How to catalogue a collection and plan a rare book sale
June 9, 2014 7:42 AM Subscribe
I'm looking for general advice about how to bring a garage collection of many hundreds of valuable books to market. Part of this process will likely involve software choices.
posted by peacay to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My brother-in-law, Colin, has a garage full of about 7000 books and of those, he suspects maybe 500 would fall under the general heading of "rare or desirable". It's those 500 that he wants to sell, but the whole collection needs to be assessed and catalogued. It *might* be the basis for starting his own display/sale website. Or he might do that and list items in auctions or on Amazon too.
It's almost certain that the books won't be sold at a single time or on consignment; he's going to want to rid himself of them one by one, depending on market circumstances, ease of advertising and level of motivation when he (soon) starts to retire from his regular job and get into these books as money-making hobby. He was once a part-time trader of books, so the remainder of his stocks are books he's collected himsef; the ones that interest him most.
He's considering making the assessment and unloading of his book collection a part-time paid project for someone like a book history student or a bookseller who wants some weekend work. Colin will be helping to some extent, but for the moment, he just wants to chart out a practical way forward. Colin is tech-illiterate and I'm only a modest dabbler at best (and won't be on-hand anyway), so please give simple explanations if possible. His only input on a computer will be data entry. But he might look for a tech wizard with rare book skills as a worker; so nothing is off the table. But simpler is still best.
With the above in mind (and noting that we are in Australia, so no regional esoterica please), here's some of the information sought from AskMefi:
- are there any recommended paid or open source database programs that would be good to use for cataloguing his collection? If there are many, what are the pos/neg features? I guess Colin's going to want to be able to enter a photograph, title, author, publisher, year, description and maybe a few more categories. The more versatile and automated the better and it might be a good thing if it could auto-load to a blog too (I'm simply riffing from a conversation I had with him - I have a bookish hobby, but it's not much help in planning a commercial venture.)
- is there a free or subscription site where book sellers can go to get help to value a book (I thought there might be some trade portal that includes auction results over a few decades, plus all amazon and rare book sales details) ??
- any other tips or ideas people have relating to getting a big stash of books into a digital metadata form, to ultimately bring it to market