Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2010 Issue

A Page from the Future

Dante

A step toward appealing electronic catalogues


By Bruce McKinney

For years, the changing economics of booksellers’ catalogues have caused headaches for booksellers. In decades past, such catalogues were often substantial; the number of items listed sometimes running into the thousands, the descriptions minimal, the prices low. Today much of the material that was once the backbone of such catalogues is online. What's left for cataloguers are focused offerings of the hard to find, highly desirable and often valuable items. When combined with the rising cost of printed catalogues, and their generally declining efficiency, catalogue extinction becomes possible.

However, when you break the cataloguing challenge down into its basic elements: content, physical production, and distribution - new possibilities emerge for creating better, more flexible catalogues that work well if the audience will move beyond paper presentations to embrace their electronic cousins. The technology for interesting, email-able, presentations already exists and continues to improve. The e-catalogue also has the added benefits of being available instantly around the world, and allowing for real-time update and additions.

To engage this challenge, and to encourage the transition, this month we are adding a third section to AE Monthly to provide a venue for electronic catalogues to be organized and displayed. Such catalogues may be publications created in AE's Books for Sale, catalogues created as PDFs elsewhere and even PDFs converted into realistic book-like presentations by eMagCreator. The alternatives for online book catalogue presentation are flexible and inexpensive and continue to evolve. The fundamental idea of a catalogue is to create a focus that acquirers can efficiently browse. In time such presentations will be almost exclusively electronic so it's a good idea to become familiar with the options.

In this section, Section III, AE research [and higher] members can post descriptions of their catalogues along with their contents as PDFs or as links to specific catalogues on their site. To do so a contributing dealer simply writes a catalogue introduction and links it to their catalogue source. [The links for this will appear on member home pages in a few weeks]. For sellers submitting PDFs it's also possible to employ software provided by eMagCreator to convert PDFs into sophisticated catalogues that turn page by page.

For AE premium members it's even easier to create unique catalogues gathered from a member's Books for Sale inventory.

This month we provide two iterations. The first is a catalogue prepared by Book Hunter's Holiday of San Mateo, California that was submitted as a PDF and converted by eMagCreator's presentation. The same catalogue is also available as a PDF and can be searched and scrolled in the standard way. The second presentation is a catalogue prepared from inventory posted in AE's Web Catalogue.

The book-like presentation is visually appealing but potentially awkward to navigate, while the PDF is easier to use but more conventional. In converting the PDF into the book-like form it becomes a finished publication. No further changes can be made until or unless the text is recast into a new finished form. The cost for converting a catalogue into this format is $25 and is permanent. The other catalogue, from de Orbe Novo, was created in AE's Web Catalogue, can be revised and is free for Premium members. It remains editable even after issuance.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions