October 12, 2007

The Brave New World of Book Collecting

Imagine going to a library book sale and finding a first edition of The Killer Angels for a buck! Let's see, a several thousand dollar book for $1. Someone else can calculate the return on investment of that purchase! Finding gems at library sales do happen occasionally but for the most part, you're having to wade through piles of slush to find a handful of desirable books -- and if you're not a member of the local "Friends of the Library," then forget it, for most library sales will have a special preview for their Friends before opening up the sale to the general public. 99.9% of all desirable books will be long gone by that point. I readily recall joining all the area Friends so that I, as a collector, could give myself first crack at the sale, only to discover that every other dealer and collector I knew had done the same! When the doors opened, a feeding frenzy often ensued with many dealers often just tossing old books into their boxes without even looking at what they were. They'd weed them out later...

But the times they are a changin'. Just check out this article about the 21st-century technology now being employed by book dealers at these type of sales. I'm sorry, I'm just way too old school to use a handheld scanner that monitors bar codes for pricey first editions. The whole thing just doesn't seem as sporting as it once did.

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