What is this image doing here? Read on, me hearties!
Learned that Sotheby’s Oct 5 photography auction is featuring one of the Diane Arbus images Bob discovered. He and I and my book Hubert’s Freaks all got plugs in the catalog description.
Headed off to western CT Monday afternoon hoping to buy a whaling log at an auction out there.
The log looked good to me when I examined it during the preview. It only covered four of the five years of the voyage, but it had nice whale stamps and some accounts kept by the captain throughout the voyage. The accounts made a difference. I figured I could sell it for $8500 - $9000.
Nobody on the floor was bidding. I ran my telephone competition to $5700 and thought I had it, when an Internet bid came in at $7000. I’d been ready to go $6500. The next bump over $7000 was $7250. Assuming my virtual competitor dropped out there, I’d be paying $8337.50 with the commission. My evening at the auction was over. The world is flat!
Went back to the Stephen King Motor Inn, just down the road. Waiting for Diane Arbus’s “Twins” to appear at the far end of the hallway. Full moon, too! Had a few drinks.
Puttering around western Connecticut next day, I found a book shop I’d never seen before. But it was closed. Guess I was too late.
Then up to Dartmouth for Wednesday’s “New Tools” unseminar, organized by John Waite and attended by a surprising forty people.
The morning started with a tour of Dartmouth’s Rauner Library and a marvelous talk by Special Collections librarian Jay Satterfield. Unlike many of his colleagues who think it is their job to protect their rare books from users, Jay’s whole mission is about how to turn people – Dartmouth students especially – on to rare books and the wealth of knowledge they can provide. Though it’s not his primary purpose, Jay and like-minded rare book librarians are a powerful force in creating and educating the next generation of book collectors and bibliophiles. Thanks, Jay!
Then an intense four hours with Dan Gregory of Between the Covers, who shared his hard-won skills (he manages an inventory of more than 350,000 books) in digital book photography and new computer aided ways to create traditional hard copy catalogs.
After a lunch break Joachim Koch of Books Tell You Why gave a succinct and organized power point presentation (via telephone) on how to employ existing Internet tools to measure the effectiveness of your company’s social media campaign, and how to use these metrics to produce better results.
I gave a talk about blogging and Ten Pound Island Book Co., which seemed to elicit quite a bit of laughter. This was probably a necessary relief after six hours of fire hose drinking. I only hope they were laughing with me. (Send me an email if you want a copy of my talk. You can decide for yourself.)
Then Ian Kahn of Lux Mentis Books with a looping, soaring, diving, lurching presentation on the various kinds of social media available to booksellers. He used the word “interesting” in almost every paragraph. And his talk was, well, interesting.
Luke Lozier of Bibliopolis closed out the day with a low key warning to make sure we’re aware of where we’re putting all these resources. He made a differentiation all of us probably know but don’t necessarily think about - between a self-owned e-commerce platform, and one owned by a giant company that is constantly mining information and is capable of making unilateral changes against our best interests. He also made the wry observation that the single dominant topic in this “New Tools” seminar was hard copy catalogs – about the oldest tool we have.
As we were leaving campus, a giant celebratory propane-fired balloon was rising above Dartmouth Green. (It was the students’ first day back at school.) Don Lindgren of Rabelais Books professed amazement that, after our seminar, there was any hot air left.
Thank you, John Waite. I hope you can package this presentation and take it on the road.
Boxborough Ephemera Show Saturday morning – just shopping. This event is run by the personable Flamingos, Tina and John. They get the job done, but sometimes it feels like they’re doing it by the numbers. After the high of the Dartmouth event the lack of energy at this show was palpable. Maybe we’ve all done too many. Made a few interesting purchases, mostly thanks to Matty Needle and others who are better scouts than I am, and who know what I buy.
Then up to Concord for the 31st New Hampshire Antiquarian Book Fair.
I could wax sentimental about the old days in the Highway Hotel, when the lines were long and the air was electric with possibilities. But why bother? This current iteration, held at the attractive Grappone Center, was flat – despite promoter Garry Austin’s best efforts. Yeah, I bought some stuff – even sold something. Yeah, dealers were scurrying around buying from one another as they have been since Hector was a pup. And yeah, I’d rather have a flat bookfair than no bookfair at all. He even fed us breakfast!
But golly, folks (and this is NOT a whine) I feel bad for Garry, who knocks himself out putting these things together.
According to him, only six dealers from the New Hampshire Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association participated in this fair.
It’s no surprise, given that lack of support, that Garry is pulling the plug on this show. He’s fulfilled his contractual obligation to the association and, he tells me, unless something changes, he won’t be promoting a 32nd edition of this fair.
But enough of this gloom and doom. Today is the 16th Annual International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Yarr!
Banning, Kendall and Gustave Baumann (illustrator). PIRATES! OR, THE CRUISE OF THE BLACK REVENGE. Chi. 1916. b/w woodcuts. 4to. Unpaginated - title, 15 folded sheets, endsheet. Humorous play in verse about the adventures of the pirate Captain Hawkes and his crew. Designed by Lawrence Woodworth and published in Chicago for the Brothers of the Book. Wonderful wood engraved illustrations. Black paper cover with scarlet Pirates! on the cover. A Fine, fresh copy of the first edition, one in a limited edition of 525 copies. $350