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1. The 100 most sought after out-of-print books of 2014

Today we published the 2014 Bookfinder.com Report which features the 100 most sought after out-of-print books in America.  The big surprise this year annual report was that after years on the throne the Queen of Pop (Madonna)’s photographic escapade "Sex" was finally knocked off the top of the list, and the book(s) that took its place may surprise you.  There were in fact two, and you can read about them here.  What I wanted to talk about on the blog, however, are some of the usual suspects there were some interesting additions and subtractions to this year’s list.

Back In-Print:

2014 edition

Avid readers will notice that A.C.H Smith’s Labyrinth novelization is noticeably missing from the top end of the report; the book has been a part of the BookFinder report since 2010 and was finally re-published in April as Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and contains updated cover art.  I’m not sure the books target age group would have any idea who David Bowie is anyway.  According to reviews the books both stay quite close to the movie’s plot line however the novel replaces Bowie’s musical interludes with additional dialogue; and Smith also draws out the dialogue in a number of scenes.

Another graduation was In A Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting by Ray Garton who’s book has been on the BookFinder.com Report since 2008.  The fact that it was republished December 31st 2014 left me on the fence as to whether I should remove it from this year’s list, but considering precious few of you would have gotten to read an in-print copy in 2014 I decided to leave it on this year.  In 2009 the book became the basis for the hit film The Haunting in Connecticut (starring Virginia Madsen).

New to the BookFinder.com Report

An American Exodus: A Record of Human Erosion by Dorothea Lange this book was featured heavily in the photographer’s episode of PBS’s American Masters series (snippet below) which aired late August 2014.  The full episode covered Lange’s five decades photographic work which documented Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and World War II Japanese internment camps and more.  You can find a wide array of Dorothea Lange’s other work on BookFinder.com.

Another new, and timely, entry to the list was Margin of Safety by Seth Klarman.  The books author, who has been singled out by Forbes as one of the most successful hedge fund managers of recent years, was quoted numerous times this year after his 2013 year end investor letter was leaked online.  In the letter he preaches caution and warns of today’s stock markets being too bubbly, and that today's investors should take warning.  The fact that his track record for posting huge growth has remained in tact all these years has lead to his 1991 out-of-print value investing opus to fetch four figures, when you can find it.

Every year I find stories about these books buried within the list, and every year I also miss some amazing stories.  Read the full list and let us know any of your interesting stories about the books within.

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2. Search for books in Latin, or any language

It is with great pleasure that I inform you, the BookFinder.com user, that today it is finally possible to perform a search which is not restricted by books written in our main supported languages (without resorting to 'Classic Search').  You can now perform a search for searches for books written in everything from Latin to Lithuania, Swedish to Swahili and you can find it with our regular search, simply choose "Any Language" from our language filter.  


The only caveat I should mention is that if you do open up to all languages remember to be very specific with your searches, especially if the book in question was written in more than one language with the same title. Also be aware that BookFinder.com only currently supports Latin script.  Otherwise the world should now be your oyster.

Collectors have been asking for this feature for quite some time, so hopefully it is well received.  Please let us know what you think, and of course if you find any strange behavior please let us know.

Happy Hunting.


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3. Search by Publishing Date - New Feature

We have a new, and admittedly long overdue, feature to tell you about.  BookFinder.com users can now enter minimum and/or maximum publishing dates to limit your search results.  This should make finding specific editions much easier; and additionally while not a specific Print On Demand (POD) filter, it should help users who want to eliminate PODs from search results for older books - Since most PODs have been published within the last 5-10 years limiting your search to books published before ~2005 works reasonably well as a make shift POD filter.



At this point you probably have two questions:

Why didn’t you do this before?
One reason this feature took us so long to implement is that not every bookseller on BookFinder.com includes publishing date as a searchable data-point; when we first considered adding a publishing date filter we would have been eliminating as many as 60% of all books from searches simply because publish year was not a searchable field on many data feeds.  However over the years more bookselling sites added this data point to their APIs and data feeds we are now able to roll out this improvement with the knowledge that most of the available books are searchable by publish date.  Some websites we search still don’t offer publish date as a searchable field, so you may still find some discrepancy but this should be a minority case.

