From the Editor

by Craig Stark

#1, 1 September 2003

Welcome to BookThink and the BookThinker newsletter! For those who started with us at the Bookologist, welcome back. For those who didn't, welcome to what we hope will be a new and immensely useful resource for you, whether you're a bookseller, book collector or simply a devoted reader.

First, some history. My name is Craig Stark. I read books. I sell books. I collect books. I've been doing (and writing about) all three things long enough to be called, I think, a veteran, and I plan on continuing to do so until I can be called a grizzled veteran. Prior to launching BookThink, I was founding editor of the Bookologist, a website/newsletter devoted to online bookselling. Prior to that, I contributed numerous articles about books and bookselling at AuctionBytes. If you're familiar with any of the above work, you already know that I take things seriously. My intention is to provide the most useful information I can, totally disregarding whatever consequences might follow from divulging so-called "secrets." By the way, it's this very information that we had in mind when we coined the expression "Gold Standard Resources."

BookThink will take up where the Bookologist left off, but we'll go deeper and, ultimately, much further, examining not only bookselling but book collecting and book-related topics as well. Our purpose will be to provide extensive, authoritative resources on all matters related to books, much of it not available anywhere else online. Some of these resources will be put in place as fixed website content. Others will migrate from our newsletter, the BookThinker, to the website. For those who prefer not to subscribe to the newsletter, current and back issues will also be available online.

As much as we wish it could be so, nothing will happen overnight. However, additions to the site will be made continuously. In a few months we should have a solid foundation; a year or more down the road, and we think you'll be looking at an imposing structure.

The following is a list of features and services we either have up and running now or are scheduled to be added in the immediate future:

  • Newsletter. The BookThinker will be published the first and third weeks of each month. Subscriptions are free.

  • Book Forum. An active, moderated forum for those interested in discussing bookselling, book collecting and other book-related matters.

  • Links library. Not a few dozen links tossed haphazardly on a page but 100's of book-related links arranged in intuitive categories. Each link will be fully annotated with descriptions and, now and again, evaluations to head off clicking into the dark unknown. Every effort will be made to include only pertinent and active links.

  • Book reviews. Only one criteria will apply here: we'll review the best books we can find, whether they're in print or not. We won't waste your time reviewing books that we can't ultimately recommend to you. For the most part we'll focus on books about books. Price guides, identification guides, collector's guides, bibliographies, etc. - the books that will make you a better bookseller, collector or reader.

  • Bookshelf. A place to buy the best and brightest books about books. Only those books that have been actually examined and determined to be useful to our readers will be included here, along with short reviews and links for purchasing. (Please keep us in mind when purchasing books that appear here. If you click a link at this site and make a purchase on the linked site, we're given a small compensation, which helps us with site operating costs. If you leave the site and purchase the same book, we're out of the loop. Either way, you'll pay the same amount.)

  • 1st edition identification. First edition designations for 1,000's of different publishers. When finished, this will be the most complete resource for identifying first editions anywhere, in print or online. A parallel resource for identifying issue points within first editions will follow.

  • Glossary. Not simply a text glossary of common definitions but what the Germans might refer to as a "duden" - a pictorial encyclopedia. Terms, that is, will be discussed in detail and, where applicable, illustrated with clear images.

  • Book repair. A storehouse of book repair techniques, not the kind that require sophisticated tools and/or techniques but simple repairs that will either extend the useful life of a book, decrease the likelihood of further damage to it, or in some cases even restore it to a former state.

Additional features being considered seriously are:

  • Book news updates

  • Live online seminars

  • Regular columns written by genre collectors

  • Bookseller makeovers

  • Book research and appraisal service

  • Bookseller consultation

  • Your brilliant ideas!

Today's issue of the BookThinker presents a shop-tested method for repairing bumped corners on books. This tutorial will be the first of many to follow, and, as with all repairs we've discussed in the past, we'll focus on simple techniques and the use of readily available tools and supplies. Once a sufficient number of tutorials have been produced, we'll archive them on BookThink's BookRepair page.

Also today: Richard Russell's new book, Antique Trader Book Collector's Price Guide, is reviewed in detail. Again, this review will be the first of many to follow. As stated above, we won't review books we can't ultimately recommend to you, and in individual reviews we'll go into enough detail to show you exactly why we think you should read or even buy a given book. Reviews will not necessarily be confined to new books. Out of print books of special importance to booksellers and collectors will be reviewed as well, and we'll make every effort to facilitate both locating them and purchasing them at the lowest possible price.

Ok, enough talking about talking. Let's talk!

Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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