Like hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other booksellers, I work out of my home, toiling in relative obscurity. While it's nice to work from home - I can work around my kids' schedules and other family demands - it can sometimes feel as if I'm working in a vacuum. I don't get to meet my customers and find out more about their book interests. I don't often get the opportunity to develop relationships with other booksellers, something that is crucial for success in the antiquarian book trade. Rent is too high where I live and my bookselling hours too erratic to consider opening a viable antiquarian bookshop where I could deal with customers directly. I often think about how to make my internet store-front and my name stand out among the many others out there.
To differentiate my business from other online sellers and to maximize the potential for sales, I decided early on in my business to issue print catalogues and to exhibit at book fairs. See the following articles on this topic:
Bookseller Catalogues: Why They are Important: Part I
Bookseller Catalogues: Why They are Important: Part II
I've exhibited at five California fairs in the past twelve months, and in addition to selling more books I've also developed some repeat customers and some contacts in the antiquarian book trade. It's the next best thing to having an open shop.