When are you going to build a full POD filter?
We would love to do it this week, but similar to the publish date quandary described above we are not yet able to offer a proper POD exclusion method that would work while including an appropriately large cross section of books that BookFinder.com searches.  We are absolutely aware of how valued POD suppression would be for some of our users, and as soon as we can provide a product which meets our standards we will put it in your hands.

In the meantime hopefully the publishing date filter is helpful. Please let us know what you think of it, if you find any bugs, or if there are other site improvements we can make.  

With thanks.

The BookFinder.com team

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4. Happy 17th birthday BookFinder.com

17 years ago today a college student at UC Berkeley named Anirvan Chatterjee pushed the first iterations of what became BookFinder.com live to the internet.  The site was originally called MX BookFinder, it ran on a 486 computer built by his best friend Charlie Hsu, and it was created as a requirement for network agent systems class that he was taking at the time.

Anirvan could have built any kind of network agent system, but luckily for all of us he was an avid reader with a penchant for out of print Doonsbury titles.  The end result was an ‘A’ in his class, a completed Doonesbury collection, and one of the earliest multi-database book search engines available online.

Seventeen years may not be a long time for just any company but this is ancient history for an internet company.  Just to give you an idea in 1997: Google didn’t exist, Netscape was a really advanced web browser, Babel Fish was mind blowing technology, and Hotmail had only been launched months earlier.  Even physical world events from 1997 can seem like a long time ago: Hong Kong was handed back to China, Bill Clinton began his second term, and a single mother from Edinburgh published a book about a boy attending a school for Wizards – some of you may have heard of that.

BookFinder.com may not be world changing like Google, but we did manage to outlast Netscape and Hotmail so we must be doing at least something right.  We know there is still lots of ways we can be better, and hopefully we can keep improving BookFinder.com so we can help you find and buy the books you want for years to come.

Thank you all for your support for the past 17 years.


Remembering the internet in 1997

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5. BookFinder.com Report 2013: The 100 most sought after out-of-print books in America

Angelique-ghosts-anne-golonToday we released the 11th annual BookFinder.com Report which features the 100 most sought after out of print books in America from 2013. As usual the Report offers an interesting glimpse into the collective interests of Americans over the past year.  There are so many interesting books featured it would be near impossible to tell all their stories here so I invite you to read through and discover what your fellow book lovers are seeking.  One very interesting omission this year's list is Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini which has been re-published in the USA for the first time since 1983; the book depicts a strange alien world, was written in its own yet to be deciphered language and is one of the strangest books ever created. I highly recommend it.

A very interesting title that was new to the list this year was The Angelique Series by Anne Golon – This French author’s books were most often published in English under the name Sergeanne Golon (English publishers printed the books as an amalgamation of Anne and her husband Serge, who co-wrote the first books with her before his passing).  The series consists of 13 novels, of which only the first 10 have been translated into English; and those have been mainly out of print since the 1970s.  The series revival can be partially attributed to last year’s release of Ariel Zeitoun's film Angélique as well as the rumored release of Angélique et le Royaume de France which is said to be the final installment in the Angelique series (and first book since 1985).

Other new books found on this year’s list include: The Afronauts by Cristina de Middel – This book reimagines the failed, and largely forgotten, 1960s Zambian Space Program which was founded by Edward Makuka Nkoloso and Life at the Limit: Triumph and Tragedy in Formula One by Sid Watkins – Sid Watkins OBE, who died in late 2012, was best known for his role as the FIA Formula One Saftey and Medical Delegate.  He was the first responder for Formula One Crashes for 26 years and was named "The Men of the Year 2012" by Top Gear magazine for his efforts saving drivers.

Other trends we observed in 2013 included:

Books about Firearms and Gun Ownership:
•    Unintended Consequences by John Ross
•    The Modern Gunsmith by James Virgil Howe
•    Collector’s Guide to Colt .45 Service Pistols by Charles W. Clawson
•    Colt .45 Government Models by Charles W. Clawson

Instructional manuals for Needlework and Sewing
•    A Pattern Book of Tatting By Mary Konior
•    Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns by Barbara Brackman
•    Crochet Lace: An Illustrated Guide to Making Crochet Lace Fabrics by Mary Konior
•    Professional Pattern Grading for Women’s, Men’s, and Children’s Apparel by Jack Handford
•    A History of Hand Knitting by Richard Rutt

Books about War and Military History
•    On the Psychology of Military Incompetence by Norman F. Dixon
•    Stuart: A History of the American Light Tank by R.P. Hunnicutt
•    War in the Modern Great Power System 1495-1975 by Jack S. Levy
•    Golden Book of the Civil War by Charles Flato

Manuals for Painting and Drawing
•    Mastering Atmosphere & Mood in Watercolor by Joseph Zbukvic
•    Country Landscapes in Watercolor by John Blockley
•    First Lessons in Painting and Drawing by Jack Hamm
•    Alla Prima: Everything I Know about Painting by Richard Schmid

and people looking for stories from their childhood
•    365 Bedtime Stories by Nan Gilbert
•    The Pink Dress by Anne Alexander
•    Phoebe and the Hot Water Bottles by Terry Furghgott & Linda Dawson
•    Sam's Sandwich by David Pelham
•    Apple Pigs by Ruth Orbach
•    Pookie by Ivy Wallace
•    The Bumper Book: A Harvest of Stories and Verses by Watty Piper

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6. How can we improve BookFinder.com for you?

We, the BookFinder.com team, have come to ask you a small favor; that you take 1-2 minutes out of your day to complete a short six question survey that we have created in order to learn a bit more about you, our Bookfinder.com faithful.

We would like to know a little bit about what kind of books you search for, and how you currently use our website we hope to better prioritize the improvements that we can make.  We have recently had to spend considerable time and effort improving some backend aspects of the site and as such have had less time than we would like improving features that you, the book lover, see and use on the website.  Now that we are in a position to make some front end user improvements, we just want to be sure we are doing so in the right areas. Please take this short survey. 

Thank you for your assistance.

The BookFinder.com Team

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7. The Abandoned by Paul Gallico back in print

The Abandoned by Paul GallicoFor the first time since 1991 The Abandoned (aka Jennie) by Paul Gallico is coming back into print in the United States.  The book has been featured on the BookFinder.com Report, for the most sought after out-of-print books in America, 5 times including each of the last 3 years.

The novel is about a young London boy who is hit by a large truck while attempting to save a stray cat.  When he comes to he realizes that he has been transformed into a feline himself, and with the help of a savvy stray, Jennie, learns to navigate the tough city of London on four paws.

The latest publisher of the book is The New York Review of Books, and I got a chance to ask their publishing Editor, Edwin Frank, why he decided to bring the book back into print after so many years.

“When I was a kid I had a friend who loved Gallico, and remembering that I read "The Abandoned" around the time we started the kids book series. I didn't acquire it right then, but it stuck in mind--it's a memorable book--and it kept coming up in surprising ways in conversations with different people, always an interesting indication. So I bought it....”

The New York Review of books edition of The Abandoned is set for an April 9th release, but you can pre-order a copy now.

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8. Could technology save the short story?

There was a time when an author could make a substantial living off short stories, F. Scott Fitzgerald was famously chained to the financial gravy train that his short stories produced and was unable to work on the more glamorous novels that he yearned to write. This idolizing of the novel demonstrates the bum rap that short stories have gotten over the past 100 years or so.

As literary magazines closed down, newspapers shut their doors to fiction, and pop culture magazines became all pop and no culture the avenues for short story writers to publish their works have all but dried up. For most short stories to really work you need a cheap and fast distribution method that provides a quick turnaround time allowing the writer to keep their finger on the pulse of their audience.

Modern short story writers mainly had to rely on publishing collections of short stories bound together as a full book, which kind of sells the medium short. You have all the length, and cost, of a novel but without the ability to develop characters or build the story arch as eloquently. It’s hard to argue that in a one to one fight the novel would often win.

It’s a shame but I have witnessed this first hand. My first experience with P. G. Wodehouse was when a friend of mine lent me an omnibus of Jeeves and Wooster stories. I loved the first dozen or so short stories but only got about a third of the way though the book before getting bogged down with flat characters. I still like Wodehouse, and whenever I have a Wooster story thrust in my direction I enjoy it; but I need small doses.

But the tides are starting to change and technology may be the savior of the short story. The rise of eReaders has provided short story authors with a very cheap method of delivering their wares to eager readers in bite sized chunks. The New York Times recently wrote a nice piece on this topic in which is a quote which I feel sums up the relationship between the short story and the eReader.

“The single-serving quality of a short narrative is the perfect art form for the digital age,” said Ms. Dermont, whose collection is due out next month. “Stories are models of concision, can be read in one sitting, and are infinitely downloadable and easily consumed on screens.”
Stories are also perfect for the digital age, she added, because readers “want to connect and want that connection to be intense and to move on.” That is, after all, what a short story is all about.

I am as guilty as the next man when it comes to failing to seek out short stories, yet enjoying them when they fall into my lap.  Perhaps an eReader might be the solution to my own lethargy providing me with a parade of short fiction for my mid transit reading.  What do you think?  Would you read more short stories if they were more easily accessible?

You can read the full New York Times article here

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9. William Caxton who brought the printing press to England

William-caxton-portrait-in-background-childsIf you are looking for a nice way to spend the better part of an hour this weekend, I recommend this BBC Radio 4 discussion on the life of William Caxton; who first set up a printing business in Bruges before returning to England in 1476 with presses in tow.  Caxton is thought to be one of the first, if not the first, person to bring the printing press to England.  He was a fascinating businessman and this podcast discusses his work, as well as early printing in Western Europe.

As with all Radio 4 programs the chatter is wonderful and I think my favourite part of the discussion is  when the panel is opines it was the typewriter, and not the printing press, that killed the manuscript and the scribe.  Scribes were continued to be sought after well past the advent of the printing press because with their aid no book was ever out of print, they were in effect the first Print-on-demand service.  Additionally the group suggested that if you were looking to truly impress someone with a gift in the sixteenth century, a printed monochrome book would play second fiddle to a much more beautiful and colourful manuscript created by a talented scribe.

The whole conversation sounded so familiar to what I see on various blogs in the 21st century about the merits of Fine Press books in a digital age, whether print-on-demand books add any value to publishing, and if eBooks are going to destroy publishing as we know it.  It was kind of comforting to remember that we really have been though all this before.

The program was recorded as a podcast and can be found via this link on the BBC website

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10. Step right up, everyone is a winner

At an antiquarian bookshop in Toronto you can play book roulette with the "Biblio-Mat." $2 to play, everyone is a winner

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11. Great Britain is bleeding libraries

Things are bad all over, with economies slowed debt levels have become a more accentuated concern and all eyes are turning to public services.  No program or service is safe from scrutiny, it seems, and in Brittan the fight is on to keep the nations libraries.

According to an annual report from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy the country has lost 347 libraries in past two years, down to 4,265.  As grave as this sounds the news becomes more bleak when the figures for library attendance partly justify the closures.  Visits to libraries across the UK have also dropped 2.4% in the past year and 6.7% compared with five years ago; and borrowing rates are down comparable figures.

So now the fight is on, with opponents claiming that: shutting down libraries is no way to improve public education, libraries also provide internet access to the less privileged, meeting places for social groups are a valuable community service, and they provide a service to job seekers looking to hone their resumes.  Those in favor of the reductions to public spending point the aforementioned statistics, adding that not all libraries should be closed only the ones no longer being used; the same study indicates that while many libraries are being closed the largest libraries are mainly staying open.  The Norfolk and Norwich Millennium library had 1.18m books issued and 1.34m visitors alone in the past year.

So is it simply a redistribution of resources, or are rural British getting the short end of the stick?  And what are we to do about it?  You can follow this story in The Guardian.

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12. Why you want to be cooking with Vincent Price

A Treasury of Great Recipes by Vincent and Mary PriceEvery year when we release the details of the BookFinder.com Report I am contacted by journalists who want to know “Why are people looking for <insert book title here>?”  The story differs by journalist and from year to year but essentially it boils down to the fact that it’s often tough to figure out why a book, which has seemingly been ignored for years, is suddenly so sought after.

With some titles it’s very easy to spot that they were cited in newly popular book/TV show/movie or were recommended by some form of celebrity (see my previous post about John Yudkin’s book Pure, White and Deadly).  I am usually able to explain these stories pretty quickly, but the books which seem to cause the greatest puzzlement are the ones which have no sexy back story, they have just been recommended again and again on online message boards for hobbyists as great books to help someone do something.  Books like The Modern Gunsmith by James Virgil Howe and the Collector’s Guide to Colt .45 Service Pistols by W. Clawson have been out of print for several years but continue to be a better resource for a niche group of enthusiasts than any new books that are being published.

Another book which falls into the great timeless books category is A Treasury of Great Recipes by Mary and Vincent Price (#13 on the 2012 BookFinder.com Report).  At first glance you might want to throw this title into the vast bin of awful celebrity cookbooks, but the thing that separates Vincent Price from the chaff like Eat This…It’ll Make You Feel Better by Dom DeLuise is that Price was an honest to goodness gourmet cook.

In the 1970s he had his own Cooking Television show in Britain called Cooking Pricewise; here’s a clip of Vincent making a salmon dish with Wolfgang Puck (although truthfully I don’t believe it was from Cooking Pricewise, rather another television appearance).  I also found some great audio on Vincent Price’s website from an International Cooking Course he narrated.  I’ve been listening to “Exotic Delights of the Far East” while writing this post and dinnertime cannot come soon enough.

Price also authored several other cookbooks including Come Into The Kitchen, A National Treasury of Cookery (5 vols.), and a printed companion to his cooking show also called Cooking Pricewise.

One last interesting fact about Mr. Price was that he was also a noted art collector, and his book Treasury of American Art has been also out-of-print since 1972.

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13. The BookFinder.com Report 2012: Sex, Rage, and Kyle Onstott

Every year around this time the BookFinder.com team puts our heads together, crunches the numbers and cranks out the BookFinder.com Report; a snapshot of the nation's search trends for out-of-print books.  After 10 years of researching the most sought after out-of-print books in America, we’ve learned a few things:

  • Sex still sells: 20 years after it was first published, Madonna’s Sex has been the most sought after out-of-print book on BookFinder.com for the past ten years.
  • Nora Roberts has very little influence on her fans: Despite Nora Roberts pleading with her fans to avoid Promise Me Tomorrow (a book she herself has described as mediocre), the book remains painfully expensive and highly sought after. 
  • Stephen King knows this pain all too well, he decided to take his novel Rage, which is about a school shooting, out-of-print some time ago and he just can't seem to shake the demand.
  • Publishers should re-print more Alice Starmore books: Starmore is a rock-star of the knitting world; known for creating some of the world’s most intricate patterns and having written a number of books.  Her book Aran Knitting appeared on every BookFinder.com Report from 2003-2010 until it was re-printed in 2011, only to be replaced by Tudor Roses (#60 in 2011 and #13 in 2012).  Starmore also has several other out-of-print books including In The Hebrides (1995) and Stillwater (1996).

Many of the books we see on the BookFinder.com report persist on the list for years.  Sometimes they were simply limited-run books that remain popular and demand always outstripped supply. Sometimes a popular author decides they want a certain chapter of their writing career to stay firmly in their rearview mirror (see Roberts, Nora).  However, even after 10 years, there are still out-of-print books coming back out of the woodwork.  Here are a couple of this year’s surprises:

  • Kyle Onstott’s Mandingo has featured on several past reports. However, this year the author appeared on the 2012 Report three times: Mandingo, DRUM, and The Black Sun; more than any other author.
  • Big League Sales-closing Techniques by Les Dane is considered by many to be a salesman’s bible, even though it’s been out-of-print since 1971.  Word-of-mouth recommendations on internet bulletin boards and review sites have pushed the price of this out-of-print guide through the roof.
  • Pure, White and Deadly; the Problem of Sugar by John Yudkin was first published in 1972 and outlines research showing that refined sweeteners are closely associated with heart disease and type-two diabetes.  The book was all but forgotten, despite being highly topical, until it was featured in Robert Lustig’s lecture “Sugar: The Bigger Truth” which attained YouTube viral success.   Because of this, Yudkin’s book was re-printed in the UK but remains out-of-print for Americans.

