You can't take an image like this for granted. Nor a bookstore like Baldwin's.
Baldwin's Book Barn Looking For Patron Saint
In 1934, William and Lilla Baldwin established their used book and collectible business nearby and then moved to “The Barn” in 1946. The old milking house was converted into a residence for the Baldwin Family and the stone barn became the bookshop and, for some years, a country store museum.
It appears that Thomas Baldwin, Sr. is packing it in. A lifelong bookseller and proprietor of Chester County's legendary used and collectible book store is retiring. To say that Baldwin's Book Barn is an institution is a great simplification. There are few, if any, bookstores in the US that have the look and feel of Baldwin's.
Baldwin intends to try and sell the bookstore business and barn as a package deal. With land prices in Chester County being what they are, I find this scenario unlikely. Not a lot of used booksellers with a couple million to spare.
Speaking of poverty, Baldwin points to the expansive market for collectible books online as the culprit for the bottle-necking of the profitability of running a rare book business.
“If someone dies, his grandson will say, ‘I’ll post (his books) online,’” Baldwin noted last week in the historic, weathered book barn. “These people have no idea what those books are worth. You’re not just competing with the bricks and mortar stores anymore, but the whole world. That drives the prices down, not just in this business but in all businesses.”
I've heard many old hands complain about the falling prices of collectible books, particular modern first editions. The massive nature of print runs in the seventies and eighties have allowed for more first editions of "collectible" authors. In the past, when it was a walk-in, catalog or mail order system, the availability was of course limited and pricing was consistently higher. Since the advent of sites like eBay and ABEBooks the prolific nature of books with long print runs became evident and prices dropped.
Consumers win, sometimes, and booksellers lost, sometimes.
The sometimes comes down to that x-factor, increasingly hard to find (and sadly less valued), that a good collectible book dealer has. Namely they know what they're doing while that grandson mentioned above does not. All he knows is that he read a single John Grisham novel last summer at the beach and that his grandfather's first edition of Steinbeck's Travels With Charley could be valuable. Poor grandson and eventual book buyer failed to realize that it was a second printing.
Starting bid: $9.99. Final sale: $23.63.
Booksellers, thy life is woe.
Entries Being Accepted For International Edible Book Contest
What was it P.T. Barnum said about publicity?
I guess that this then is good for books.
I'm thinking a copy of Anthony Swofford's Jarhead made out of MREs could be in order.
Wolverine, X-Men Sold Out By Amazon
In the increasingly bizarre world of Amazon commerce a boon was granted to comic book readers over the weekend when Amazon
screwed up again had a pricing error with a single vendor's line of comics, which included Image, Marvel and Dark Horse Comics.
The error allowed titles to be sold at incredibly low prices (a $60 dollar item would be sold for $8 and change).
Amazon's solution? Remove the buy buttons from the distributor's line.
Why are metaphorical 800 lbs gorillas so much meaner than the real ones? Has anyone looked into whether or not Jeff Bezos is Magneto?
Three Percent's Best Translated Book Award
The annual award aministered by the University of Rochester was held at Idlewild Books on Thursday evening.
The winners were The Confession Of Noa Weber by Gail Hareven and published Melville House, and The Russian Version by Elena Fanailova and published by Ugly Duckling Presse.
“We’re delighted to receive this award on behalf of the author, Gail Hareven,” said Melville House co-publisher Dennis Loy Johnson, “as it represents what we see as part of our mission at Melville House: Not to publish both fiction and nonfiction in translation just for the sake of essentially preserving it, as if it were something on the verge of going extinct. That strikes us as a way of further ensuring its obscurity. Rather, we see it as our mission to trumpet that work loudly, and to work aggressively to get that work in the hands of as many people as possible, especially those who would not normally encounter translated literature.”
Warm fuzzies all around. Congratulations to both firms.
I'll leave you with that positive story this weekend. Good luck to Baldwin's in finding an heir. It would be a shame to see such a store leave the world.
Wait... That was a sort of sad ending.