A Podcast on Books & Ephemera ~ with Ben Koenig of The Counrty Bookshop

country bookshop outside

Ben Koenig of The Country Bookshop (in Plainfield Vermont), and one of the founding members of VABA, was recently on the Mark Johnson Show, talking about books and ephemera, and the joys of bookselling. You can listen to the 45-minute podcast that aired on March 20, 2014 here: http://blog.markjohnsonshow.net/2014/03/20/32014-ben-koenig-books-and-ephemera.aspx

The Mark Johnson show airs weekdays, 9-11 am on WDEV FM 96.1  AM 550.

c2014, VABA

The Future of Books

There has been a lot of discussion about the future of printed books. Since the advent of Amazon’s Kindle, the market for “e-books” has risen steadily, if not explosively. Some say that it will be the end of the printed book. I disagree.

The market for books is changing. But, the market is always changing. In today’s world, to operate your business the same as you did just six months ago may be the kiss of death for your livelihood. We booksellers today are faced with unprecedented market competition on one side and ever-rising overhead on the other side. What will happen?

I would like to offer up some of my ideas about where books and the business of selling them is headed. I have always been a great fan of Alvin Toffler and Thomas Friedman, two writers whom I would label as futurists. A futurist looks around the world as it is, then tries to predict what the world will become. Maybe I am a futurist of sorts too. So, here goes.

There will always be a demand for printed books. Especially those printed before the digital age, and especially those for whom there is a limited audience. Almost without exception, these will be scholarly works of nonfiction. Classic literature and popular works of any age will be available in a digitized format. Eventually, all books, fiction and nonfiction will be released in a digital version. However, there will still be room for the printed book. And there are still millions of printed books out there which will never be converted to a digital format.

Unless they rethink their business model. the large publishing houses will eventually wither and die for lack of demand for printed books. In order to survive, they will have to split their parent company apart into specialized houses serving a particular subject area. There will also be more companies specializing in better quality books. They will offer books with more durable bindings than is the case in today’s mass market world, where a book binding falls apart after one read. There will be more  better-quality books available. The mass-market paperbacks will still be be printed by the specialty houses, but in smaller runs.

There are some people like myself, for whom the feel of holding a book is part of the reading experience. Most of the younger folks who grow up using an electronic reading device may not be able to understand this, but I bet that there will be more and more converts going to the printed book for it’s feel of permanence, if nothing else. Yes, a printed book is, for most intents and purposes, permanent. Does anyone remember seeing Thomas Jefferson’s Kindle? And thankfully, Plato or Shakespeare did not save to a hard drive or to the internet cloud.

Technology itself is the Achilles Heel of the electronic book. Today, you may have purchased several hundred books for your electronic library. However, your reading device can only hold a few at a time. The rest are kept in that electronic limbo called the cloud. If you disable your reading device by dropping it, leave it on the roof of your car as you speed off to work, drop it in the water or fill it with sand at the beach, or the battery is drained, you will have what amounts to an expensive paperweight. And you will be unable to read any of your books until your device is repaired or replaced. True, a book will not emerge unscathed from such treatment either, but it will most likely survive in a readable condition. Last, but not least, your e-book is yours and yours alone. You cannot sell it to anyone else, and you cannot take it to a bookseller to sell or get trade-in credit. You are stuck with it. You can’t even donate it to the local library for a tax deduction.

The electronic reading devices themselves are still evolving. I have looked at some of the reviews for various devices and have read about the litany of problems of the devices themselves: Battery life, battery charging problems, problems connecting to the internet and other devices, delicate screens and other hardware as well as cranky software which cannot be repaired by the user. The e-reader is just one more device needing constant maintainance in today’s electronic world.

So, I think that even though digital books are a major presence in our world, booksellers should take heart. The printed book will outlast any form of electronic media, and is in no danger of extinction.

2012 Summer Bookfair ~ Floorplan of Exhibitors

The VABA Summer Bookfair is less than two weeks away! To date 41 exhibitors have signed up.  If you are a book or ephemera seller, there is still time to register for a booth by contacting Garry or Karen Austin at mail@austinsbooks.com or 802-464-8438

You can view the floorplan of the fair and the list of this year’s exhibitors by going to the following link —

http://www.vermontisbookcountry.com/summerfair

See you at the fair!

Join Us for the VABA Summer Book Fair ~ August 12 ~ Brattleboro, Vermont

The Vermont Summer Book Fair Returns To Brattleboro
and highlights new features!
The Vermont Summer Book Fair, inaugurated over 30 years ago  by the Vermont Antiquarian Bookseller’s Association (VABA) gathers 40 plus dealers in fine old books, maps, ephemera, manuscripts, postcards and paper to the Withington Skating Facility at Living Memorial Park in Brattleboro, Sunday, August 12, 2012. Fair hours are 10am to 4pm.
This year’s fair features the “Ten Minute Symposia”, a series of impromptu dealer talks. Hourly, designated dealers will discuss an aspect of the old book business, collecting, or their particular specialty in the trade. Each talk will be held in the respective dealer’s booth and will be followed by a Q & A session. We encourage all interested visitors to join in and ask the questions that may have intrigued or puzzled you about old & rare books and related subjects.
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Ben Koenig of The Country Bookshop, a frequent contributor to WCVT FM 101.7 Classic Vermont will be one of our speakers as will Garry Austin of Austin’s Antiquarian Books in Wilmington VT, a specialist in all aspects of Theodore Roosevelt material. There will be a schedule in the Fair program.
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VABA is also proud to have with us this year the Philadelphia Printshop and Don Cresswell.  You will remember this affable individual from his many appearances on “The Antiques Roadshow”. Don will be sharing some behind the scenes “Roadshow” stories and will be taking your questions as part of the “Symposia”.
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Directions:
Just off Exit 2 of I-91, on Rte 9, The Park complex is identifiable by the local landmark of the Creamery Covered Bridge. Plenty of parking surrounds this well-lit spacious exhibition arena that is home to the Brattleboro Winter Sports Program and events like the “Home Show”. At the Vermont Summer Fair you will see names that you recognize from the the New York, Los Angeles, or Boston ABAA shows, however you will also find some dealers that exhibit only regionally. Some come from as far away as Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and others travel from New York and all our neighboring New England states and Canada. They will all be bringing their fresh material garnered from auctions and attics, barns and book sales, housecalls and pickers. The variety of the dealer offerings will be amazing. Of course you will find books in almost any subject, but the ephemera, maps, autographs, documents, photographs, post cards, prints, and exotica are head turning.
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Whether you are an experienced or novice book collector, a librarian or an archivist, a scholar or an academic, or are simply interested in books and the book arts in general, you will find something to your taste. We invite you to visit the fair, explore the booths, and purchase the treasures on display. Listen to a discussion, ask a question or two and enjoy the show. Show hours are Sunday, August 12, 10 am to 4 pm. The show admission is $5.
Posted by:
Garry R Austin
Austin’s Antiquarian Books
PO Box 730
Wilmington, VT 05363
802 464-8438
c2012 VABA

The Country Bookshop ~ Radio Ad for Classic Vermont 101.7

Ben Koenig at The Country Bookshop runs an ad on the Vermont radio station  Classic 101.7 – a celebration of Vermont living, Music, and BOOKS!

You can listen to Ben’s song by clicking on this link – turn up your sound, and enjoy!

The Country Bookshop

Ben Koenig
35 Mill St
Plainfield, VT
www.thecountrybookshop.com

[Image from ehow mom]

c2012 VABA