Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2004 Issue

FootNotes: For the Next Generation of Online Book Listings

What does this FootNote look like? Here’s a sample for the book History of the War between the United States and the Sac and Fox Nations.


By Bruce McKinney

The world of books, once the staid backwater of the information age, is moving along at a quick pace these days, thank you. Books, until recently the solid and predictable bricks of the increasingly elaborate intellectual construction we call education, are showing themselves to be as able to be redefined by changing electronic capabilities as just about everyone from Gutenberg to God would want, and to adapt very well. Can we tell you where we’ll be in fifty years? No, but neither can you, and the world of books is headed off on a trip that will make Alice’s jaunt down the rabbit hole look positively tame. If you are looking for a new frontier, look no further. Books, or at least what’s in them, are going to be on the cutting edge for sometime to come. It seems like every five hundred years or so, ready or not, books redefine things all over again.

15 Day Free Trial: Would you like a no-obligation free trial of MatchMaker/FootNotes? Click here to submit your request. We’ll provide you with a free account by return email within 24 hours. Then simply sign in and try these capabilities yourself. It’s fun and it’s interesting.

This month AE takes another step in the evolution/revolution of the printed word. The challenge is the integration of book history into the listings of books for sale. Why not? It’s not only possible. It’s actually easy and makes books and ephemera 3-D, adding auction, dealer and bibliographical records to books offered for sale. The fact is that online book listings today are barely different from the dealer catalogue descriptions. For about ten years now, since book listings on the net began to take hold, they have simply mimicked traditional presentations. That can change and now will.

Enter FootNotes - software that combines the online book listing with the history of the title. It works this way. Any seller who is a Matchmaker member, $17.50 a month, can create up to 500 files of up to 50 footnotes each that can be attached to selling listings with a single AE FootNotes file link. This link opens a pop-up window on the seller’s site that contains bibliographical and sales history. It says “I’ll empower you. I think the book is worth X and if you agree buy it.” In time most, if not all books will be explained this way. New books will have links to price comparisons and reviews and old books will have links to articles, bibliographies and priced records. The days of “I say it is worth this much” will be replaced by “the market says it is worth this much.” And as this happens the world of old and rare books will enter a new and much better chapter. Sales and values will increase. The value of rare books, restrained by lack of easily accessible market information, will increase as buyers, able to understand the book market clearly, will be attracted by transparency. Simply stated: ignorance impairs and knowledge empowers.

Here is how FootNotes works. First find the title you would like to footnote in the AE Database. Select those records from the database you would like included in your FootNote. Once finished, you can review your new FootNote page. If you are satisfied, simply copy the link (url) that appears on that page and paste it as a link with the book’s description on your site. That’s all. When a visitor to your site, reading your description, clicks this link, a window pops up on their screen containing all of the listings, plus any other information you add to your FootNote file.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Gonnelli:
    Auction 50
    Books, Autographs & Manuscripts
    March 6th-7th 2024
    Gonnelli: Cramer, [Picasso, Chagall , Miró], Trente ans d'activité. Starting price 4800€
    Gonnelli: Futurism
    Gonnelli: Avienus, Opera. 1488. Starting price 1200€
    Gonnelli: Vimont, Relation de ce qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France, en l'année 1642. Starting price 5000€
    Gonnelli: Goedart, Metamorphosis et historia naturalis insectorum. 1662.
    Gonnelli: Il Petrarcha con la spositione di M. Giovanni Andrea Gesualdo.
    Gonnelli: Poblacion, De usu astrolabi compendium.
  • Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: KUPKA, Frantisek (1871-1957) - Quatre histoires de blanc et noir. Paris: Marcel Baque, 1926. €5.000-€8.000
    Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: VASI, Giuseppe Agostino (1710-1782) - Raccolta delle più belle vedute antiche, e moderne di Roma disegnate ed incise secondo lo stato presente. Rome: A. Vasi, 1786. €4.000-€6.000
    Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: SALAMANCA, Antonio (1478-1562) - [First map depicting the bay of Naples]. [Rome: 1538]. €3.000-€5.000
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD

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