2017 is ending soon, and for me, at least, it has been the year of researching and listing books in French on our website. We bought a massive collection of medical and other collectible books from Dr. Michel Philippart. His collection is an incredible mix of antiquarian medical and philosophy books, and mid-20th century novels in French. I’ve really enjoyed listing it this past year, and I’ll get to continue for just a little bit into the upcoming year, too. I’ve even started trying to learn a little French, partially so I can better deal with listing books like this!
Let me tell you… getting started selling stuff on your own website is a lot more complicated than the pitch-men make it out to be.
The concept of Easy Street Rare Books came from my recent attendance at CABS, the yearly Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar this last July. Some of the other booksellers there ran their websites through Bibliopolis and had nothing but good things to say about them as a web developer and hosting company specialized in the book trade. The functionality of our website is all them and I think they did a good job.
There are a lot of obstacles to overcome, though. For example, we use an inventory management system called Monsoon to catalogue our books and we didn’t want to switch to the tools that Bibliopolis provides, since that would require re-indexing over half . Monsoon is for general inventory, not just books, so there are is a lot of extraneous information in their files. It took a bit to figure out how to configure our uploads to the website so they didn’t come out looking like a long stream of nonesense.
Another issue was working on a gateway between our bank and the website to be able to accept credit cards, which necessitated adding another company into the mix in Authorize.net to securely transfer the funds when people (hopefully!!!) start buying books. I am not at all savvy in the worlds of either technology or banking and trying to figure out everything I had to do to make this happen about made my head spin.
Finally, promoting the website to actually get people in here buying stuff is going to be my hardest challenge, I think. I’m getting the managers of our four store locations to promote us on their Facebook pages, but our brick-and-mortar stores are all discount and modern books, so I’m worried there won’t be enough crossover interest in the antiquarian market. I’ve also made an Istagram page and a Twitter account… but no followers yet. Also, we’ll see how this blog does!
Wish me luck!