See the 2012 BookFinder.com Report, the hot 100 out-of-print books of the past 12 months.

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14. Abandoned Texas Walmart becomes new town library


The town of McAllen Texas was recently repurposed an abandoned Walmart building into the towns new 124,000sq library.  The new facility is fantastic and completely state of the art; it even won the International Interior Design Association "2012 Library Interior Design Award."

I encourage you to look at some of the photos, even though it is quite modern I still really like the look of this library. 


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15. Douglas Adams on Ebooks in 1993

In 1993 Douglas Adams, the world-renowned author of The Hitchhikers Guide of the Galaxy, recorded a short piece of audio for his US publisher of the time – Bob Stein of Voyager Expanded Books. Who would know how prophetic his words would sound nearly twenty years later, and how accurate his sense of the evolution of the book was.

In this short recording, Douglas Adams charts the evolution of the book from the ‘hardware problems’ of writing on rocks, to scrolls, to the bound book and finally the silicon chip. The animation to go along with it was created as part of the International Douglas Adams Animation Competition.

From The Literary Platform

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16. Reading Test: how fast are you?

First off, I want to offer my apologies for not posting here more often.  It doesn’t feel as if I have neglected you for a couple months but indeed this is the case.

I found a basic reading test this morning which gives you page of text, asks three basic comprehension questions and then ranks you against the national (US) average.

It’s not a perfect test since the text is so short but it is kind of fun.  Let us know how fast you read.

How fast do you read?

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17. New York pay phones became tiny libraries


John Locke, a Columbia architecture grad, has set up a little conceptual experiment which he is calling the Department of Urban Betterment whose chief duty is to covert old pay phone boxes into tiny libraries.

Apparently he's set up two booths so far and had limited success.  Apparently the first booth had all its books lifted, and then the shelves stolen within a few days.  The second booth faired a bit better with pedestrians both taking and leaving books for while, but eventually it suffered the same fate as the first.  Locke plans to continue his experiments but in future booths he wants to add some simple instructions to help show pedestrians the intended use.

Personally I love it, and I think that with a little education it could be a great addition to some neighbourhoods.  Full interview with Locke available here

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18. The future of rare bookselling in not in question

Reading the blogs and newsletters of the book trade can be a bit depressing at times.  Not a week goes by without someone bemoaning the death of the industry and the absolute futility of it all.  It is no secret that a very large number of booksellers, especially of the rare and collectible ilk, are on the older end of the baby boom; and that many (but not all) seem to think that somewhere along the line everything went terribly wrong in raising the next generation. 

To this I have two comments.  First, doesn't that sounds oh so similar to what the parents of the boomers themselves may have said around the time of the Summer of Love? Second, I think the rare and collectible book trade will be just fine.  For full disclosure I'm 30 years old and am the son of a baby boomer myself, so feel free to take my opinion with as many grains of salt as you see fit.   

Rare books are expensive, even scarce books take a certain amount of patience to find and acquire.  Rome was not built in a day, and neither was a quality book collection.  Young adults and youth today care just as much about the written word and this website could even be the lynchpin of the argument.  BookFinder.com was created in 1997 by a young 19-year-old college student named Anirvan because he was trying to complete his Doonesbury collection.  Just because he didn't pick up a copy of the AB Bookman didn't make him any less of a collector.

This is why I am so happy to see latest series from The Fine Books Blog has where they are interviewing young folks in the book industry.  Here you can read an interview with 22-year-old Ashley Loga who has embarked on a career in the rare book trade after attending the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar.  Her view on the future of the rare book trade pretty much matches mine.

Being only 22, I am perhaps one of the youngest ones currently in the trade.  Personally, I am tired of this defeatist attitude.  I frequently come across people bemoaning the death of the business on the list-serves.  This frustrates me greatly.   Having a defeatist attitude only hinders the business and does not help it grow at all.  Everyone says that people my age do not collect but this is untrue.  I know quite a few people under the age of 30 who collect books and take pride in their collections.  I think this view partially comes from a disconnect with the older age group and the younger age group.  And partially from the fact that people my age do not have the funds to buy books on the higher end of prices.  Book fair advertisements need to not only target the older crowd through newspaper advertisements but also find new ways to target people in their 20s and 30s.  The customers' desires are merely shifting: the business is not dying.

