Dan Gregory gave an excellent presentation this morning on using digital cameras and scanners to sell books. I found a lot that applied to my own efforts to showcase books in special collections, and am keen to apply his solutions to this sort of activity on this blog, and when I put our exhibitions online.
Dan gave a simple solution for scanning without hurting a book, and I’m very eager to get back to the library and try it out. He also gave some tips for calibrating scanners and digital cameras that I would never have known about.
The other Dan (DeSimone) discussed selling to libraries, which I found particularly fascinating and accurate. This is a subject close to my heart, since I think that relationships between booksellers and librarians can be fostered so much more effectively than it is today. His point that librarians often have no time to seek out new dealers because they are often in meetings strikes home. The burden is on both parties to seek each other out and to create a beneficial relationship. It can be a powerful one. Booksellers (as is abundantly clear from this seminar) take the risks out in the trenches, acquiring books and gambling on their value and salability. Librarians operate from a much more secure position, but they do not have the time (nor should they make the time) to spend hunting for bargains. Their responsibility is to build the collection in significant ways by intelligently spending a reasonable amount of money for materials. It behooves a librarian to respect and honor their booksellers, since the better relationships you have with these professionals, the greater your collection will be come (in orders of magnitude).
After lunch we had a fabulous workshop on book descriptions and pricing, whereby we were each given a book to describe, collate, and price. We broke up into small groups in separate rooms and a member of the faculty gave each of us a point-by-point critique of our descriptions, and we all discussed the pricing of the books in light of those critiques. The final talk was by Chris Volk, whose experience and observations of internet bookselling and some of the tricks and traps thereof was eye-opening.