Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2018 Issue

Where Is the New Book Collector? How About on the New Social Media

B277fea6-7ccd-430a-b668-894f845ed641

An Instagram image from ABAA bookseller Honey & Wax.

Where is the new book collector? Maybe where the young congregate? Certainly, they can be found on social media, and even the older folks know Facebook, probably even have a page and participate. The young have not quite moved on from Facebook, but its role in their lives has diminished. Instead, other social media are taking up more of their time, and the greatest growth the last few years has come from Instagram. Not so many older people use Instagram, but the young do. In a relatively short time (it was created during this decade), it has grown to encompass a billion members. If I had just one dollar for every Instagram member...

 

Instagram is a photo sharing service. I will admit to knowing very little about it. I do know it is not the one where your photos disappear in ten seconds, so you can safely send selfie porn. It's the other photo sharing service.

 

It had not occurred to me that a photo sharing service would be a place to sell books. Not only did the audience seem wrong, the capacity to sell your wares did not seem a good fit. Artwork, maybe. It is visual. Books are textual. Facebook gives you text. Twitter, for all its severe limit on the size of posts, provides text. If Twitter posts are too wordy, how can you sell books?

 

Still, there it was. An article appeared in Forbes Magazine (The Capitalist Tool) entitled "8 Tips For Becoming An Instagram Book Dealer." Obviously, some dealers are reaching their audience this way. While there are some older people on Instagram, one would assume a bookseller uses it to reach a younger audience. According to Statista, 71% of those who use Instagram are between the ages of 13-34. This is not the demographic of the typical book collector. Only 5% are 55 and up, 2% 65 and up.

 

The eight tips for selling books on Instagram are what you might expect. Selling is selling, regardless of the vehicle, and these tips are good advice no matter where you sell. They are: (1) Take great pictures; (2) Treat every sale seriously; (3) Be social; (4) Be a real person, not just a seller; (5) Be fair; (6) Reward your repeat customers; (7) Never stop learning; and (8) Support the competition. The one thing missing from this list is "Write great descriptions," but that one is not possible with the Instagram format.

 

With Instagram, you will be confronted with a page of pictures. You can choose your pictures by terms, or hashtags. The rare books hashtag (#rarebooks) will create an album of book pictures. Other book hashtags, such as #oldbooks or #bookshop will do the same. Subject specific hashtags, such as #australia, may find some books about Australia, but they are likely to be lost among all the other images relating to Australia.

 

What you really need to do is follow the booksellers you like. This way you will find out when they post new material. In some cases, this may be the only way to inquire about the book you find of interest. The result is that personal interactions with buyers are more important on Instagram than typical listing sites such as AbeBooks. Hence the advice about being personal, social, and rewarding repeat customers is particularly important when selling on Instagram. Another benefit of selling on Instagram, and dealers will love this, is because the connection is directly between buyers and sellers, there are no commissions charged on sales.

 

According to the Forbes article, at least from the interviewed bookseller, the books are mostly lower priced. Most of his sales are under $10, but have gone as high as $1,000.

 

You can read the complete Forbes article by clicking here.


Posted On: 2018-11-01 12:48
User Name: bookandpaperfairs

I couldn’t agree more. Social media is a great way to reach millennials. I have been using Facebook and Instagram to attract this elusive group to my fairs and especially my Brooklyn fair where millennials abound. Earlier this year I was eager to help one of my dealers, Adrienne Kitts Austin Abbey Rare Books, set up an Instagram account when she asked me for advice. I see that she now has 261 followers and she recently told me that Instagram has been an easy and effective way to reach new potential customers. I see that Heather O’Donnel of Honey and Wax Books, who has been on the platform for much longer has more than 2,000 followers. When you post to Instagram you can set it up to automatically post the same item in your Facebook page which is a nice feature. Social media advertising has become an important part of my media budget for my Brooklyn Fair. In my opinion, Booksellers should be using these media platforms to communicate with existing customers while attracting new customers. I am always happy to offer instruction to any dealer who wants to start using Instagram. It’s really very easy and the best part, it’s free to use.


Posted On: 2018-11-08 16:57
User Name: easystreetbooks

We use Instagram a bit. I try to post every weekday, but I've been a bit lax lately. I've gotten a few sales off of Instagram, but one of the best benefits is interacting with other booksellers. For example, I've posted questions about a book I've been researching along with pictures and often another bookseller will help me out. https://www.instagram.com/easystreetbooks/


Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>The Collectors’ Sale<br>March 3, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Verlag, Luzern, Publishers: <i>The Book of Kells,</i> the most precious illuminated manuscript of the early Middle Ages, now reproduced, the FIRST AND ONLY COMPLETE FINE ART FACSIMILE EDITION. €5,000 to €6,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone,</i> 8vo, L. (Bloomsbury) 1997, First Deluxe Edn., Signed by the Author on title page. €4,000 to €5,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Gilbert (John T.) Account of Facsimiles of National Manuscripts of Ireland, from the earliest extant specimens to A.D. 719. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <center><b>The Collectors’ Sale<br>March 3, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> <i>The Georgian Society Records of Eighteenth-Century Domestic Architecture in Dublin [-Ireland],</i> 5 vols. lg. 4to D. 1909 - 1913. Limited Editions. €1,500 to €2,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Yeats (W.B.) <i>The Poems of W.B. Yeats,</i> 2 vols., roy 8vo, L. (MacMillan & Co.) 1949, Limited Edn., No. 185 (of 375 copies). Signed. €1,500 to €2,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Crone (John S.)ed. <i>The Irish Book Lover, A Monthly Review of Irish Literature and Bibliography.</i> Vol. I No 1 August 1909 - Vol. XXXII No. 6, September 1957. €1,250 to €2,000.
    <center><b>The Collectors’ Sale<br>March 3, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Yeats (John Butler) <i>An original self-portrait Sketch,</i> Signed and dated April 1919, N[ew] York. €1,200 to €1,500.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Photograph Album. Entitled ''A Souvenir of the Visit to Jeypore Samasthanam of His Excellency the Right Hon'ble Viscount Goschen of Hawkhurst… 14th December 1927''. €1,000 to €1,500.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Pistolesi (Erasmo) <i>Il Vaticano,</i> 8vols. large atlas, folio Rome (Tipografia della Societa..) 1829. €500 to €600.
    <center><b>The Collectors’ Sale<br>March 3, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Chagall (Marc)illus., Legmarie (Jean) comp., <i>The Jerusalem Windows,</i> folio N.Y. (George Braziller) 1962. €400 to €500.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Bullitt (Thos. W.) <i>My Life at Oxmoor,</i> Life on a Farm in Kentucky before the War. Roy 8vo Louisville, Kentucky, 1911. Privately Printed No. 86 of 100 Copies Only. €300 to €400.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Popish Plot: Oates (Titus) <i>The Popes Whore House or The Merchandise of The Whore of Rome,</i> folio L. 1679. First Edn. €100 to €150.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Frederick Douglass, ALS recruiting help for his paper after schism with Garrison, Rochester, 1851. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> James Dean, photograph by Sanford H. Roth, signed & inscribed by Dean. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Richard Wagner, ALS requesting confirmation that the Grand Duke received his letter, 1863. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Benjamin Rush, ALS, doctor’s note for a Revolutionary soldier, 1780. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Lord Byron, ALS to Cambridge classmate, “your friendship is of more account to me than all these absurd vanities,” c. 1812. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author’s first book, Paris, 1923. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Ralph Ellison, <i>Invisible Man,</i> first English edition of the author’s first novel, signed, London, 1953. $1,800 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Margery Lawrence, <i>The Madonna of Seven Moons,</i> first edition in unrestored dust jacket, Indianapolis, 1933. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Joseph Albers, <i>Interaction of Color,</i> 80 color screenprints, Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 1963. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Albert Einstein, autograph manuscript, unsigned, likely a draft discarded while working toward a unified field theory. $10,000 to $20,000.
  • <b><center>Hindman Auctions<br>Literature from a Private New Orleans Collection<br>March 19, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> STEINBECK, John (1902-1968). <i>The Pastures of Heaven.</i> New York: Brewer, Warren & Putnam, 1932. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> FITZGERALD, F. Scott (1896-1940). <i>Tender is the Night.</i> New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1934. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> STOKER, Bram (1847-1912). <i>Dracula.</i> Westminster: Archibald Constable and Company, 1897. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b><center>Hindman Auctions<br>Literature from a Private New Orleans Collection<br>March 19, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> GOLDING, William (1911-1993). <i>Lord of the Flies.</i> London: Faber and Faber, 1954. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> SALINGER, J. D. (1919-2010). The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1951. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> HEMINGWAY, Ernest (1899-1961). <i>The Torrents of Spring.</i> New York: Scribner's, 1926. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b><center>Hindman Auctions<br>Literature from a Private New Orleans Collection<br>March 19, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> HUXLEY, Aldous (1894-1963). <i>Brave New World.</i> London: Chatto & Windus, 1932. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> WELLS, H.G. <i>The Time Machine, an Invention.</i> New York: Henry Holt, 1895. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> DAHL, Roald (1916-1990). <i>Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.</i> New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b><center>Hindman Auctions<br>Literature from a Private New Orleans Collection<br>March 19, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> HERBERT, Frank (1920-1986). Dune. Philadelphia: Chilton Books, 1965. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> KESEY, Ken (1935-2001). <i>One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.</i> New York: The Viking Press, 1962. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> VONNEGUT, Kurt, Jr. (1922-2007). <i>Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade.</i> New York: Seymour Lawrence Delacorte Press, 1969. $2,000 to $3,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions