Chapter 652 Catalogue #2, First Steps

Those of you who are longtime readers of this blog know that Catalogue #1 (aka the Dante Catalgoue) took me [wince] three years to complete. It is now almost 1 1/2 years since I released Catalogue #1.  You’ll note that until now I’ve been smart enough not to announce Catalogue #2. I worry that if I announced Catalogue #2, I might attract questions, questions for which I have few answers. Questions like, “What’s the topic of Catalogue #2?” or “When will Catalogue #2 be issued?” or “Will Catalogue #2 do as well as the Dante Catalogue?”  The last thing I want to do is to run into other booksellers at book fairs and have to explain why I am still not finished with a catalogue on which I started to work a long time ago. I generally stay away from the topic of catalogues unless someone else brings it up first. Or I just carelessly and irrationally blurt it out due to being in a situation where I feel shy and socially awkward. (See link above.)

Fear and avoidance and buying books have allowed me to put off actually writing Catalogue #2 for a while now. However, the recent realization that the relaxed schedule of summer gives me the extra time needed to write an entire catalogue made me reach the conclusion that if I don’t discuss Catalogue #2 with someone (that would be you, dear reader, my captive audience), I may not ever begin to work on it.  Not discussing the catalogue allows me to keep putting off writing it. Telling others about the catalogue makes me accountable. I’ve had a subject for Catalogue #2 for over a year now, and I’ve been in the acquisition phase during that time, researching, buying, and holding items that I think would be a good fit for this catalogue.  Without saying much about the topic just yet, I’ll let you know where I am in the process. It’s my goal to have 100 items for Catalogue #2. I think I have acquired or am close to acquiring that many items. I haven’t kept count on what I’ve bought. Once I buy a book for the catalogue, it gets unpacked and stored on a special bookcase, where I forget all about it while I do other things like plan to attend book fairs, quote and sell books to existing customers, and cook dinners and drive carpools — pretty much anything but sit down and write the catalogue. I’ve decided that the time is finally right.  I need to do several things to get started on making this collection into a curated catalogue.

Step 1:  Go back and re-read what Rostenberg and Stern had to say about bookseller catalogues.

Step 2:  Go back and re-read what I had to say about why booksellers should issue print catalogues and on what I think makes a good bookseller catalogue.

Step 3:  Clear off the dining-room table in my “office” (read: dining room) and lay out each item I have collected. Count to see how many items I have.

Step 4:  Look at and evaluate the collection as a whole. Is it really worthy of the time and money spent on creating a print catalogue? This part can be difficult. Undoubtedly, there will be a few items that end up being culled from the collection, things that seemed right when I bought them that no longer seem to fit the parameters of the project.  The up-side to this is that when I have everything laid out in front of me, I can determine pretty quickly which items will be the “high spots” of the catalogue.

The subject of Catalogue #2 will be revealed in due time.  I’ll be back after I complete steps 1-4, above, to let you  know how many items I have.

See you in the stacks!

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