AE's Book Fair Calendar Goes Live!
By Bruce McKinney
Effective October 1st AE is adding full coverage of book, manuscript and ephemera fairs around the world to its suite of free services. Links to both a show calendar and a listing of events are now the eighth and ninth items in the free services section (see the menu to the left). AE, on a separate calendar featured on its home page, covers book auctions around the world.
The link to the October calendar shows there are fourteen events upcoming and that they run a total of thirty-three days.
For AE members who are participating in events posted on the fair calendar and list their material in AE's Books for Sale database, we automatically link their online inventories to the event details. The goal is to create a path for collectors to preview participating dealer inventories. With a couple of clicks, the collector can view inventory, ask questions about specific items (via email or phone), and inquire about possible related but unlisted material they are seeking. For the dealer it's an opportunity to bring more appropriate material and create new customer relationships.
We envision it may take several years for collectors to become fully acclimated to this service and its virtues but it should, at the margin, begin to improve show sales quickly.
Dealers understand what they have but often do not know who will want it. Collectors generally know what they want but not who has it. Material that's posted online can be broadly searched by the gathering audience that increasingly understands how this is done. For those collectors, though, who prefer to see the material and discuss it with the dealer, shows are their preferred way to discover and buy. The fair calendar and the list of show events allow collector and seller to combine the best of both selling worlds.
To see how this works, click here to go to the Book Fair List. Next select the link to the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair on October 14. You will see six booksellers, including four who have posted inventory. Click "Books for sale" for any of them. See An example. At the top of their listings, you will see a link to search their inventory. Then search for something, say, the Civil War. You will get a list of this dealer's matches. Click the title of any of these matches to bring up the detailed record. At the bottom of the detailed record is a link to "Click here to purchase or inquire about this book." It takes you to an email-able form to inquire about the book or request the seller bring it to the show. Try this a few times and the light will shine! What a great tool to make shows far more productive for buyer and seller than was ever possible before.