AE Monthly

New Letter

Letters to the Editor

. September 09, 2005

Hello


I could not thoroughly scan your article on ABE. I have been spouting this for several years (your first article). Client - dealer relationship is the most important. I learned this in 1970 while working for Caravan-Maritime Books in Jamaca, Queens NY for several years. They bought low and sold high, High but the material - just lucious (from 1600s to 1950s). This was one of the very best maritime firms in the US at that time. Today as Oceanside Books I have been in business since 1973 and the credo is client - dealer and quality of the scarce book is most important. Thank you for the articles and keep pressing on.


Adrienne

Oceanside Books

Cleveland, GA (formerly NY)


Handle September 04, 2005

I am a book collecter and have found ABE to be a good resource when looking for scarce titles and trying to determine the fair market value of a book. I've purchased books via ABE for many years and enjoy the direct dealer contact. I recently tried to contact a dealer about a listed book and was met with a pop up requiring me to register with ABE before they would pass along my inquiry to the dealer. I'm not interested in getting junk email and the net result was a dealer lost a probable sale. If the present trend continues, I'm looking forward to the new web service that replicates the old ABE service connecting customers and dealers. Perhaps ABAA could provide the service by opening up their listings to non-members for a fixed fee. Collectors would flock to the site if the data base of books made the visit worthwhile.

Ken Chinn


. September 04, 2005

As a small specialist bookseller in the UK I found your recent article
about ABE hit a vital nail precisely on its head. As with so many things
in a market economy, service becomes increasingly secondary to profit. It is in the hands of we the clients to ensure direct contact with buyers remains possible, without it ABE does not merit our continued patronage. Thank you for such necessary, salutary plain speaking.

Peter McEwan (Dr)


. September 02, 2005

Dear Mr. McKinney,

Many thanks to you for your fine, incisive articles, and your own ideas about abebooks. Frustrated, I was flailing about whether to strike my effigy of GWB or delete all of abe from my hard drive.



Now that I have found reason via your articles and wonderful Sept. AE Monthly, I am becalmed, and hasten to inform you how much your monthlies add to this bookseller's pleasure.



Cordially,
Clare Van Norman, Jr.


J September 02, 2005

Thanks for lengthy appraisal of Abe. I wrote them 3 times asking why my inventory had vanished, never got a direct answer. Just an evasive one.

However, I also do not like your patronising attitude toward "amateurs" as you style us. OK, I buy books at book sales, and sell on Abe, but if I buy cheap, I sell cheap, and usually to pros, who, let's face it, could not do without scouts. And have you ever tried to sell a book to a pro bookseller...who could all get Oscars in the film trade? Here is just one story. I offered a fine signed Freddie Forsyth on Abe to a dealer for just ten pounds. He bitched about paying the true postal rate, and demanded a discount. On ten pounds? So, I offered to take the book from Spain to UK and post to him from there, which would have been a lot cheaper for him, less convenient for me.
Guess what...he still wanted dealer discount for something he probably would sell at twice or three times what it cost him. Then there was the UK dealer who adopted a mortified expression when offered Flying Finish, the early Dick Francis, as if he already had 40 copies unsold on his shelves. So, no crocodile tears for dealers from me.


. September 02, 2005

GREAT articles on ABE.

Thanks.

Barry Cook


. September 02, 2005

Dear Mr Mckinney,

Thank you so much for those most interesting articles, especially the
two on Abebooks. Being a secondhand bookseller I found the information
very interesting and useful. I had been beginning to wonder about these
issues lately myself.

Best wishes,

Ann Bolton

Lake Daylesford Book Barn

Victoria, Australia


. September 01, 2005

Dear Bruce --

Thanks for the excellent articles about abebooks. We (High Meadows Natural History Books) joined abe in 1997, and we even visited their ever-growing headquarters in Victoria a couple of years ago. We were treated royally by the kids (97 of them!) who made up their staff, but I was dismayed by the pervasive lack of bookselling knowledge among the personnel and the obvious empire-building that was underway. I did not feel that the firm would stay in the collectible book business for long, and by now, we get the feeling that we are involved in just another commodity market.

It's not as much fun for us now, so we are going to cash out at years's end. No problem, as I am the science director for a large conservation organization, and bookselling has represented only a minor portion of our income, but we will remember fondly the days of Bibliofind and abebooks back when their single server kept going down all the time.

