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Today we're off to George W. Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate in the mountains of North Carolina. Why? Well, there's a library there, and if you haven't seen it, perhaps we can inspire you to visit. It's inconceivable to me that anybody with an affection for books wouldn't be deeply moved by the experience. Interestingly, information about the library wasn't what I'd call easy to come by, but persistence paid off, and this, ahem, substantial newsletter is the result.
We'll make a number of stops along the way, first meeting with Special Collections Manager Suzanne Durham. Suzanne has been cataloging the Library collection since 2003 and is certainly the most informed person on its present contents.
Next up is Biltmore aficionado Todd Walker. Todd has held a Biltmore season pass since 1991 and, having met with difficulties over the years obtaining information about the Estate, set out on his own to collect/discover whatever he could - and of course continued to question staff members on his visits! To date, he's amassed over 1,000 documents and 100s of photographs, some of which he's generously shared with us. Last year, to enhance information gathering, he formed a Yahoo Group on the topic - Biltmore Estate - and you'll find a wealth of additional information there.
Happily, Todd has also contributed an article for BookThink - a brief history of the library.
On our third stop, BookThink's Pamela Palmer will take us on a tour of the grounds - and don't for a moment think that this has nothing to do with books. Does the name Frederick Law Olmsted mean anything to you? Legendary landscape architect Olmsted designed the Biltmore grounds, also New York City's Central Park, and wrote numerous travel books. [EDITOR'S NOTE: "Olmsted" most certainly is a flashpoint. Look both for books by and about him.] Pam's tour, complete with photographs, will give you a profound appreciation for his work and illustrate why vintage landscape architecture books are such a hot bookselling niche. (A partial bibliography of garden related books in the Biltmore Library collection appears at the end of this newsletter.) Finally, for those interested in Biltmore personalities, Pam has also compiled a cast of characters with photographs and brief biographies.
A few miscellaneous notes. You may have noticed that the BookThink forum has a new look this week.
In an effort to keep things more or less organized - that is, easier to find - we've split the main forum into seven topical forums. Included are Announcements, General Discussion, New Booksellers, First Edition Identification, Flashpoints, Classifieds and BookHunt Technical Support. I'd especially like to encourage those new to bookselling to take advantage of the New Booksellers forum. BookThink is nearly unique in providing a safe environment for asking even the most basic questions about books and bookselling, and our members are generous to a fault in helping out. I'd also like to encourage all booksellers who have contributed 10 or more notes to the forum to take advantage of the free Classifieds forum. Promote your businesses, websites, etc., sell books and so on here, but please keep the focus on books. Unrelated ads will be removed. Finally, some time in the next week or so, BookThink will introduce BookHunt - a new book search tool designed specifically for locating inventory online. BookHunt is lightning fast, simple to use, runs unobtrusively in the background, and alerts you when new results are returned from as many as 10 different custom searches. If you're having trouble finding inventory in your area and your business is suffering, this might turn things around for you. There will also be an opportunity to purchase our four-part Gold Edition series on buying inventory online at a substantial discount.
Your feedback on the new format is most welcome. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some news this week from Biblio:
ASHEVILLE, NC - July 5th, 2006 - Biblio.com, one of the world's largest marketplaces for used, rare, and out-of-print books, and Biblion Ltd., the foremost British based dealer marketplace announced the re-launch of the Biblion properties, www.biblion.com and www.biblion.co.uk today.
Work on the new releases of the sites has been ongoing and has been a Beta test phase for several weeks.
Biblio.com will manage the sites, while Biblion Ltd. staff will maintain marketing and PR relations in the UK and Europe. The two companies agreed to work together in early April.
"One of the primary reasons we chose to work with Biblio.com is that they ensured us they could place Biblion into the marketplace quickly, and they have a proven track record for stability and innovation in online bookselling. They have stayed on schedule, and far exceeded our expectations in preparing the sites for re-release," said Leo Harrison, the founder of Biblion.
Biblio.com provides the technology for two other clients in the online bookselling world, www.iobabooks.com, and www.biblioz.com. Technology has always been the strong suit of Biblio.com and the company intends to expand in this area.
Biblio.com has already signed more than 200 sellers up to list their books on the new site, operating primarily under www.biblion.co.uk. More than 300,000 books are available for purchase currently on the site.
The biblion.com website was conceived as an extension of the shop of the same name in London's Mayfair. Initially the website was conceived for the use of UK dealers only, but so many requests were made by overseas dealers, that the decision to 'go international' was made. With over 500 dealers and 3 million books at the last count, the biblion.com site has long been a stalwart of the online rare bookselling community and is pressing forward with new developments to help it offer the same great service to more book hunters and sellers in the 21st century.
Biblio.com Inc. is now one of the leading sources for used, rare, out-of-print, and hard-to-find books in the world. In the recent past Biblio.com has provided e-commerce solutions for the Independent Online Booksellers Association, as well as BiblioQuest International in Australia. Substantial growth in the last two years has allowed Biblio.com to go from a fledgling company to becoming the third largest site of its kind in the world. Biblio.com currently offers 38 million titles from 5000 independent booksellers in 36 countries through its online community of websites.
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