By Craig Stark
Years ago, the eBay bookseller's forum, aka the BSB, was a fount of useful bookselling knowledge. One of its more prominent contributors often posted what I guess you could call bookselling aphorisms - concisely worded, generally applicable truths about bookselling. One such aphorism, re-posted recently by a surviving BSB member on the "new and improved" (NOT) eBay forum, was the following: "Most new bookdealers burn out within three years ... " I've seen more than a few of them burn out myself over the last, now almost twenty years, but still, some don't. Coincidentally, for those who don't it seems to take a similar period of three or four years for them to actually get it, as in, "Ohhh, now I see what I need to do to make this bookselling thing work."
What I've attempted to do at BookThink is shorten this apprenticeship period for booksellers new to the trade, but what complicates this some is that there exist at least a few of them who don't seem to get it after years in the business and yet make a sort of go of it anyway, hanging on by way of adapting to changes in the marketplace. It reminds me of so many spiritual seekers who "do the work" on this or that spiritual path for decades and decades and somehow never come to a place where it's seen that enlightenment has nothing to do with a path to anywhere - in fact, all paths lead elsewhere. All. And getting off the path, ultimately, is what has to happen. In a sense, there are different paths to success in bookselling as well, and yet, I remain adamant in that there are at least a few universal truths that all successful booksellers who get it must see - and will only see off whatever path they're on. Those who don't, burn out. Or at best struggle. Today's feature article provides another case study to illustrate this, but there's a twist - and the outcome is yet undetermined.
Chapter 18 of BookThink's Guide to Online Bookselling has been delivered to subscribers. See details below.
BookThink's popular Kitchen Sink package remains available at its regular price of $179.99. The package includes every BookThink product - subscriptions to BookThink's Guide to Online Bookselling and BookThink's Author Reports (including the Grosset & Dunlap reports) along with all complete report packages - all Gold Editions, all 50/50's and all Quarterly Market Reports - and ny revisions/updates to these reports as they are completed. The subscriptions include all current chapters and reports and additional chapters and reports as they are issued. This is a ton of bookselling content that, if applied, will pay for itself quickly and generate income for years to come. Click here to purchase it, and everything will be emailed to you as attachments within 24 hours.
A special report on Time Magazine is now available. This includes relevant history, a detailed marketing analysis with illustrated examples and over 100 issues with verified outcomes of $100 or more - all with cover images. 45 pages in PDF format. Purchase it here for $19.99. And see our other special reports here.
Part II of BookThink's Bookseller's Guide to Grosset & Dunlap has been completed and sent to subscribers. If you didn't receive your copy, please check your spam folder first. If it's not there, email me at email@example.com and I'll get it to you ASAP. This is a compilation of 299 pages of G&D First Editions, almost all of which are accompanied by large thumbnail images of dust jacket cover art. Who knew there were so many? A majority of titles - no surprise - are boys and girls series books, but there is no shortage of additional titles, including dozens of jazz age and depression era romance publications, surprisingly collectible, by the way. I included three examples in the last newsletter. Here are three more:
Titles are organized by year, and, when applicable, accompanied by series names and volume numbers. This, along with the dating tool kit provided in Part I, will enable users to both identify and in most cases date not only First Editions but also distinguish them from reprints - and in some cases assist in dating reprints. Dating G&D's has been an area of concern for booksellers for decades, and the approach for most has been to report the copyright date (because it was all that was available) and either leave it at that, do nothing or guess at a date window. Happily, in most cases, this will no longer be necessary.
Due to the length of Part II, it was necessary to split it into two parts, and Part III - soon to come - will consist of a comparable compilation of all known G&D photoplay editions, title lists of other collectible G&D reprint series and a detailed marketing analysis of G&D reprint high spots, and there are many.
Part I is available for purchase here at $19.99.
Part II is available for purchase here at $19.99.
