I’ve been invited to talk a little about my website, Books and Book Collecting, which you may be familiar with. It’s probably mostly used by people searching for out-of-print books… there’s a collection of search engines and a hodge-podge of information about, as you might expect, books and book collecting. The site has been up on the net since September of 1996, and so is a relative old-timer. It dates back to a time when there was no Google, no eBay, and online book searchers were using Interloc and BiblioFind— names which have somewhat faded from memory.
The internet wasn’t as popular then, and people didn’t seem to be as familiar with searching as they are today. I’d been a book collector for most of my life, but as I started to put together a set of “tools” to locate the books I was looking for, I began to learn more and more about both books and collecting. I became more professional, learned about edition identification, dust-jacket condition, and book club editions. I discovered news groups and mail lists, search engines and techniques, the details of book sizes and specialized vocabulary, more and more.
I’d just been starting up my web site, Trussel’s EcletiCity, to publish my various interests, and so it seemed natural to put up my “tool box” for book collecting, so that others could use it too. Well, of course, the more successful I got at collecting — using these tools — the more excited I got about the Books and Book Collecting site, and so I spent a lot of time working on it and making it more and more useful… and I hope that it still is.
But now, to some extent, times have changed, and users and search engines have gotten more sophisticated, the web grew, on-line book-dealing turned the used-book industry upside-down, and, somehow, Books and Book Collecting is still around. A few years back I made a little search engine, BookSeek, to index the online book catalogs that weren’t listed with ABE or the “biggies,” but now there doesn’t seem to be as much meaning in it. For a number of years SetMaker has filled a little niche, helping people finish off sets with missing volumes, but now I have trouble keeping up the energy to maintain it…
Trussel’s EclectiCity is my hobby, and takes up most of my free time. There are so many nooks and crannies, and my interest moves from one section to another, but undoubtedly the largest single theme is literature, with sites on Lafcadio Hearn, Howard Fast, Georges Simenon’s Maigret, Prehistoric Fiction, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Og, Son of Fire…
My guiding philosophy has been to provide detailed information in small areas, and I’ve had a love of bibliography for almost as long as my love of books. One of my collecting areas isHoward Fast, and I created a website focusing on his works. I used my “toolbox” to locate long out-of-print magazines with stories and articles which had never been reprinted, and created a site which provided access to “new” stories – stories which wouldn’t be easily found in a library… Bibliographies formed the center for many of my other literary sites.
I found other collections around the house, stamps for one, and I thought, “Why hide them in a closet, when I can display them to the world?” And so my stamp pages were born. My students’ prize-winning speeches became another page, my interest in Ukiyo-e another… I kept discovering areas of my life that were no longer in the foreground, but which had consumed enough of my energy to result in something to show… and so, more pages.
The site has grown very large, and this past year the page that has captured my interest most is Inspector Maigret – perhaps because this year is the Simenon birth centennial year. But one of my all-time favorites is Og, Son of Fire. Og is an offshoot of my Prehistoric Fiction page, and it was originally almost impossible for me to locate any copies of any of the volumes of this “classic” prehistoric boy series. But as I did, and was able to dig deeper and deeper, locating the original Boys’ Life magazines in which the volumes had first been serialized, well… another page was born.
I could go on and on with this, but a picture is, in fact worth a thousand words in this case, and so I simply suggest you visit EclectiCity for yourself, and share some of my world. Thanks for stopping by.
By: Steve Trussell firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s Note: Steve is too modest. His Books and Book Collecting site is almost the ‘bible’ of book sites-always has been and I suspect always will be.