Book Finds by Ian Ellis

This is an excellent book for the intense study of the history of books and bookmaking; the secrets of “professional book scouts”; what bookstore buyers look for and many other aspects of book buying, selling of where to and how to. This helpful book is about how to buy, sell fiction, nonfiction, antiquarian, modern or any type of book. Ellis begins by telling us the history of books and how they were made and with what items to the Now and Present of How to Sell, Make Contacts, Buy, What to Look For, What to Leave in the store, etc. His expertise is invaluable.

First, Ellis describes the three types of books:

1) Reading copy – the type of book you would take with you to the beach, etc.

2) Antiquarian – 1st edition of books of yesteryear, as well as any old books with old binding, materials, and printing details. Knowledge must be had in dealing with this type of book because forgeries can be found as well.

3) Modern Books – this spans l00s of writers of many many different genre.These books are avidly sought after and collected, however, just about any book can be called, “collectable”.

It is this last category that this book heavily concentrates. His five specific rules which he feels you must maintain to keep all the glue together in knowing and collecting books are as follows.

1) Ellis suggests strongly to pick a topic to specialize in and stick with it. Become an expert in it if possible. As your curiosity grows and you learn more, so will you will be able to pass on your knowledge and become an expert at it.

2) He also strongly suggests pay attention to the condition your book is in. It does not matter if it is rare if it is in horrid condition.

3) The “Rule of Three” is his rate of return. Try to buy books which will bring you three times the amount spent for it.

4) Establish a regular route of bookstores to “scout” all of their new editions as often as you can. KNOW YOUR STORES. Do they specialize in horror or mystery? What most likely will you find there? Know your store’s personality. Stores may be used bookstores, new bookstores, etc.

5) Don’t forget about trading with your store. Anytime you can trade a book, do so. Don’t buy it. Reading copies can be sold profitably because of their abundant quantity of them. Here the emphasis is quantity not quality.

Ellis also tells us about the beginnings of bookmaking, articles and items which were used in bookmaking since the beginning of time to the present. In further detail, he tells us of Scouting for Books vs.Dealing, The Art of Book Trading, and much much more information.

At the end of the book is a Glossary of terms for books as well as a list of “Book Finds” suggested by the Author. I found this book enlightening and interesting.


Pungky Dwiasmoro Hiswardhani

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