announcements

 


Selling on Alternate Venues
Selling on eCrater

eCrater is a very simple selling platform. Once you learn how things work in your administrative tools, the going will be easy, but there are little quirks about the site that you will have to get used to. Since there is no html coding involved in using eCrater, your time will not be spent creating much more than the ads themselves and uploading the image files of your books. Use what is provided for you and save your creative energy for promoting your store because you will definitely need it when the time comes. Read more here.


QMR Book of the Week
The Book of Tiki

Here's a familiar pattern: Something culturally hot from 1950s and 1960s now enjoys a sort of renaissance as collectors pay ridiculous prices for what was essentially written off as junk by the 1970s. Well, it pays for booksellers to keep up on this stuff - in this case the Tiki phenomenon, which has been as hot as molten lava in recent years. Read more here.




 


 

Gold Edition Quotation of the Week
Bible Mania

Question: when scouting, what book do you come across more than any other? Easy. The Bible. By far. It can pop up anywhere, especially at thrift shops, church sales and estate sales - in fact, even when there are no other books in sight, there's still a good chance you'll come across a Bible. Somewhere. But - how many booksellers actually sell them? Hard to say, but from what I've observed, it ain't many, despite the fact that it can be a consistently (and sometimes very) profitable niche. Read more here.

 

Gold Edition #51
How To Use Publishers'
Back Lists For Arbitrage
Part II: Case Study #2

In this issue Editor in Chief Craig Stark examines another publisher that provides numerous opportunities for arbitrage. Purchase now.

 

From the Editor
Important announcements for BookThinker readers.

Selling on Alternate Venues
Introduction

It seems that booksellers are forever waiting for the arrival of the next "eBay" - a venue that won't mess things up with changes every other day, punish us with high fees and absurd policies, and yet at the same time offer real opportunities. Despite the failures of eBay wannabes over the years, you have to believe that somehow, sometime, somewhere, somebody will come up with something that will work - or at least start to work, and once it starts to work, momentum will build. If this happens, the catalyst will be disenchantment, of course. Not just the garden variety grumbling that inevitably ensues when, say, fees are raised, but a widespread realization that a once productive venue has ceased to be viable and, just as importantly, comparable venues no longer present attractive alternatives. We may be close to this right now - in fact, the new eBay might already be in place, perhaps showing first signs of life. Read more here.

QMR Book of the Week
Encyclopedia of
Rocks, Minerals and Gemstones

Many years ago I stumbled upon an unadvertised estate sale that featured, among other things, a large jeweler's library. This was in pre-ScoutPal days, when you survived (or didn't) by your experience and/or instincts. Some books in this house, as you might suspect, had obvious value - a scholarly reference on black pearls, a study of Australian diamond mining, etc. - but others were more iffy. And just before I left, I noticed a stack of 30 or so thick burgundy binders in a closet. Read more here.

Gold Edition Quotation of the Week
Banking Big Money on Banned Books
Issue #9

This Gold Edition back issue has somewhat less than its usual helping of flashpoints because the focus is considerably more on bookselling principle - namely, what it is that makes banned, censored, suppressed or otherwise challenged books so desirable for collectors, so profitable for booksellers. In my opinion, if you have a good grasp of this principle, it can stand you in very good stead in the coming years and ultimately behave as one hugely expansive and profitable flashpoint.

Opportunities for Booksellers
in a Faltering Economy
Also Some Related Advice
on How to Save Money

Need a $50 sale today? List four or five Foxfire books. What's that? You have ten of them? How about $150 instead? All 13? We're getting close to a car payment now. There's a reason Foxfires are doing so well now. Many Americans are feeling the pinch, and these books are packed with survival skills and lots of do-it-yourself how-to, not to mention advice on simple living. This is knowledge that can save you money, perhaps make you money. The good news for booksellers is that these things pop up everywhere. I reserve a space on one of my shelves for them, and when I accumulate a run (which doesn't take long), up they go on eBay. Ka-ching.

 

 

Buying and Selling Ephemera
The Top Ten Reasons to Profit from Ephemera (in a Tough Economy)

First - the bad news. You can't pick up a newspaper or turn on a news show without being inundated by headlines of economic woes. The burst of the housing bubble has given way to the subprime mortgage meltdown and the worst credit crisis in America since the 1930s. Turmoil in the financial sector has affected all areas of our economy. A crisis of confidence has overshadowed freewheeling investors, who now operate in a climate of fear and apprehension. We consumers are left to cope with ever-rising gas prices and exorbitant grocery bills, while our homes are losing value and our credit sources are choked.

