Last February I teamed with Chris Volk of Book Fever in Ione, Ca. to review. This year I thought I’d try it again on my own and take a backward look at 2010 from the perspective of the small independent dealer.
I live on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where I own a small online antiquarian business. I have exactly one live colleague out here – JoAnn Carroll. She runs the Old Lahaina Book Emporium, the only bricks and mortar used book store on our island.
When I asked her: What was the best thing about 2010 in her book business? She replied,
“I made it through.”
And the worst?
“I guess the same thing,” she said, “I made it through but who knows what’s coming next?”
Personally, I feel pretty much the same way. That said, here’s my take on 2010, the year just finished:
The Best Trend:
I found my most profitable and sometimes happiest circumstances came when I teamed up with other dealers. Shep Iams and Chris Volk at Book Fever gave me invaluable advice and an informed perspective. Michael J. Osborne in Maryland took some of my books and prints to a fancy East Coast show and bought a few of the nicer ones for his own inventory.
Vic Zoschak of Tavistock Books in the Bay Area actually visited Maui and shared his thoughts on bibliography and incidentally turned into a customer. Joachim Koch of Books Tell You Why got me excited about the world of James Bond. Tara Gilchrist at Better World Books in Indiana introduced me to Elizabeth Svendsen of Blue Jacket in Ohio who reached over and pulled off the shelf just exactly what I always wanted.
They were all fellow dealers who helped me make a sale or exposed me to new facets of the business. They were all willing to share what they knew and would work with me on a handshake, by phone, by Skype, or email for mutual benefit — this was the most heartening trend in my own business.