Meanwhile, AE Monthly is a splendid concoction, and I hope to meet you in person someday to thank you for it.

Best regards,

Lloyd Kiff

High Meadows Natural History Books

Star, Idaho


. September 01, 2005

RE: Abe on the wild side

ABE is only one of many listing agents availabe to sellers. My colleague sells more collectable books on other sites now than on ABE. ABE needs to provide sales to dealers so we stay with them. $25 a month keeps us around out of laziness. If they want higher fees for more expensive books thay have to prove to us sales will make this profitable. ABE's past performance indicates it would fail.

ABE envies the other sites their commissions and hopes for growth. But what do they offer dealers? Just internet listing space. And for small dealers, sales processing.

ABE's growth target is already dominated by Amazon and B&N and others. Claiming a share will not be easy. ABE depends on their dealers, and would bankrupt tomorrow if a large number left. Yet their actions and policies stir dealers to look elsewhere.

Dealers do not mind selling only on commission if it is in our interest. Internet book sales are just a small fraction of the book business, and is a selling tool like anything else. ABE should remember it's just a tool.

Joe Linzalone

Wolfshead Gallery


. September 01, 2005

I would like to congratulate you on two excellent and well-balanced
articles on ABE in the September issue . However, there are a few comments I would like to add, from the perspective of a long time seller on ABE.

First of all, I appreciate the fact that you focused on the most important issue, which is the difference in motivation and interest between different types of sellers on ABE. My only comment would be that the "antiquarian" seller category - that is, one where customers are the focus and not simply the sale of a book - is quite a bit broader than using the term "antiquarian" implies. There are many sellers like ourselves who have both a carefully chosen selection of good reading books, but not especially valuable ones, where often a sale is simply a "one-time" event, and also a selection of both more expensive and much more uncommon books. I use the term "traditional" bookseller for ourselves and those I see as similar in commitment to customers and knowledge of books and bookselling.

However, one of the things to keep in mind, is that ABE (under its original ownership) did not begin charging a commission on sales as a way to increase revenue, but as a way to enable it to successfully compete in the internet advertising world which is heavily dependent on affiliate commissions. The first commission rate was 5% - and ABE began offering 5% for affiliate fees (then dropped to 3%) - Of course, this did enhance the revenues for ABE since even though they might have been paying out all of the commissions they earned for a new buyer to find ABE, some of those buyers would come back to ABE on their own and eventually sales overall would increase. Initially, ABE even offered a benefit that recognized that its booksellers are a large base of buyers who do not cost ABE an affiliate commission and so commissions were waived on bookseller-to-bookseller transactions. This enabled booksellers to keep offering the traditional trade discount to other sellers, if they wished.

When the commission rate was increased to 8%, this bookseller to bookseller benefit was eliminated.

Thus the original intent of introducing commissions into the "fee mix" was benign: it was intended to increase sales and not just revenues at ABE. Although for most sellers it was a significant increase in expenses (it more than tripled our average monthly fees), many saw an increase in sales also.

It was also emphasized that ABE kept a mixture of flat fees and commissions because it was acting in a dual capacity - it was selling individual books, through affiliates, etc - and it was also enabling booksellers to advertise their business as a whole and attract prospective customers directly. So while some transactions might have been "commission-free" they were not "free" but paid for by the flat fees.

ABE claims that its 8% is "low" compared to other fee structures. It is, but barely: the 15% charged by Amazon and Alibris include credit card processing fees, while ABE charges an additional 5.5% for those sellers who wish to use this (still) optional feature, for a total of 13.5%. Moreover, ABE has a minimum 50c commission, so when one of the numerous "under $6" books listed on the site is sold, the commission rate is much higher than 8% - in fact, up to 50%. (To be fair, it also caps the commission at $40 per item, so very expensive books are charged at a much lower rate).

Also not mentioned in your article is the fact that ABE is no longer owned by the Canadian entrepreneurs who wanted to provide a service to booksellers and make some money doing so; it is now a subsidiary of a German media conglomerate and the bottom line rules!

Finally, let's look at what I consider the real problem at ABE - and that is the claim of 70 million books being offered for sale. When ABE started, each book listed on the site represented a book sitting in a bookseller's store or warehouse or garage. That is still true of many sites - like the ABAA/ILAB site, the new IOBAbooks.com site, the long standing AntiQbook site, and others - but it is no longer true of ABE.

