February 08, 2023

Hello Again

By Jane Liddle

More than a year has passed since I started Lightholder Books. I want to thank everyone who has bought books, sold me books, and spread the word. I want to thank the folks at Newburgh Vintage Emporium Warehouse for hosting my book booth. There’s a wider selection of inventory there so if you’re ever in upstate NY you should check it out.  When I started the website I envisioned writing regular blog posts/keeping up a newsletter, and maybe someday I will realize that vision. Instead I’ve been learning more about this trade, which I’m new to, but my past experience in the literary community and in book production had prepared me well. I’ve come to realize that although I am somewhat a generalist, my interest and knowledge lie in women writers and short story collections. Although I still plan to have a variety of books for sale, my goal is to be one of the go-to sellers for those subjects.

               Some things that I’ve learned this past year is to be patient when selling the rarer books. I just sold a Jane Austen set that I acquired in May, ten months ago. I reduced the price once, from $950 to $750 (or thereabouts) and was thinking about reducing it again. Then I saw the same set sell on ebth.com for $1150. That set consisted of later printings, but in much better condition. It had 37 bids on it. So I kept my price at $750 (actually $700 on my website, $750 on biblio.com, which is where it sold, and why you can’t see the set on my site anymore. I haven’t figured out how to mark something on my site as sold if it was sold somewhere else, so instead I delete the product) because it seemed fair. But I was unsure if I was overvaluing it because of the condition. Now that it’s sold I wonder if I undervalued it! Given the option, I’d rather undervalue and have the customer be happy, so I too am happy with the $750. I acquired it for only $5, after all. Most of my profit margins are much less than that.

               I’ve recently acquired two exciting lots. One of Simone de Beauvoir first U.S. editions and the other of Gertrude Stein first editions. Most of the de Beauvoir is listed on my site, except for her four memoirs. I am toying with the idea of selling them as a set instead of individually. Some of the Gertrude Stein’s have been listed, and more will be available in the coming weeks, including, yes, the first edition of Three Lives, her debut. Other books to look out for:  Viragos, some Dostoyevsky from Foreign Language Publishing House, Mary Webb, Japanese paperbacks, and more.

               Thanks again and happy reading!


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