8 Educational Programs for Booksellers - The Accidental Antiquarian (Page 1 of 2)









by Chris Lowenstein

#153, 14 February 2011

Accidental Antiquarian Series

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I didn't discover antiquarian bookselling or consider it a viable career option until I was well into my 30s. Had I known the world of antiquarian books even existed prior to then, I would have found a way to major in it in college.

Fortunately for me and for those of you who want to learn more about antiquarian books and bookselling, there are several educational programs available which can improve your level of expertise.

If you're new to bookselling, the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, held at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, CO is a week-long course that gives an overview of the bookselling trade. Founded 30 years ago by Jake Chernofsky (editor of the now-defunct periodical AB Bookman's Weekly), the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar aims to provide education for those interested in entering the used/OP/academic/rare book trades. According to its website "more than 2,100 students have graduated from the Seminar, many of whom have gone on to become prominent members of the bookselling community."

Do you finding yourself pondering questions such as these:

Should you open a shop or sell on the internet? Both? What internet sources should you use to sell your books? Are images of your books necessary if you sell on the internet? Are print catalogues worthwhile, and if so, how do you go about developing a mailing list? How do you sign up to sell books at a book fair? How do you know which book fairs are right for the kind of books you sell? What kind of computer program is best for keeping track of inventory? What kind of agreement is necessary for accepting books on consignment? How do you appraise books? How do you find out which reference books are the most appropriate for the type of book you sell? How do you develop a network of booksellers who are willing to share information when you need it?

The Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar will assist you in finding the answers you seek. The faculty is made up of an impressive range of book people, including booksellers with open shops, those who sell books online, a Librarian of Congress, a book conservator, and several members of the Antiquarian Bookselling Association of America. The faculty represents a spectrum of all types of bookseller and make it possible for new booksellers to learn about the options available in the trade and make it possible for you to determine where you'd like your own business to fit in that spectrum.

In the spring of 2007, only a few months after I had established Book Hunter's Holiday, my mentor encouraged me to try to attend the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar. He'd taken it himself several years earlier and highly recommended it because of the diverse amount of topics covered by the faculty: buying books, selling books (both brick and mortar and online), pricing books, auctions, how to judge condition, the traditional terminology for bibliographic description, technology for bookselling, marketing one's business, taxes and accounting, appraisals, and book conservation.

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Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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