Welcome to what will either be a smashing success or a dismal failure: my attempt to blog about the books we sell, the used and rare book trade, and the adventures of a book dealer.
In the era of the rise of Kindle, Nook and other pseudo-book experiences, a blog like this one may seem like an exercise in futility, a desperate attempt to rescue a dinosaur on its way to extinction. For that matter, the business that I devote a sizable portion of my life to might be viewed the same way. However, I say with Mark Twain when his obituary was prematurely published, "The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated."
A note about the title of this blog. I have been selling used and rare books for the better part of 16 years. Over that time, most of my business was dedicated to selling secular works: modern first editions, American history, art books, general antiquarian, and more. About four years ago, we reinvented our business after a two year break and now we focus on theology, biblical studies and church history. It makes sense. When I didn't have a strict specialty, we struggled to make money. It was more of a hobby. In 2007 we purchased a massive collection of theological works that we are still unpacking. It is a natural fit; I am trained in theology, spent 13 years as a pastor, have been doing full time evangelism since 2005 and will be establishing a church plant in Syracuse, NY sometime in 2011. I am also a published writer in the field of evangelism. In short, I live, breathe, and sleep the subjects that I sell.
As a specialist, I have not abandoned the generalist aspect of the trade. We do still carry some secular works, in many of the same genres as we did before. Why? Mainly because it sells and from time to time I can pick it up at a price that actually allows me to make some money. This is no longer a hobby for me; it is a substantial part of how I make enough money to pay bills.
The goal of this blog shall be fourfold:
1. To introduce you to some of the more interesting books in our inventory and hopefully make a sale or two. Bookselling, after all, is about selling books. The books discussed here shall be both sacred and secular.
2. Make some observations about the used and rare book trade as I amble my way through it at book shops, book fairs, the internet, book sales, etc.
3. To garner customers for our weekly email list of new arrivals in our specialty. This list contains a section called "Ranting and Musings" which may occasionally end up being posted here. More to the point, it is a list of our new arrivals usually discounted 20% from our online listings.
4. To muse about kindred subjects which strike my fancy and I think ought to strike yours.
I hope you will join us on this adventure.