ABE had a "one book, one listing" rule. ABE specifically prohibited data consolidators, relisters, and others who did not actually have the books they were selling.

In April of 2004, the booksellers' performance standards were modified to remove those prohibitions. In order to attract sellers of new books, ABE permits the uploading of a data file which is nothing more than a listing of the in-print books which that seller can access through a wholesaler who will provide shipping fulfillment. The "bookseller" is not making an investment in purchasing books: no books are actually purchased until an order comes in. Should these be included in the 70 million?

The situation gets murkier: some of these data uploaders list the same title at different prices - more than expected retail, at "retail" or discounted - one title: 3 listings. Some list them at one price with free shipping included, and another price with shipping extra. And more than one seller is listing many of the books.

A search for a relatively new in-print book might have 40 results. Of those 40 "listings" perhaps 10 are actually physical books sitting in the stock of an independent bookseller - whether a seller who maintains a store which sells both used and new books, as well as listing on line, or a seller who has a signed first edition, or a seller who has a used copy of this book on hand. The bulk of the "results" simply mean that the "seller" will order this from the wholesaler if an order comes in.

Many of the "books" listed on ABE are print on demand copies, photocopies or ebooks of titles in the public domain. These do not exist until an order comes in for one of them - should these be included in the 70 million claim?

For traditional booksellers like us, the discontent began long before the current "upgrades" - the root of this discontent is in the rapidly declining standards of what used to be an excellent marketplace for both buyers and sellers.

While I might still recommend that a buyer use ABE to find an uncommon book, my recommendation is now hedged with qualifications -



Christine Volk

bookfever.com


. September 01, 2005

Bibliofind and ABE were similar services and when one was bought and converted, used booksellers were left with ABE, but that was ok as they did a good job. ABE appears to want to compete with Amazon and B&N, from the latest listing changes.

The sales commission fee is now at 8%, and $25 per month listing fee. The slow but deliberate removal of customer contact from dealers is the main problem.

Professional dealers depend on relationships with customers to flourish in business. No collector can form a great collection without the expertise and assistance of a good dealer.

Dealers labor at entering these listings in an accurate and enticing way. Dealers bear the expense of acquiring and holding inventory, shipping to customers, giving advice, and other aspects. ABE just provides an internet listing site, like anyone with expertise could create. Amazon and B&N are still best known to the public.

As ABE has vastly increased its listing dealers (and fee income) many are now inexpert. Current changes are aimed at them so they can avoid mistakes, and at professional dealers limiting customer contact to protect their fees, which damages our business.

Professional dealers no longer list all their best books on ABE. This trend began long ago and is increasing. Eventually ABE will ask too much of dealers and everyone will switch to another listing site, with dire results for ABE. They seem to forget their income is based on our work and inventory.

Joe Linzalone

Wolfshead Gallery


Bookseller September 01, 2005

What's really going on at abe is that they are positioning themselves for an IPO...and to get the highest price they have to show a history of increasing profits to prove they are a "growth" business. That gets them a higher multiple and higher price for their stock. How do I know this? I just surmise it as a businessman. Remember, abe prices started going up when the book people who founded it ceded control to a businessman who smelled money--not from the salary he would make but from the millions he will reap when abe goes public..


. September 01, 2005

Thanks for the great article on the changes at abe. I suppose I fall somewhere in the middle of the two types of dealers. I have 20 years experience as a librarian and a bookseller in my spare time but I never seem to get hold of antiquarian books to resell so I just make do with the ordinary type.


Some dealers on abe have started listing their phone numbers with their name on the first page of the book search so they can instigate early contact. I wait to see if abe stops this.


Meryll Williams

Rainy Day Books (Australia)


rwest August 01, 2005

Many thanks for your thoughtful review of Mott's great work, A History of American Magazines. You are right that magazines are disregarded by a large portion of the book dealer population. They are also disregarded by a large portion of the collecting population. Why do first printings of American authors in book form -- such as Poe's "The Raven" -- command values ten to one hundred times greater than the pre-publication first printings of those same works in magazines? If priority is the issue, the magazine appearance wins. If condition is the issue, finding a wrappered copy of a 19th century magazine in fine condition is far more difficult than finding a book in similar condition. If rarity is the issue, it is at least as diffult if not more so locating that wrappered copy over the bound one. So why this discrepancy? I believe this is because the book market is well-established and the dealers knowledgeable. They have educated the market. When more book dealers cultivate an interest in American magazines and help their customers see their value, bibliographically, historically, and aesthetically, the market will follow.

