Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Bookselling in the 21st Century

At every sale I attend I see more and more booksellers punching in the ISBN's on their cell phones. My E-Bay buddy and I deal in mostly pre-ISBN books, so that method wouldn't work for us, but we do deal in some current titles. I dabble in textbooks were a 2000 copyright can be worth 42 dollars or 42 cents depending on whether or not it's been superseded by a new edition. I've been musing on going wireless myself.

Thanks to Bookthink , a handy little e-newsletter I learned about ScoutPal and decided to give it a whirl. Seems easy to use, we'll have see if it's worth the monthly fee. I sure hope I don't into a Godzilla BookDealer like the ones we saw at the Galveston sale last weekend.

There were 3 of them, working in teams, all armed with cell phones. One tore through the textbooks in hurricane force fashion, and excellent imitation of Hurricane Ivan left destruction in her wake. Books tossed helter skelter, dumped on the floor. The sale operators had done such a careful job of set up and they destroyed it. The others attacked the non fiction, piling up stacks of books and shoving others out of their way. Their stacks were so high and so untidy that it was impossible to tell that the books were "taken". They screamed at anyone who dared approach them and did their best of keep others away from the shelves. I know they made a killing in the textbooks- Galveston is always a good source for medical books. Luckily for us, they didn't bother with children's books.

I've seen them at the Bellaire sale too - 2 scoop up armloads of books and take them to cell phone central who hordes them and keys in the ISBNs as fast as he can. Some sales are starting to ban horders and snatch and grabbers and I can't say that I blame them!

So, I'm going to do my best to remember my manners and not let technology surplant my mental knowledge of "flashpoints".

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