Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2006 Issue

More on Partnerships and Parasitism

Would a trade association help booksellers?


by Renée Magriel Roberts

Well, looks like my last article (June AE Monthly) on partnerships and parasites struck a nerve. My mailbox was flooded with emails from booksellers (none from selling websites, no big surprise) and virtually 100% along the same lines. Here is a sampler:

There were the wishful thinkers: "Hannes Blum ... may learn something if he reads this article..."; "I used to feel like we were partners ... and I tried to act like we were partners." "I wish Amazon, Alibris and ABE would read it [the article] and take it all to heart." "I hope a lot of folks read your article and get really ticked off and jump ABE's ship for at least six months. Wouldn't that create a cash crisis in THEIR court?" "I hope your article will influence the mega book sites to change their 'parasitic' practices."

The self-doubters: "I too am at the point of wondering why I do this [bookselling]".

The just plain angry: "Nothing makes me madder than paying 1.5-2% more for someone else to process the credit card transaction than I would pay; trying and failing to quickly figure out if I'm being paid for what I've shipped...the accounting is in pig Latin." "It seems as though ABE is for ABE only and we [booksellers] are tolerated as a necessary evil." "The big A sites are no place for honest bookdealers who know anything about used/antiquarian books." "I have no interest in paying some entity, particularly a foreign company, to run my business." "The last change has left me still angrier [ABE taking over credit card processing]. I HAD/HAVE no security problems related to credit card processing." "I no longer intend to work for nothing and give all my profits to ABE." "It seems to me that once you have reached a critical size in a corporation (ABE) that other influences take over (greed) and it has no guilt and can justify anything."

The commiserators: "It's exactly how I feel about the websites, but I couldn't have put it in words like you just did..." "My sentiments exactly, and many others too." "Every professional bookseller I know feels the same way". "So many of us feel exactly the way you do." "AMEN!!" "You have identified the revolting aspects of ABE's operation and pinned them nicely into an insect display case, where they belong."

The psychics (or maybe I'm the psychic): "Thanks for sharing my exact opinion on all you discussed".

The Dr. Phil stand-ins: "It is not necessary to remain in an abusive relationship". "Remember what Dr. Phil always says -- we teach people how to treat us."

Rare Book Monthly

  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: Rowling (J.K.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, first hardback edition, 1997. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, July 18: Binding.- Lucian of Samosata Opuscula Erasmo Roterodamo interprete, first Aldine edition, Venice, Heirs of Aldus Manutius and A, 1516. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bacon (Sir Francis). De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum Libri IX, Pierre Gassendi's copy gifted him by Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, Paris, Typis Petri Mettayer, 1624. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: Shakespeare (William). The First Part of Henry the Fourth, with the Life and Death of Henry, Sirnamed Hot-Spurre…, Printed by Isaac Jaggard, and Ed. Blount, 1623. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Darwin (Charles). On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, third edition, presentation inscription 'From the Author' in a secretary's hand, John Murray, 1861. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Teague (Violet). Geraldine Rede. Night Fall in the Ti-Tree, first edition, Melbourne, Sign of the Rabbit, 1905; and another. £10,000 to £15,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: India.- Primrose (Gen. James Maurice). Collection of 24 original drawings from his time in India with the 43rd Regiment of Foot, circa 1855 to 1864. £10,000 to £15,000.
    Forum, July 18: Manet (Édouard). Trente Eaux-fortes originales, the complete portfolio, Paris, A. Stroelin, 1905. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bible, English. [The Holy Bible], first edition of the King James Bible, the Great 'He' Bible, [Robert Barker], [1611]. £6,000 to £8,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: America.- Mathews (Alfred E.) Pencil Sketches of Montana, first edition, New York, Published by the Author, 1868. £6,000 to £8,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bawden (Edward). Original dust-jacket artwork for 'The Outsider' by Albert Camus, [c.1946]. £4,000 to £6,000.
    Forum, July 18: World.- Fries (Laurent). Tabula Nova Totius Orbis, woodcut map, [c.1541]. £3,000 to £5,000.
  • Sotheby’s, July 11: Galileo, Document annotated and signed by Galileo, dated Padua, 1595. £500,000 to £700,000.
  • Bonhams, July 15-25: THE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION OF ISRAEL WITKOWER. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: GEORGE WASHINGTON SIGNED DISCHARGE. June 9, 1783. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: "Shhhhh!" A DAVID SHANNON ILLUSTRATION FROM DAVID GETS IN TROUBLE. $2,500 - $3,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: PICASSO, PABLO. Le Carmen des Carmen. Paris, 1964. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: RARE AUTOGRAPH OF AMERICAN NAVAL HERO CAPTAIN JAMES MUGFORD. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: KARA WALKER SILHOUETTES FOR TONI MORRISON'S FIVE POEMS. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FIRST APPEARANCE OF PINOCCHIO IN ENGLISH. COLLODI, CARLO.New York, 1892. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: BONAPARTE, JOSEPHINE. Autograph Note (unsigned) in French. $1,000 - $1,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FROST ON MATTHEW ARNOLD.Autograph Letter Signed to Adams, July 27, 1934. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: ELIAS BOUDINOT'S COPY OF BARLOW'S COLUMBIAN EPIC. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A SIGNED HART CRANE BROOKLYN BRIDGE POSTCARD TO EDWARD DAHLBERG. $600 - $800
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A STOCK CERTIFICATE SIGNED BY THE "QUEEN OF WALL STREET," HETTY GREEN. $700 - $900

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