Update Announcements

by Craig Stark

1 April 2013

First, apologies for the space between newsletters. 2013 has been good to me so far. I've had three of my best months ever as a bookseller, and this gobbled up some serious time - not only because there were more orders to process but also because my bookselling strategy has long been thus: I list more books than I sell so that my inventory gradually increases over time, and the books I do list must on average contribute to an ever increasing ASP (average sales price). This strategy has stood me in good stead over the years because it has guaranteed growth, and of course I recommend it highly (and have explained/recommended it in reports and past newsletters often) to aspiring booksellers or those whose businesses have flattened out or declined. Funny, however, I see few booksellers taking this approach - for that matter, many of the non-book dealers I know locally don't take it either. They just keep doing the same thing they have always done, and guess what happens?

If there's one aspect of bookselling that's been given a back seat at BookThink, it's marketing. Promoting your business, that is. This is not, frankly, one of my strengths. As salesmen go, I'm essentially the quiet guy who lets his books sell themselves, so this involves little more than presenting them for sale on multiple venues and waiting for sales to happen. However, I'm keenly aware that those who do have a nose for promotion can enhance their presences and profit from it.

Which brings me to Beth Saunders. Some of you many know her by way of her blog, Travels with Books - just one example of her promotional efforts. Beth does have a nose for marketing and in today's newsletter she makes a strong case for promoting your business with an email list.

Also today, my review of the Sakura SE200 Electric Eraser. And you thought Monday's were dull!

Chapter 12 of BookThink's Guide to Online Bookselling has been delivered to subscribers. This is a comprehensive, in-progress bookselling how-to available by subscription here. It's approximately half completed, and new subscribers will receive current and all remaining chapters as they are issued.

Chapter 12, by the way, is the first in a series of chapters on how to buy inventory, and it presents an inductive, statistical method for identifying authors and titles that currently generate the most interest in the marketplace, present the most opportunities for us in the field, and provide the highest returns. Can't ask for much more than that, and believe me, this is a method anybody can master.

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

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.

BookThink's forum is up and running again. You can get to it by clicking this link.

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 editor@bookthink.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 editor@bookthink.com and we will research your purchases and forward a discounted invoice reflecting them.

Finally, the entire BookThink output of Gold Editions, 50/50's and QMR's is available to purchase as a complete package here. Again, if you have previously purchased any issues, we will subtract these from the total, and once you purchase them, you will be entitled to any future updates at no additional cost.

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Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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