Like everyone, some days are better for me than others. As a tangent to that, some collections we acquire are better than others. We recently acquired a fabulous collection of sporting books, primarily hunting and fishing. This type of collection is a real boon. Specialty non-fiction is our best-selling stock and the life-blood of an internet bookseller. We dabble in textbooks, of course, where the quick profits can be had a few times a year, but super specific and esoteric knowledge collected into small print-runs by tiny specialty publishers are where we tend to make bank.
In general, these collections are really interesting to catalog. I loved cataloging the Easton Estate collection. Robert Easton was a Hollywood dialect coach and actor who specialized in accents. He collected books in English written in dialect and he collected books about language and linguistics. His collection was fascinating, especially since I’m an amateur linguist and lover of wordplay (my personal reading tendencies are for books about linguistics and I tend to listen to podcasts about linguistics while I work). I quite enjoyed the challenge of cataloging the collection of Dr. Michel Philappart, who began collecting books as a child in WWII Belgium and who had quite a few extremely valuable and rare works in his collection, mainly in French. For example, a true first edition of Les Misérables by Victor Hugo and several very important medical texts were among his collection. I remember the Kehoe collection of aphorisms and quotes fondly, too, and there have been several interesting collections from smaller estates that were interesting just for their novelty.
The current collection I’m working on, however, interests me not one bit. I’ve tried, but paging through the books I’m more apt to grimace in disgust than to dig through the internet for more information about the topic. Yes, it is the aforementioned collection of sporting books. They range in topic from African big game hunting, to venison cookbooks, to training turkey hunting dogs, to making fishing lures, to bow-hunting, birding, grouse, bear, bucks… I’m not one to disparage anyone for their hobbies, since I have a few doozies of my own, but I just do not understand the appear. Going outside? Without internet? Where there are bugs and… nature?! Not for me! So, cataloging this collection has been a bit of a bore, and has also left me with a disinclination to take pictures of the books to fill up our Instagram account. While these might be great sellers for us (we’ve been selling them almost as fast as we’ve been able to list them online), I’ll be happy to go back to digging through our backlog of antiquarian medical texts, or French philosophy, or architecture. Or basically anything. While all books are interesting to SOMEONE, I think I’ll pass on the hunting and fishing stories.