The Boot Camp for Booksellers opened on Sunday evening on the fifth of August at the beautiful Colorado College campus in Colorado Springs. After giving a warm welcome, Director Mike Ginsberg introduced the faculty. The two scholarship recipients for this years seminar were asked to come forward.
Kate Lindeman of Newburgh, New York, and Jennifer Sarratt of Tempe, Arizona received their scholarships from Ed Glaser and a round of applause from the participants. Mike then introduced Allen Ahearn who gave the Keynote Address on “Book Selling Past and Present.” A reception followed with faculty and participants getting to know one another over wine and hors doeuvres, after which they each had to bench press 200 pounds of books.
The faculty consisted of the director Michael Ginsberg (of Michael Ginsberg-Books, Inc. in Sharon, Mass. Mikes a past president of ABAA), James Canary (Head of Special Collections Conservation at the Lilly Library at Indiana University Libraries), Mary Ciletti (owner of Hooked on Books, an open store in Colorado Springs), Ed Glaser (of Edwin V. Glaser Rare Books in Napa, Calif. Ed is a past president of ABAA), Lois Harvey (owner of West Side Books and Curios and the West Sides Book Annex in Denver, Co. She is an IOBA member and runs the Rocky Mountain Book Fair), Jennifer Larson (of Yerba Buena Books in Rochester, New York.
Jennifer is a past Vice-President of ABAA), and John Townsend (of Towns End Books of Deep River, Conn. and has a broad background in computers and computerized databases). Guest specialists were Pat and Allen Ahearn (of Quill & Brush in Dickerson, Maryland. They are ABAA and IOBA members). These lecturers represent hundreds of years of experience in nearly every aspect of the book selling trade.
This years participants were all from the US with twenty-one states represented. Texas had eight present. IOBA had four members attending: Julie Fauble (Century Books), Terry Lang (Books and Spirit), Jan and Dan Riker (Basset Books). Collectors, librarians, and both new and established dealers, as well as one gentleman from Barnes & Noble. A varied and lively group.
Lulled into thinking this was going to be an easy week after Sundays reception, Monday morning began with a bang with sessions running all day from 8:30 in the morning until 8:30 in the evening with only lunch and dinner breaks and short breaks between sessions. A lot of information had to be covered before the close of the seminar on Friday afternoon. Mike Ginsberg asked each panelist to share their backgrounds and how they became booksellers.
He started the sessions off right by telling us how when he was a kid he was headed down the wrong path and, being a wise woman, his mother told him to get a job. He went to work for a bookseller in a menial job (sweeping, etc.) but found that he liked being around books and decided hed try to find some to sell to his boss even though he knew nothing about which books were good. He would scout one of the large local stores and pick books he could buy for fifty cents or a dollar that he “thought were pretty cool” and then hed take them back to his boss and his boss would pay him two to three dollars for them. He thought this was so great that he went to more stores and finally he was selling so many books to his boss that he was given a raise and became one of the buyers for the store. His story was told with so much feeling and fun that the whole session became that kind of friendly tag team sharing of experience, opinion and camaraderie that makes everyone want to participate.
Microphones were at strategic points among the participants work tables so that questions and comments could be heard by all. A faculty member always sat at each of the lunch tables and the lunch room buzzed with conversations.
Each day was a marathon of subjects. By weeks end, the participants had not only been critiqued on the books they had been given to research, price and catalog, they had been shown by Jim Canary how to clean, protect, and correctly do small repairs to books. By showing what is involved in properly making repairs without causing more problems and lowering the value, it is a lot easier to know when to try to repair or not. There were three sessions devoted solely to computer technology. There were two sessions on operating open stores by Lois Harvey and Mary Ciletti. One evening the participants were taken to Mary Cilettis open store where she talked about and showed them how she bought and sold her books and she answered their questions about running an open shop. There was a session on appraisals and fees charged. There were two sessions on the auction process, one on online auctions by John Townsend and the other on catalog sale auctions, which concluded with a live auction where the participants bid on donated items and the proceeds were donated to the local libraries. There was a book scouting session, mini-sessions on taxes and accounting, book fairs and trade shows, web page design, forgeries, search services and quoting.
Julie Fauble sent us a note after the seminar and in it she said she felt “inspired and enthusiastic and rarin to go.” Thats also how we feel.
– By Pat Ahearn