You can read the whole article here. What"s your feeling?

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19. Can First Sale Doctrine exist in a digital age?

The First Sale Doctrine is an everyday part of life for used booksellers. If you are not familiar with the term it is essentially a limitation in the copyright act that allows the purchaser of copyrighted good to transfer (sell, lend, giveaway) said good without gaining permission from the copyright holder.  This limitation was recognized in 1908 after the case of Bobbs-Merrill Co. v. Straus, in which the publisher Bobbs-Merrill attempted to limit the price that the Macey's Dept. Store could sell their publications for.

This ruling has been, mostly, sufficient for regulating physical goods, however since the proliferation of digital media artists, producers, and consumers have been unsure how to proceed.  Can I lend someone my mp3 collection? Can I borrow a digital book from a library? Should a digital books have a lifespan?

I was reading a post on the Brave New World blog which got me thinking about this topic again.  If publishers want consumers to value digital books in the same way they value physical books they will need to solve this right of first sale, because until an eBook can be re-sold or in some way traded after initial use they will always be perceived like a permanent rental and something you don't actually own. 

In the Brave New World article they bring up an interesting service that I actually didn't know existed called ReDigi, who are currently being sued by at least one major record label.

Founded only last year ReDigi is different again and operates under the “first sale doctrine” legal concept, that allows users who buy a copyrighted item like a book or CD the right to sell it or give it away. ReDigi operates a ‘used music store’ where users upload unwanted songs and buy others at a discount. ReDigi claim that they can verify individual MP3 files were legally purchased and not ripped or downloaded from a file-sharing network. Interestingly the sellers must also install a ReDigi program on their computer that removes any copies of a song from the seller’s computer.

If publishers could get together and agree on a service like this which would allow the right of first sale to exist on digital files it would go a long way towards not only adopting digital media but literally "buying" in.  This is, of course, assuming you do not already prefer physical books, are not a collector of books and said books are not first editions, signed copies, leather bound, etc. In those instances this discussion is moot.

What do you think about digital books? Would a legal re-selling service make you more likely to buy e-books?

[Now Reading: The Difference Engine by Bruce Sterling and William Gibson]

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20. Alibris and AbeBooks coupons available on BookFinder.com

Some good news for students looking for cheap textbooks or book lovers wanting to pick up the books they never received for Christmas.  Both Alibris and AbeBooks are offering users of BookFinder.com a coupon for orders over a certain value.

Until February 5th 2012 orders on Alibris.com from BookFinder.com are eligible for $2 off an order of $20 or more, $4 off $40, $7 off $70, $10 off $100 and $30 off $300 and up.

Until January 19th, 2012 books bought on AbeBooks.com from BookFinder.com are eligible for $4 off an order of $40 or more, $5 off $50 or more and $6 off $60 or more.

Start searching now:  Just remember to make note of the coupon code we display for you in your search results and apply it to your purchase on Alibris or AbeBooks.  The code will be displayed on relevant searches like so:




21. Bookbinding can flourish in the digital age

I just found a very interesting interview with bookbinder Michael Greer.  While some folks are quick to suggest that high quality bookbinding is a dying art Greer feels that this doesn't have to be the case.  He sees the expansion of print-on-demand publishing as the perfect partner for his luxury craft.

In the US, hand bookbinding as a trade has been nearly dead for many years. A few of us quixotic dreamers hang on. Still, the revolution in the last decade in on-demand publishing could create a space for us. Twenty years ago, self-publishers paid a hefty sum to print maybe 250 copies of their family history. They gave away ten and the rest went into the attic. For about the same amount of money, I can print and bind ten full leather volumes and create others on demand. The difficulty is letting people know that this kind of thing exists. When I do fairs, people often approach my table full of books with a mystified smile and say, “I didn’t know anybody did this stuff anymore.” If bookbinders can get the word out, we might be able to carve out a place for our services in the growing world of digital publishing.

I think this is a fantastic coupling of old and new technologies.  Imagine your own family history album, complete with photos, bound beautifully in leather and preserved for your grandchildren.

