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Our 4th Anniversary

· Fine Book Collecting,Anniversary,Abebooks,Selling,Business

Our 4th anniversary was on October 30, 2021! We use the Abebooks statement “seller since October 30, 2017, as our birth date. We sold our first book on April 18, 2018 Michelangelo off to NYC for US$50.

We continue to get compliments on both the business name and logo from clients and others. And this praise rightly belongs to son, Gregory, and daughter-in-law, Maria. This was their work. To quote from a client in NYC “Smart-looking business card ,too!”. And this person is the head of the impressionist department at Christie’s. I passed this compliment to Gregory and Maria, right away.

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In addition to voraciously buying books, I keep an eye our for the “odd pieces of art” that I think will add some character to the bookroom. These hang from the back of two of the bookcases and they greet visitors as they finish coming down the stairs. I wish I knew more about the origins of the Japanese illustration.

From the 2nd Anniversary Musing (November 2, 2019)

I used to tell people that we sell primarily on the internet. This is no longer the situation. We have clients who have bought from us on 3 or more occasions. And every single person who has visited our Hackett’s Cove bookshop has bought something. (still the case!)

From the 3rd Anniversary Musing (November 21, 2020)

Last year, I talked about our successful foray into the local marketplace, at both the Tantallon Farmers’ Market and at the Scarecrow Festival, in Mahone Bay. Those events were non-existent, in this plague infested 2020. Christmas at the Forum has morphed into a format that doesn’t work for us this year.

To quote from last year’s musing “I used to tell people that we sell primarily on the internet. This is no longer the situation. Because of COVID-19 we are back to selling primarily on the internet.
A big challenge was the dramatic slow down in postal delivery rates. And international postal
rates are high. For the first time, just yesterday, a potential purchaser in the UK balked at paying
postage of $65 for an $80 book. It was a big, heavy book. (And, this has happened a couple of
times during our 4th year).

While internet sales are great, I miss the interaction with booklovers at the fairs and in our shop. Hopefully, when we celebrate our 4th anniversary, I can once again say that we do not sell primarily on the internet!

Our 4th Anniversary

Well, I wish that I could say that we don’t sell primarily on the internet, but this is still the case. In fact, our sales were up this past year without the fairs and in-person buying due to strength of the internet sales. People have been stuck at home all over the world, and we have been sending books all over the world during the pandemic. People are stuck at home.

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We have been able to buy books and it does not take long until there is No Shelf Space! And I hate to see books piling up, but what can you do? Yes – buy new bookcases. In early 2021, a woman responded to our ad looking for new bookcases and they have been a godsend. I may have the run the ad again soon.

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Another big happening this past year, was an article about our Raven & Gryphon Fine Books in a local community paper, The Coastal Wire. Publicity is so important and this one generated some interest for sure. And like any good restaurant that gets reviews, it is framed and hanging at the entrance to the bookshop.

The Tantallon Farmers’ Market came back to life in 2021 but outdoor vendors only so that the opportunity to sell at this local fair is likely gone forever.

We were hopeful that the Halifax Christmas at The Forum would be able to accommodate antique dealers and a bookseller this year, but not the case. Maybe next year.

A highlight in our second year was having a booth at the Scarecrow Festival in Mahone Bay. It was cancelled in 2020, and I was disheartened to get an e-mail from the organizers that it was not going to happen in 2021.

So, it looked like a complete event shut out for 2021. Then, in late August, we got an update from the Scarecrow Festival folks that a local antique dealer, Brindle Boston Antiques in Blockhouse, would run the Antique Fair over the last weekend in September. I couldn’t sign up fast enough!

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We redid our banners, moving from our well used paper ones, to heavy duty professional stock. The photo shows them as wrinkled as they were when first unfurled, but they smoothed out and looked great. I recruited my event buddy, Gary Humphries, and we set up on the Friday and had a great fair over the weekend. The traffic was good, and it felt great to have all of the face-to-face contact with the attendees and the antique dealers. (see Musing 90, A Bookselling Adventure).

These fairs are not just about selling books, as they often lead to great book purchase opportunities. Our largest book purchase to date came from a contact made at the 2019 Scarecrow Festival. This year, a woman stopped and asked if we purchased books, to which I came my pat answer “we need to buy books in order to sell books”. She said that she and her brother were wrapping up their parents’ estate, and she took one of our cards, and said that her brother should be in touch. And he did just that.

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Just this past weekend, I had the opportunity to view all of their parents’ collection and I purchased some 25 books. The thrill of the purchase is at least as great as the thrill of the sale!

Hopefully Year 5, will see a repeat of the Mahone Bay event, a return to Christmas at the Forum, and maybe something else.

Thank you for reading my musings.

- Andy