AE: A Perspective on Seven Years
For many we have become their first search. For those who rely upon us as their primary resource and use AE around the clock we provide 7, 24, 365 support. The lights never go out. It's a new world.
Over the past seven years we have seen close up what change in the book business really entails. Almost nothing is untouched, the largest changes truly immense.
The listing sites have grown from specs to behemoths. Abe alone has more than one hundred million items. The market has entered a period of retrenchment. Common books are losing much of their value and most of their salability at any price while collectible material is participating in the economic slowdown and will recover. The dividing line between common and collectible is being defined by online and eBay listings and activity in the auction rooms, the line between common and collectible constantly shifting.
Even so, we appear to be entering a 'collecting era' with collectors establishing themselves independently. Dealers who depend on collectors have done virtually nothing to encourage them and constantly lament that their numbers are dwindling. They are in fact only less visible, not invisible. But, they are subject-centric and much less inclined to be anyone's best customer.
In the year ahead we will tackle the need to encourage new collectors to take up the reins as today's collectors edge into the sunset.
As we begin year eight I want to once again express my profound gratitude to my wife Jenny and our partner Mike Stillman and his wife Diana, to our programmers Weicheng and Madhu, and to our writers and occasional help for all their assistance. To the ever larger numbers who use the AED and advanced services, read AE Monthly and buy or list material we all appreciate your involvement. Our goal is to build a community.