(Via Moby Lives)

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22. Marilyn by Norman Mailer to be republished

The two time Pulitzer Prize winning author Norman Mailer will be knocked off the BookFidner.com Report next year now that fine press publisher Taschen has paired the text from his biography Marilyn with photographs of the bombshell by Bert Stern.  The publishing house, who is famous for fantastically designed and exorbitantly priced art books such as the Muhammad Ali tribute G.O.A.T., will publish their version of the model's life later this year. You may recognize Mailer's biography "Marilyn" from its many appearances on the BookFinder.com Report, the book was first published in 1974 and was last published in the US in 1987.

In typical Taschen fashion no expense was spared on the final product and a "basic" version (shown below) of Norman Mailer, Bert Stern: Marilyn Monroe by Norman Mailer will set you back about a grand, and the more elaborate "art edition" ends up costing a cool $2,500.


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23. BookFinder.com is hiring

Do you love technology? Do you love books? Do you have great interpersonal and communication skills? Do you live to build and support great software teams? Do you thrive in a fast paced e-commerce environment? If the answer is yes please read on.

If you are a software engineer and want to live in the Pacific Northwest BookFinder.com is currently looking for two positions.  1) Software Engineering Manager and 2) an experienced Software Engineer to be a part of a small agile team in our Vancouver B.C. office

If you are interested take a look at the job postings which are located on our parent company’s website.  All of the qualifications and contact details are listed there however please feel free to contact us with any questions you might have about the positions.  We hope to hear from you.

[Now Reading: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald]

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24. Collected Books contest

Collected-Books-Ahearn2 Our friends at AbeBooks.com are giving book collectors (or anyone with the slightest interest in book collecting) a chance to win a signed copy of Collected Books: The Guide to Identification and Values by Allen & Patricia Ahearn.

The book, now in it's fourth edition, is a fantastic reference for over 20,000 titles explaining publication dates, issue points, print runs, number of volumes and other vital bibliographic data.

AbeBooks is giving away one signed copy of the 2011 edition Collected Books.  If you want to enter simply email [email protected] and tell them about the most prized first edition in your book collection. In the entry explain why the book is so special and describe its condition.  AbeBooks say they may use this information in a feature highlighting first editions.

As usual don′t forget to include your name, hometown and state or province in the email, and include "First editions" in the subject line. It appears the contest is only open to US and Canadian residents and ends August 31, 2011. The winner will be selected in a random draw (the odds of being drawn are dependent upon the number of eligible entries received) and will have to answer a skill-testing question.

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25. The 100 most sought-after out-of-print books in America

If you are at all familiar with BookFinder.com you probably know all about our annual BookFinder.com Report which tracks the demand of the 100 most sought-after titles which are no longer in print in the United States.  The list differs from year to year as trends change and books get republished (Indie publishers take note, there may be a hidden gem in the list for you.)  This list is no different as number of titles from last year’s report have been republished in the past twelve months including The Sixteenth Round: from Number 1 Contender to #45472 by Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, Old Southern Apples by Creighton Lee Calhoun and Aran Knitting by Alice Starmore, leaving room for some new additions.  

In fact Alice Starmore, a superstar in the knitting world, took her own spot on the list. Aran Knitting lived on the BookFinder.com report for years before getting re-published in 2010 and now another one of her works, Tudor Roses, has jumped onto the list to take its place.  Tudor Roses is interesting because it includes a number of sweater designs inspired by the Tudor royals (eg. Henry VIII and Elizabeth I) and their over-the-top gold embroidery, velvet, jewels and lace.

Current events also have an impact on the list.  In A Payroll to Meet, David Whitford discusses the incidents surrounding Southern Methodist University's (SMU) receiving the "death penalty" from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA); which involves banning the school from competing in a sport for a year or more (two in SMU's case).  This book has been out-of-print since 1989 but scandal in college football has never been more in vogue.  The recent rash of cheating, bribing and recruitment scandals to hit Ohio State, Southern Cal, Auburn, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, LSU, and the Hurricanes in Miami have renewed the interest in the grandfather of college football scandal.  I somehow doubt this book will see reprint but it’s always interesting to well researched books jump back into the spotlight because of current events.

View all 100 books in the 2011 BookFinder.com Report

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