Keep up the good work.

Rich West

PERIODYSSEY

Specializing in Important and Unusual American Magazines.


. July 06, 2005

Hi


I must say that I keep your e-mails on the computer for some time. I find them quite useful and thank you, thank you, thank you. I have recently returned to my former company name "Oceanside Books, Inc." and have been in business since 1973. Again thank you.


Adrienne

Oceanside Books, Inc.


PS: Grove St Bookshop did not help my business. Name recognition was the problem.


. July 02, 2005

Mrs. Goldschmidt's relating of their belief in condition, history and importance determining the value of an item reminds me of a story. I was at that time (the early 1970s) working at my "day" job in the computer systems department of a New York City bank. One of my co-workers had acquired the detritus of the estate of the father of her former husband and was looking to sell the small collection of prints it contained. I recognized the importance of many of the images, although the overall conditions of the impressions were poor to average. Nevertheless, I asked Mr. Goldschmidt if he would be interested in having a look, and he replied that he would. I remember him trekking down to the teens of the West Side of Manhattan on a stifling summer's day, and climbing three or four flights of stairs to my co-worker's apartment. He was dressed, of course, in a three-piece woolen suit and tie (He did actually take his jacket off in the apartment, which was not air-conditioned, as I recall). He spent about an hour going through the material and offered to buy three or four prints at a price which my co-worker accepted. I then casually asked him why he chose not to purchase several of the others, which happened to be celebrated images by Rembrandt, Durer and the like. Of course I thought I knew what his explanation would be, and was asking the question for the benefit of my co-worker. His reply was memorable, however: "If one day the collector to whom I might sell one of these pieces was asked, 'Where did you get this print?' I would not want him to have to say 'Goldschmidt'."


Sincerely,

Joel Rudikoff


P.S. In the story about the "Corsair" system, congratulations in correctly referring to Pierpont Morgan, the father, and J.P. Morgan, the son. It happens so infrequently these days.


. June 06, 2005

Article re phishing.


Many thanks for the warnings. Just a note to say that both e-bay and paypal request that the recipient of requests for updating info should forward the spoof email to them, as it is, before deletion so that they can check it out and act.


addresses: for those in UK

spoof@paypal.com
spoof@ebay.co.uk


Regards

Elizabeth


. June 02, 2005

Ref M-Bags..........(June 2005 issue of AE Monthly)



We have them too here in the UK. I use them to send to my regular foreign customers. Unfortunately we have to have a "destination sort" contract with the Royal Mail to spend GBP 2500 (nigh on $5000 at present) before we get to use this particular service. We also get to do all the bagging and tagging ourselves, and account for the services through a posting docket book. They go at three speeds, Economy, Standard, and Priority.



As for packaging boxes to go in M-Bags - I would recommend the following:



* Wrap all valuable items singly in strong bubble-wrap before putting in box.

* For less valuable items make sure page edges of books are away from each other, spines towards each other inside the box.

* Use a strong box.

* Use lots of brown tape to seal all edges and in all directions.



I would apply these procedures to all mailings of books in boxes by any method, but especially to M-Bags as these sacks get thrown violently onto vehicles and shipping containers, a good number of times on their journey. My international customers frequently commend my packaging, whereas some books coming from USA by this method (even in strong boxes) have come to grief. I particularly remember some expensive edge-bound photocopy reproductions of old books that my father ordered for resale. A good number of them arrived with the plastic edge-binders broken (studs snapped etc).



Kind regards



Peter Reynolds

www.peterreynoldsbooks.co.uk


. June 02, 2005

Dear Mr. McKinney,

Michael Stillman's review of my little "publishing promotions" catalog was greatly appreciated. To be included among rather spectacular catalogs by some of our finest booksellers was indeed a thrill. I read every word of AE for the knowledge to be gained to be sure, but as with Michael's review the writing is generally of very high quality and hard to put down (so to speak).

As a new dealer and a fairly specialized one - mostly modern poetry, I have not yet become a "full-fledged" member of AE's community. You have and are certainly helping me more than I could ever have expected.

Thank you. Please thank Michael for his review and for understanding that some of those little items may be quite collectible some day.

Best regards,

Mark Alexander - Alexander Rare Books


. June 02, 2005

Hi Bruce:

I have been receiving your monthly publication for at least a year (I think it started arriving last February--2004, but I could be wrong) and I want to thank you for the excellent articles and for their content and scope.