Scanning Solutions for Booksellers
The 3/4" Edge Scanner Ain't So Bad

Zero edge scanners, the type you can lay books partially open on and scan to the inside margins without damaging them, are either expensive or, in the case of the Plustek OptiBook 3600, not especially well made, let alone adequately supported by the manufacturer. If there's an industry standard, it seems to be the " edge scanner. They're typically cheap, more than satisfactory for most of our needs, and some of them have edges that are flush with the scanner bed. The latter is an important feature because it allows you to safely scan a surprisingly large number of books up to or beyond their inner margins.

 

Professor Booknoodle's Scrapbook
Vacuum Head

It was around seven-thirty of an evening and I was relaxing - enjoying a postprandial whiskey and, coincidentally, engrossed in a periodical of some repute, when I heard the door open below, and the sound of footsteps on the stairway leading to my study. I recognized the tread as that of my friend William Deckle, fellow bibliophile and collector dementia of books on dentistry. I knew this visit boded news of his latest acquisition.

Previous BookThink Update >>>>>>>

BookThink Update
23 June 2008>>>

Update Announcements

Selling on Amazon
Part II: Grading Your Books

Unless you sell on other venues, Amazon sellers need only concern themselves with the following definition of "new"- Just like it sounds. A brand-new, unused, unread copy in perfect condition. But suppose a book has been very carefully read, perhaps not even opened at any point to 180-degrees, and it still looks immaculate, crisp and, well, new.

How To Grade Book Bindings
Distinguishing New Books from Like New Books

Unless you sell on other venues, Amazon sellers need only concern themselves with the following definition of "new"- Just like it sounds. A brand-new, unused, unread copy in perfect condition. But suppose a book has been very carefully read, perhaps not even opened at any point to 180-degrees, and it still looks immaculate, crisp and, well, new.



 


BookThink's Top 10 on eBay
January 2008

Next, Pamela Palmer returns today with BookThink's Top 10 on eBay. Her introduction: "With 20% on the top fiction and nonfiction lists selling as BIN or best offer, seems this may well be a trend to watch with high end books. Otherwise, 2008 started as usual. A blend of King, Rowling, and Lee showed up in the fiction category. Sue Grafton and Cormac McCarthy added variety, along with an 1886 copy of Kidnapped. Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous led the non-fiction list. Others on the list included Kenojuak: Graphics Masterworks of the Inuit and a pair of 1839 books on early exploration of Australia. Atop the Antiquarian and Collectible category were two Mormon books from the mid-1800s along with 3 volumes from the 1400s. Two were offered by the same German seller

QMR Book of the Week
White Fluffy Clouds
Found Inspiration Moving Foward

So - how do you get your art, poetry, etc., noticed, let alone sold, if you're just a punk kid? Why, you form an alternative rock band, name it after a male demon who rapes sleeping women, crank out some music that achieves both commercial and critical success, get nominated for a Grammy, and otherwise become famous. Then - only at this point - your fans will at least give the other stuff you do a shot, whether it's good or not (and it's usually not). And this is exactly what we're seeing happen to White Fluffy Clouds, a collection of drawings, poetry and short fiction produced by Incubus front man Brandon Boyd.


 



 
Gold Edition Quotation of the Week
A Bookseller's Guide to Betty Crocker

Years ago I recall thinking that it might be possible to make a good part-time income selling nothing but Betty Crocker cookbooks. I'm sure this isn't possible now, given the increased competition and the price erosion of some BC publications, but even today, booksellers who don't know this niche cold are leaving thousands of dollars on the table year-in and year-out.