Part III, when issued, will also be available for purchase at $19.99, but save yourself a few bucks and subscribe to BookThink's Booksellers Author and Publisher Reports for $49.99 and receive not only these three reports but also an additional nine reports, seven of which have already been published. Get it done here today.
For those of you who missed it, an abridged preview of Part I was published in the free BookThinker a few months ago here.
Note to subscribers: Chapter 18 of BookThink's Guide to Online Bookselling has been delivered. If you didn't receive your copy, please check your spam folder first. If it's not there, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send it to you ASAP. For those of you not familiar with the guide, a list of completed chapters may give you a better sense of what's going on:
1. Essential Book History for Booksellers
2. How Books Are Made
3. Why Bookselling?
4. How to Make Money Selling Books While You're Learning How to Sell Books: First Things First
5. How to Make Money Selling Books While You're Learning How to Sell Books: Closing the Gap on Your Competition
6. Trust: The Sine Qua Non of Bookselling
7. Getting Down to Business: Why Your ASP Will Make You or Break You
8. How to Identify First Editions: Books That Aren't, Part I
9. How to Identify First Editions: Books That Aren't, Part II
10. How to Identify First Editions: Books That Are, Part III
11. How to Identify First Editions: Books That Are, Part IV (The Essential Reference Library)
12. How to Buy Inventory: Part I, Building Hot Lists
13. How to Buy Inventory: Part II, Building Flashpoint Lists
14. How to Buy Inventory: Part III, An Introduction to Sourcing Inventory
15. How to Buy Inventory: Part IV, An eBay Buying Tutorial
16. Presenting Books for Sale: Part I, An Introduction to Modern Book Description
17. Presenting Books for Sale: Part II, Book Photography
18. Presenting Books for Sale: Part III, Condition Descriptions and Grading
Purchase a subscription here.
BookThink's popular First Edition Library Checklist has been reformatted to PDF and now includes thumbnail photos of cover art for all FEL titles. The FEL, for those not familiar with it, is a series of extraordinarily faithful first edition facsimiles of over 100 notable publications, most of them issued with protective slipcases. Many are now out of print and all are enthusiastically collected. As booksellers, it pays for you to know of them and about them. Our checklist package includes a checklist of all 111 FEL titles, thumbnail images of cover art, indications of most and least valuable titles, indications of rarest and most common titles, detailed issue points (where applicable), explanatory notes, and the full text of Stan Shelley's superb, illustrated primer on the First Edition Library.
If you have purchased the earlier version (which was available in DOC and TXT formats), you can upgrade to the new version for $5. The price for first time buyers is $14.99. Either option can be exercised by clicking here.
Also, BookThink's complete Gold Edition is now available in PDF format. All 59 Gold Editions have been recently updated (and in some cases expanded) and combined into a PDF format e-book. A table of contents presents clickable report titles, and the entire document is searchable by keywords. The PDF format ensures 100% compatibility with all computers, tablets and smartphones, and it's easier than ever to take the Gold Edition with you on scouting trips. Purchase it here for $59.99.
Click here to see several sample pages. (And yes, we're working on converting and updating 50/50 and QMR as well.)
Important: If you have previously purchased a complete Gold Edition package, this e-book is available to you at no charge. Email me at email@example.com for your copy. Also, if you have purchased any Gold Edition issues either singly or in groups at any time, we will subtract those purchases from the price of the e-book. Again, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will research your purchases and forward a discounted invoice reflecting them.
Some changes to BookThink's forum. It has been remodeled to conform to BookThink's color scheme: Please
note that guest access has been disabled - that is, non-registered users are no longer able to read posts or reply to them. You must be registered and logged in.
Also, registration is now a two-step process that requires approval on this end. In most cases this will happen quickly; if not, please follow up with an email to me
at email@example.com. I'm usually loath to make anybody jump through hoops to do anything associated with BookThink, but what this does is effectively shut
down the dozens of bogus bot registrations and subsequent spamming we had been getting daily.