I know you’ll probably faint from shock when you read this, but I am actually working on the Dante catalogue Tuesday. (I’m posting this Monday night, but when most of you read this it will be Tuesday.)
It is the first time I have written a print catalogue.
It is also the first time I have scanned images for print and for pdf.
It is also the first time I have had to use a computer to do layout.
Since I learn my tech skills as I go, you can probably understand why compiling this catalogue takes time. Just when I think it will be simple, new questions arise every day.
Here’s today’s catalogue challenge: When one compiles a catalogue of 50 or so works by the same author — Dante Alighieri — how does one alphabetize the items?
Well, with the exceptions of one or two items, they are all by Dante Alighieri, so that doesn’t help give any organization.
This is a possibility, but then some items that should be near each other — maybe they have the same illustrator or the same translator — won’t be near each other.
This seems a good way to go, as my catalogue features illustrated and unusual editions of the works of Dante Alighieri. However, there are a few items which are not illustrated. How would I place those?
This could work, for the editions I own in translation. However, I don’t think a potential customer will be searching for a particular translator, so I think it’s not an efficient way to organize the books.
By the Book Fair approach?
You are probably familiar with my thoughts on arranging shelves for book fairs. If not, you’ll know that I organize the books on the shelves at a book fair for their visual impact. I sort the books into general subjects — decorative bindings, western Americana, pioneer women, etc. but don’t alphabetize them at all. I shelve the books with pretty covers face out. Other books go spine out to fill in spaces between the face-out books. For the Dante catalogue, I plan to have images of most, if not all, of the books. Perhaps I should arrange for visual impact alone? That does make it somewhat difficult, though, for a person looking for a specific item.
By date published?
This is an interesting way to catalogue the books, because it will visually show the way that illustrators chose to portray Dante’s works over the centuries. Still, what would I then do with the non-illustrated copies?
By some other form of organization that hasn’t occurred to me?
Have any of you booksellers compiled a catalogue of items by one author before? Have any of you book collectors received a catalogue of items by a single author? What would make it easy or difficult to use? If you can offer any ideas, I’d love to hear how you think I should arrange the catalogue items. If you are so inclined, you can leave a comment below. Thanks in advance.