Monday, June 26, 2006

The Crying Game...

What an annoying day- seems some folks are annoyed that we have begun selling on Ebay, and they are annoyed that we take advantage of the lists that offer a venue to promote our auctions to do so. Folks natter on about the morality, or lack of morality, of selling books through Ebay instead of putting a price on them- well, any idiot can stick a price on a book, there's no skill or honor in that pastime anymore; if anyone questions my use of the term "idiot", I can steer you to some book database listings. The definition of a bookseller as one who is willing to stick prices on his books has lost a lot of luster in my eyes since the databases came along.

I read a thread on a list recently about what constituted a "real" bookseller, and one of the answers that came up was that a professional bookseller uses their skill and knowledge to add value to a book. You buy the book at one price and do *something* to add value. Usually that includes some or more of the following actions-

-Correctly describe a mis-described or under-described book.

-Re-context the book so that its' inherent value is more obvious to potential buyers, possibly in a field that differs from the field and context it was first offered in.

-Promote the book to a different, probably more knowledgeable and deeper-pocketed group of buyers.

I'm not sure why the professional bookseller who researches a book thoroughly, has a very good idea of what its' value is, and offers it up on Ebay in order to take advantage of their marketplace reach has become the industry pariah. In my experience, the "real" professional bookseller is one who practices his trade with skill and care; but if it really simply has to do with throwing an arbitrary price on a book and throwing it onto a database, then all I can say is I've been wasting my time for the past 20 years.

As for making people waste their time reading our posts when we follow the list rules and list some of our auctions- my heart bleeds. After wading through dozens of off-topic crap about politics on one list, and hundreds of totally useless crap emails about stuff I have no interest in (and is that not the true definition of the word "crap"?) on another list, I'm not apt to be overly sympathetic, especially for the clever ones who couch their emails in nicey-nice terms of wanting to save *me* time from sending those emails... thanks, but no thanks. Here's a golden nugget of information- if you are not interested, it is possible to delete the email.

But don't tell anyone, that's a sooper-dooper secret.


Phoebe Fay said...

Oh Baby! I love it when you talk cranky! ;-)

City Slicker said...

Loved your site
Keep it up

jgodsey said...

the "real" professional bookseller is one who practices his trade with skill and care -

when 'professional' became a 4 letter word? it's a constant struggle against the creeping mediocrity.