Like most older dealers, I started out of my house in 1961 running a part-time book search service. In those days, this consisted of writing lots of letters to lots of dealers looking for a specific title or author, according to the wants of a few "customers". Sales were few, but I met a lot of nice dealers around the world as I specialized in polar expeditions for 30 years.

Now that we have www, the trade has changed considerably, as you are well aware. Now, a dealer can reach any house in the world to inquire about their inventory, or a host of other items. It has made the task much easier, and also damned near unnecessary.

I still have several clients who are interested in special areas of collecting and call upon me to help them, but generally the e-bay culture has made it so easy to find out if a volume is available in a matter of minutes, instead of days. Additionally the ability to search using the ABE and other book listings make pricing much easier.

Again, I want to thank you for your excellent service. I am interested in joining your service, if you would be kind enough to direct me to the proper search entry. Meanwhile, thank you for the articles and for the consistent updates on items of interest. Best wishes.

Ron Weir
Collector's Cache
Roseburg, OR., 97470


. June 02, 2005

I would like to thank Renee Magriel Roberts for her article mentioning
U-PIC Insurance Services. We do take great pride in providing our
clients with the best rates and fast turn around on claims. From the
article we have had two inquires so far as to what our insurance can do
for them. I would like to send a thank you to Renee Roberts for
referring business to us. Again, Many Thanks!


. June 02, 2005

RE: "M is for M-Bag" by Renee Magriel Roberts from June 2005 AE Monthly.

You might be interested to know that Australia Post has this same type of shipping. It is called Print post direct bag international. It is seamail to most of the world but airmail is available to Asia. Minimum of 5 kilo, maximum of 16 kilo. Cost seamail $4.95au per kilo (minimum $24.75au), cost airmail $6au per kilo (minumum charge $30au).


Thanks for an interesting newsletter.


. May 24, 2005

I am sending this note to suggest another topic for a future article.

Would you discuss the workings of m-bags? My post office is clueless about this so I can't ask them. How fast are they?

Regards!

Mary

for

Angie's Bookshelf


Editor's Note: Renee Roberts will be writing about this topic for the June 2005 edition of AE Monthly.


? February 01, 2005

Says who Mr. Stillman? hmmmmm........why not just toss all those original oil paintings from Rembrandt and Van Gogh and, aw what the heck, ya don't need to preserve those Pyramids down in Egypt and while your at it, that Colliseum in Rome and Acropo-whatever-they-call-it over there in Athens, well, hell, the historians can study the digitized parts of it. We need parking lots to park the cars with all the people Mr. Stillman thinks should be using their time and money more "productively". Go figure.


Response:

The above comments pertain to the last paragraph of the article on recent book thefts. Click here to read the article.

The paragraph discussed questioned the importance of libraries having vast sums of money tied up in rare old books in the digital age, as these books become readily available in digitized form online. I think the writer has somewhat misunderstood my point. The issue is not whether these old books should be preserved. It is a question of what role a particular library sees itself playing in its community. To the extent it sees its role as preservation of physical copies, something like a museum, its rare book collections remain relevant. However, if a library sees its role as providing information to its patrons, in this case, the information within these books, then investing large sums in rare old books may no longer make sense. Buying one of the few, expensive copies extant of an old book made sense when this was the only way to make its text available to patrons or researchers, but once the library can make that text available in other, less expensive ways, it may choose to shift some of those dollars from purchasing expensive physical copies to making additional text and information from less expensive sources (digital) available to its patrons. Again, it's a matter of what the individual library sees as its role, and if it is both providing information and preservation, just what that balance should be.

Mike Stillman


a December 19, 2004

Your reviewer, Ms. Roberts, seems to have gotten what we intended from the major works, but we find the tone in reviewing Book Collecting for Fun & Profit to be somewhat less positive.

Understand we do not wish to pick a fight with an organization that's provided free positive publicity for our publications, but we are obligated to defend our work.

Specific disagreements:

1. Our revision was prepared in 2001 for 2002 publication. How then could we be "ignoring" your web site, which we cannot find existed before 2002, the date of your earliest monthly issue? In 2001, far less was available on the internet than is now. Google was one of a dozen or so search engines out there, not the predominant first choice it is now. And the information available in 2001 was also of varying completeness, accuracy and universality. So while the number of resources on the internet has increased, we did not "ignore" the basic resource that the internet is, though we did not mention specifically all of possibly useful sites for reasons of space availability. Should we prepare a third edition, we would naturally point to the internet as a great resource for bibliographical information. {Though just now, I could not find an on-line bibliography with descriptive information and points of issue of either Mark Twain or William Faulkner available as an on-line resource. Hmmmmmm.]

