Where is the new book collector?
It's apparent that the world of the book dealer is far removed from the world of the online buyer. This video presentation and others to follow are an attempt to shorten the distance between the in-the-flesh dealer and the collector who can find material on line but less often the advice, intelligence and perspective that serious dealers provide. In time we'll see if the huge gap separating the dealer from the emerging online collector can be shortened to the mutual advantage of both parties. That is the goal.
To begin I ask each man for their background. John Windle hails from England, getting his start at Quaritch. He moved to the states in 1971 going straight to California where he worked for John Howell in San Francisco before opening his first business in 1974 and shortly thereafter partnering with Ron Randall. Since 1979 he's been on his own. John Crichton earned his spurs at Serendipity in Berkeley, purchased the Brick Row Book Shop, a firm with roots in the halcyon bookselling days of New York in the 1920s. Jeffrey Thomas has as many years in the trade and traces his beginnings to a professor's chance request while a student at Berkeley. Jeffrey closed his city shop a few years ago and now shares his home with his wife and inventory. He hasn't been well recently. Finally there is Michael Good who has also closed his shop and now embraces the internet in earnest. Today he more sells books than builds relationships although collectors who seek him out [in Marin County] will find in him a useful unvarnished perspective with an interesting, affordable inventory.
John Windle is a relationship specialist, a sophisticated man who can earn your trust while matching you martini for martini. He tells a graceful anecdote and is someone who is mentioned for positive effect. John Crichton is serious, even when he is not. He began his career as an accountant in a book shop, knows the numbers, can take you through every note on the keyboard even if he doesn't write music himself. He is systematic and book collectors who share this trait will find an echo to their perspective here. It's authentic.
Jeffrey Thomas is a man of means who probably has not needed to sell his books but now knows he should. Illness becomes him and I've asked him to narrate some future AEM video presentations in the belief that part of health and survival is being useful and needed and we all gain by Jeffrey's participation.
Finally there is Michael Good who is self-deprecating in a field where the characteristic is endangered but probably has never been common. He stands back to let the other man step forward. He was at first an inside man at Cody's, writing descriptions rather than dealing with customers. He is also, of the four, the one who has most embraced the internet, is comfortable with it and sees a steady business out ten years.
To view the filmed interviews you'll need Windows Media Player. Versions for both Windows and Macs are available free of charge. http://download.microsoft.com/download/0/f/3/0f347443-f1ff-4830-9b20-65da2c6bf111/WindowsMediaInstaller.bin.