Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Rarity of the Day - RADs

Beginning in 1995, The Family Album started selecting unusual
interesting books from our stock.
We posted detailed descriptions
and brief historical background
discussions about them
to various sites as
the Rarity of the Day (RAD).

A group of about 200 collectors, booksellers, and librarians
also subscribed for individual EMailings of these offerings.

The RADs took a lot of work and time,
but preparing them allowed me to indulge my love
of research, and my desire to put these old books in
understandable historical and cultural contexts...
as well as make jumps in conceptualization
that provided them with renewed relevance.

Sales were gratifying, though it seemed that many people
didn't really think of ordering -
they just liked reading the descriptive text.
I was told by them that the RADs were one of the most
entertaining and educational things that they found on the 'net
in those relatively early days.

The speed of this new EMail medium (pre-EBay)
brought excitement and a vital exchange of ideas to the
staid world of traditional antiquarian bookselling.

After over twenty-five years in this ancient and honorable
business, I really felt that I was in at the begining of a new
adventure that would transform the book collecting world.

It did - but I did not go along for most of the ride.

The RADs slowed down in 1998 and
were gone by 2000.

In July 1998 we bought (at auction) an old stone grist mill,
and spent the next year and a half restoring much of it
and converting it into our residence and book shop.
[More about the Mill in future postings]

There just was no time for the RADs.

But the mill is in pretty good shape now,
and I'm thinking of starting up the RADs again.

Let me know if you think that you'd like to
get them when they are resurrected.

For a look at some old RADs please check out the title index:

and/or the author index:


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