By Craig Stark
2016 has arrived, and with it a fresh start. The primary focus at BookThink will be, as always, on buying and selling books, and several projects now in the planning stages will help the cause. Look for announcements soon.
A brief story. One of my sons asked for a grandfather clock for Christmas. As you likely know, good ones don't come cheap. My son discovered this when he went looking for one - and he looked and looked, mostly unsuccessfully. The best one he found that was in our budget was one on craigslist for $650. Upon receipt of additional, more detailed photos from the seller, however, it became apparent that there were quality issues. At some point in this process - a point of some frustration, I think - he said to me, "I have a proposition for you, Dad. What if we built one together? Then I can get exactly what I want, and there will be no question of quality." Well, it's been 18 years since I've been in the business of designing and building things like this, but I've kept my hand in here and there - I built this same son a hutch for Christmas the year before last, alone - but this time he wanted to build the clock with me, and if you're a father, you don't pass up opportunities to spend this kind of time with your sons (or daughters). So, it was a deal, and here's the one he decided on:
We'll make a few changes to it, maybe trick up the top some, but this is essentially it. Oh - and $1950 if your interested in buying one ready-made, and it's a foot shorter and not even a true grandfather clock.
When I sat down to write this newsletter, I had planned to do an article on how to distinguish real from facsimile signatures, but then I started thinking about this clock. Then bookcases. And this got me thinking about the start of a new year. In almost 13 years at BookThink I have never written a how-to series on how to build shelving for books - I started to in 2007 but didn't finish it - and yet it's something I know more about than most any other topic. And this is a time of year when many booksellers are probably thinking about adding inventory - and shelving. So, let's do it. Part I on low-cost, high quality storage options appears today.
Part II of BookThink's Bookseller's Guide to Grosset & Dunlap has been completed and sent to subscribers. If you didn't receive your copy, please check your spam folder first. If it's not there, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get it to you ASAP. This is a compilation of 299 pages of G&D First Editions, almost all of which are accompanied by large thumbnail images of dust jacket cover art. Who knew there were so many? A majority of titles - no surprise - are boys and girls series books, but there is no shortage of additional titles, including dozens of jazz age and depression era romance publications, surprisingly collectible, by the way. I included three examples in the last newsletter. Here are three more:
Titles are organized by year, and, when applicable, accompanied by series names and volume numbers. This, along with the dating tool kit provided in Part I, will enable users to both identify and in most cases date not only First Editions but also distinguish them from reprints - and in some cases assist in dating reprints. Dating G&D's has been an area of concern for booksellers for decades, and the approach for most has been to report the copyright date (because it was all that was available) and either leave it at that, do nothing or guess at a date window. Happily, in most cases, this will no longer be necessary.
Due to the length of Part II, it was necessary to split it into two parts, and Part III - soon to come - will consist of a comparable compilation of all known G&D photoplay editions, title lists of other collectible G&D reprint series and a detailed marketing analysis of G&D reprint high spots, and there are many.
Part I is available for purchase here at $19.99.
Part II is available for purchase here at $19.99.
Part III, when issued, will also be available for purchase at $19.99, but save yourself a few bucks and subscribe to BookThink's Booksellers Author and Publisher Reports for $49.99 and receive not only these three reports but also an additional nine reports, seven of which have already been published. Get it done here today.
For those of you who missed it, an abridged preview of Part I was published in the free BookThinker a few months ago here.
Due to the popularity of the "kitchen sink" sale it's been given a spot in BookThink's Store. Here's the deal: You get everything for $179.99, subscriptions to BookThink's Guide to Online Bookselling and BookThink's Author Reports (including the Grosset & Dunlap reports) along with all complete report packages - all Gold Editions, all 50/50's and all Quarterly Market Reports - and any revisions/updates to these reports as they are completed. The subscriptions include all current chapters and reports and additional chapters and reports as they are issued. This is a ton of bookselling content that, if applied, will pay for itself quickly and generate income for years to come. Click here to purchase it, and everything will be emailed to you as attachments within 24 hours.
Note to subscribers: Chapter 16 of BookThink's Guide to Online Bookselling has been delivered, and Chapter 17 on book photography is near completion. If you didn't receive your copy, please check your spam folder first. If it's not there, email me at email@example.com and I'll send it to you ASAP. 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
13. How to Buy Inventory: Part II, Building Flashpoint Lists
14. How to Buy Inventory: Part III, An Introduction to Sourcing Inventory
15. How to Buy Inventory: Part IV, An eBay Buying Tutorial
16. Presenting Books for Sale: Part I, An Introduction to Modern Book Description
17. Presenting Books for Sale: Part II, Book Photography
Purchase a subscription here.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com and we will research your purchases and forward a discounted invoice reflecting them.
Some changes to BookThink's forum. It has been remodeled to conform to BookThink's color scheme: Please
note that guest access has been disabled - that is, non-registered users are no longer able to read posts or reply to them. You must be registered and logged in.
Also, registration is now a two-step process that requires approval on this end. In most cases this will happen quickly; if not, please follow up with an email to me
at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm usually loath to make anybody jump through hoops to do anything associated with BookThink, but what this does is effectively shut
down the dozens of bogus bot registrations and subsequent spamming we had been getting daily.