2. "Tantalizing" reference to changing "browsing as we know it"? Glad to tantalize, but I think the conclusion is clearly stated without belaboring it.

3. Everyone starts as an "amateur" in the pure sense of the word and all its radiated meanings: one who loves the activity for its own sake, not for profit. Our guide was for just such a person, one who loves books and loves finding them, touching them, reading them, using them for their intended purpose, and then, perhaps, valuing them as rarities. We wrote this book for the beginner, yet included information that I do not believe any bookseller, regardless of experience, would know automatically. One of those who read the text was Everett Whitlock, manager for almost 50 years of Whitlock Farm Booksellers in Bethany, Connecticut, and whose family was in the rare book business for all of the 20th Century and part of the 19th and 21st. He found information about terminology with which he was unfamiliar. So, thin as it is, our book contains the starting point for anyone, regardless of experience, from none to lots, to begin collecting with some knowledge at hand.

4. Our statements on valuing are "simplistic"? In what way? Are they inaccurate? Is the list incomplete as to what makes a book valuable? Is the list in the wrong order? What further should we have included? Criticism without correction is valueless for both your audience and for the author always seeking a better product.

5. "Post your best and see what happens" is "silly and inadequate"? Again, lacking the Great Corrector's Red Pencil, I would need to know at least a tantalizing hint of what would have been preferred.

In today's internet book market, there is a huge saturation of almost any title from $5-$500 in current market value, and many even highly valued and priced items.

Two examples:

A fellow bookdealer not involved in rare books is offered a set of the works of Charles Dudley Warner, limited edition of 612 sets with volume 1 containing a CDW-related original manuscript page and in fine leather bindings. Containing two works co-authored with Mark Twain, a desirable set, of which a scant number were printed. Rare? One would think. The dealer asked me to help determine value. A quick look on ABEbooks found at least a dozen sets from $650-2500! Valuable, one would agree, but desirable, maybe not. This illustrates our basic statement that rarity does not equal value.

A local museum mounts a major exhibition; a fat catalog is prepared with a definitive text. One printing is made, fixing the quantity available. Some years later, an unknown cataloguer is the very first to put this item for sale on the internet and unilaterally decides the book is worth, say, $300.00. All cataloguers from then on would use that price as a benchmark, though that would not necessarily mean the book is worth, on average, $300.00. Only that all copies catalogued would be worth more or less than $300.00 based on condition and seller's desire to sell. But if nobody finds this book worth $300, here's what happens: anyone cataloguing it from then on, who looks it up before posting his copy, would add to the quantity available. But not necessarily add to the placement of any copy in the hands of someone who wanted or needed it because the price would still be beyond what any buyer would agree that it is worth. Fortunately, the establishment of such benchmarks is becoming harder and harder to create as almost any title is available with multiple copies to choose from. But the principle sustains.

All goods being equal, if they ever are in used anything, nobody smarter than a geranium would seek anything but the best price/best condition combination. But to compete (meaning: sell books) in such an overloaded marketplace as a seller, one needs to consider whether the desire to receive the top price for a given item is more or less important that getting any price at all, that is, selling it. So the seller is guided in our book to get his books out there and let the marketplace decide if his are the ones to buy. Evaluate, grade, describe, price, post. Again, a geranium can do it. And what could be more obvious?

6. Shipping? In thirty years of packing and shipping books as we describe, we have never had a book
lost, damaged or found to have arrived in anything but completely acceptable condition anywhere in
the world. As to what is the "well-presented product" I cannot imagine. If that means wrapping in tissue, then brown paper, then bubblewrap, then a double box, sure that looks great on arrival. But what's wanted is not the elaborate overkill of wrappings, but what's inside. Once the wraps are off, they are discarded. Our intent was to descibe a safe, efficient, simple way to pack and ship, one that cannot endanger the books, and one proven successful for a long time. Maybe "well-presented" means a battery-powered fanfare that plays when shipments are opened? Tut-tut-ta-DAAAAAAAAAA!

[Note: This letter continued in next message]


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