Reading the blogs and newsletters of the book trade can be a bit depressing at times. Not a week goes by without someone bemoaning the death of the industry and the absolute futility of it all. It is no secret that a very large number of booksellers, especially of the rare and collectible ilk, are on the older end of the baby boom; and that many (but not all) seem to think that somewhere along the line everything went terribly wrong in raising the next generation.
To this I have two comments. First, doesn't that sounds oh so similar to what the parents of the boomers themselves may have said around the time of the Summer of Love? Second, I think the rare and collectible book trade will be just fine. For full disclosure I'm 30 years old and am the son of a baby boomer myself, so feel free to take my opinion with as many grains of salt as you see fit.
Rare books are expensive, even scarce books take a certain amount of patience to find and acquire. Rome was not built in a day, and neither was a quality book collection. Young adults and youth today care just as much about the written word and this website could even be the lynchpin of the argument. BookFinder.com was created in 1997 by a young 19-year-old college student named Anirvan because he was trying to complete his Doonesbury collection. Just because he didn't pick up a copy of the AB Bookman didn't make him any less of a collector.
This is why I am so happy to see latest series from The Fine Books Blog has where they are interviewing young folks in the book industry. Here you can read an interview with 22-year-old Ashley Loga who has embarked on a career in the rare book trade after attending the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar. Her view on the future of the rare book trade pretty much matches mine.
Being only 22, I am perhaps one of the youngest ones currently in the trade. Personally, I am tired of this defeatist attitude. I frequently come across people bemoaning the death of the business on the list-serves. This frustrates me greatly. Having a defeatist attitude only hinders the business and does not help it grow at all. Everyone says that people my age do not collect but this is untrue. I know quite a few people under the age of 30 who collect books and take pride in their collections. I think this view partially comes from a disconnect with the older age group and the younger age group. And partially from the fact that people my age do not have the funds to buy books on the higher end of prices. Book fair advertisements need to not only target the older crowd through newspaper advertisements but also find new ways to target people in their 20s and 30s. The customers' desires are merely shifting: the business is not dying.
You can read the whole article here. What"s your feeling?