First Edition Guides: General

  • 20th Century First Edition Fiction: A Price and Identification Guide
    2008 Edition, Thomas Lee

    Buy it at BookThink

  • American First Editions, Merle Johnson, revised and enlarged by Jacob Blanck (Fourth Edition)
    Buy it at Abebooks or Amazon

  • Author Price Guides, Allen and Patricia Ahearn (4 vols.; also available for individual authors; also issued as complete set on CD; 174 authors to date. Note: Some issued in looseleaf binder so determine contents before buying.)
    Buy it at Amazon - vol. 1, 1990 or Amazon - vol. 2, 1998 or Abebooks

  • A Bibliographical Introduction to Seventy-Five Modern American Authors, Gary M. Lepper
    Buy it at Abebooks or Amazon

  • Bibliography of American Literature, Jacob Blanck (9 Volumes)
    Buy it at Abebooks or Amazon

  • Bibliotheca Americana: Dictionary of Books Relating to America From its Discovery to the Present Time, Joseph Sabin (29 Volumes or 2-Volume Microprint)
    Buy it at Abebooks or Amazon

  • The Book Collector's Handbook of Values, Van Allen Bradley (1982-1983 Edition)
    Buy it at Abebooks or Amazon

  • Collected Books, Allen and Patricia Ahearn
    Buy it at Abebooks or Amazon

  • First Editions: A Guide to Identification, Edward N. Zempel and Linda A. Verkler
    Buy it at Abebooks or Amazon

  • First Printings of American Authors, Matthew J. Bruccoli (5 Volumes)
    Buy it at Abebooks or Amazon

  • Guide to First Edition Prices 2008/9, R.B. Russell
    Buy it at Abebooks or Amazon

  • Modern British Authors, B.D. Cutler and Villa Stiles
    Buy it at Abebooks or Amazon

  • Modern First Editions: Points and Values, Gilbert H. Fabes and William A. Foyle (First, Second and Third Series)
    Buy it at Abebooks or Amazon

  • Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions, Bill McBride
    Buy it at Abebooks or Amazon

  • Points of Issue: A Compendium of Points of Issue of Books by 19th - 20th Century Authors, Bill McBride
    Buy it at Abebooks or Amazon

  • Wright Howes: The Final Edition (of U.S.iana)
    Buy it at Abebooks or Amazon

Other Books

  • The Performing Arts: A Guide to the Reference Literature
    Buy it at Amazon

  • My Name in Books : A Guide to Character Names in Children's Literature
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Make Mine a Mystery: A Reader's Guide to Mystery and Detective Fiction
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Introduction to Bibliography and Reference Work
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • International Bibliography of Discographies
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Index to Black American Writers in Collective Biographies
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Graphic Novels: A Bibliographic Guide to Book-Length Comics
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Literature: A Genre Guide
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Fine Arts: A Bibliographic Guide to Basic Reference Works, Histories, and Handbooks: Second Edition
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Fantasy Authors: A Research Guide
    Buy it at Abebooks

  • Encyclopedic directory of ethnic newspapers and periodicals in the United States
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Applied and Decorative Arts: A Bibliographic Guide to Basic Reference Works, Histories, and Handbooks
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • American Popular Culture: A Guide to the Reference Literature
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Read the High Country: Guide to Western Books and Films
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks b>

  • American Military History: A Guide to Reference and Information Sources
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Murder in Retrospect: A Selective Guide to Historical Mystery Fiction
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Children's Books About Religion
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • A Guide to Field Guides: Identifying the Natural History of North America
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Anatomy of Wonder: A Critical Guide to Science Fiction, Fifth Edition
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Children's Authors and Illustrators Too Good to Miss: Biographical Sketches and Bibliographies
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Christian Fiction: A Guide to the Genre
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • The Bookmark Book
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Fantasy Literature for Children and Young Adults: An Annotated Bibliography, Fourth Edition
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Reference Guide to Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • 100 Most Popular Picture Book Authors and Illustrators: Biographical Sketches and Bibliographies
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • The Newbery Companion: Booktalk and Related Materials for Newbery Medal and Honor Books
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Reader's Adviser : Vol.1 The Best Reference Works, British Literature & American Literature
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Children's Book Award Handbook
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • The Entrepreneur's Information Sourcebook: Charting the Path to Small Business Success
    Buy it at
    Amazon or Abebooks

  • 100 Most Popular African American Authors: Biographical Sketches and Bibliographies
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Graphic Novels: A Genre Guide to Comic Books, Manga, and More
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Quotation Index to Children's Literature
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Reference and Research Guide to Mystery and Detective Fiction Second Edition
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

  • Fluent in Fantasy: A Guide to Reading Interests
    Buy it at Amazon or Abebooks

Above is a sample of the Editor's Hot Picks.
Click here to see all of them.

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