"No man but a blockhead ever blogged, except for money"

apologies to Dr. Johnson.

A topic recently popped its head up on the Bibliphilegroupand then promptly disappeared before I could tackle it to the ground and beat the hell out of it. So, I figured since I have been skating along on other people’s work for so very long – I’d try to do some before guilt drives me back to doing what I am getting paid to do.

How do blogs help used booksellers make money? Blogs certainly don’t make money in and of themselves regardless of how many Adsense ads you plaster all over it. (trust me – THIS I know. ) Blogs like a lot of Web 2.0 projects (myspace, flickr, youtube) are attention getting vehicles. Which is convenient since Generation 2.0 are a bunch of narcissistic little scruffs who do little more than work to get attention. Drawing a crowd is the same on the net as it is in the brick and mortar world: entertainment – show them something different they can’t see anywhere else – and THEN sell it to them.

When I first started flogging blogging to used booksellers, I likened a blog to a front window, and I still do. Use it as a adjunct to your ‘bookselling’ webpage, something that changes frequently, where your customers can take a peek to see if you had anything new that would draw them further in. Build a rapport with your customers, develop a REGULAR client base, something that is desperately needed on the net. Separate yourselves from the crowd, get and HOLD their attention.

A couple of ready examples of the ‘front window’ method of blogging are Joslin Hall’s Foggy Gates & BookRide. Pay them a visit. You will see they don’t just present the books as you would see listed in a bookseller’s database. They dress it up and make it dance. Each book listing has its vital statistics and images as well as leisurely essay telling you WHY you should buy this book. Just as you would find in the High End Booksellers Catalogs. And blogs are a hell of a lot cheaper than printing a slick catalog.
I have had a couple of items sitting on my desk that can confirm that this is a tried and true method. Goodspeed’s monthly publication ‘The Month at Goodspeeds’ which ran for at least 40 years (i don’t have the exact figures in my head today sorry) and Eastman Kodak’s Kodakery monthly publication which also lasted many decades. The more I look at them, the more they look like BLOGS to me.

They both were regularly published for the benefit of their customers and contain informative essays that can be enjoyed EVEN if the customer isn’t interested in buying anything. AND they both have advertisements in the back 8)

Granted Kodak had pretty much a captive audience, but the articles are more or less universal. It was a form of BLOGGING. Maintaining regular informal contact with their customers.

So, kiddies, that’s my advice, stop naval gazing and reporting other people’s news as news – and start using your blogs to flog yourself.

btw: i have about a dozen Month at Goodspeeds on my desk from the early 60s – I don’t need them all – so first come first serve at $5 each post paid.

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