From The Editor

by Craig Stark

#110, 17 December 2007

The internet has changed the face of bookselling in so many ways, some obvious, some not. It's painfully obvious, for example, that the sheer volume of books potential buyers have ready access to purchasing now is far greater than it was in pre-internet times. But it's important to understand what this volume consists of - and perhaps this isn't so obvious. Yes, the variety of titles offered is much greater now, but, among given titles, so usually is condition variety. Whereas once booksellers culled books that were uncollectible because of condition issues, usually accepting nothing lower than Very Good; today most anything goes, and even books that look like they've served multiple tours of duty in Iraq are blithely tossed out there with a prayer as well.

One could argue that this is fine and dandy; in cases of highly collectible titles in particular, this at least enables a collector to acquire a reading copy or shelf-filler until a better copy can be obtained. The problem is that many booksellers fail to adequately describe serious condition issues, and collectors are often disappointed with their acquisitions. This hurts us all because it casts a shadow over internet book shopping in general. If we truly care about the profession, it also obligates us to at least attempt to clean up the mess, and to help fight this battle, Thomas Lee is back today to continue his discussion on book grading.

Which brings me to today's first reminder: Tom's excellent resource on book grading and first edition points - 20th Century First Edition Fiction: A Price and Identification Guide - is available at a special discount for BookThinkers. Buy it here:

Jill Hendrix is here as well to continue her comprehensive series on how to start a clicks-and-brick used bookstore. Last time she discussed an important step in the process (registering your business) that probably isn't too high on the fun scale for most of us, but today it should be significantly more entertaining - creating your business logo. Even if you're strictly an online bookseller, this can be a vital step in growing your business.

Which brings me to a final reminder: All BookThink e-publications are 25% off until December 31. This includes both subscriptions and back issues. If your subscriptions are current, you may still take advantage of this sale by advancing them forward another year. It all happens here.

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