Book Marks and Cover Illustrations: Still Selling Used Books on Amazon

bookmarks IMG_4018Bookmarks: they’re something I hadn’t thought of finding when I started going through Bob’s books. I guess I’ve always imagined that, unlike me, he finished everything he started, or maybe with his photographic memory he magically remembered what page he was on. Some of the markers I’ve found are common — advertisements, library inserts — and some are handwritten lists, a poignant reminder of our mortality that always stops me short, reminding me that the real reason I’m doing all this is that he’s not here to do it himself.shopping list IMG_4017

Some markers tell me what he was doing at the time. Here are some travel related ones that make it obvious. Trans World Airlines is gone now too, so these days we refer to this as “TWA memorabilia.”

TWA memorabilia: boarding pass and seat-occupied card.

I can’t remember the last time I saw a “seat occupied” card.

Anybody remember mimeographed copies? This next one takes me straight back to grade school, when the teacher would hand out copies of something and the first thing we did was smell them.

Mimeographed copy used as a bookmark, "The Law of Trivalence"

Someone should bottle mimeograph-scented perfume for Boomers.

As for the books themselves, here’s the inventive cover illustration of one I sold this week…Walter M. Miller is the author of A Canticle for Leibowitz (still on my for-sale shelf if you’re interested).Best of Walter M Miller IMG_4011I know if I had a new pair of boots, the first thing I’d do is put on my orange evening gown and (clutching my nearly naked boyfriend) go for a ride on a giant flying bug. What, wouldn’t you?

Especially if the bug had rockets on its butt! I wanted to find an attribution for this cover art. There was no listing inside the book, but Google led me to a great new discovery. Forget IMDB, who knew there was an ISFDB.org that lists all sorts of details about sci-fi lit? The site tells me: ‘Cover art not credited, but there is a truncated signature (“McA”) on the cover, which is assumed to stand for “Mara McAfee“.’ (b. 1929-d. 1984)  And now that I know, I see she also worked in film and is listed in IMDB too. Let’s appreciate it in detail…Best of Walter Miller detail IMG_4012As usual, I was sorry to let this go, but I have to think about how many books I still have listed and how long it’s going to take to sell them at the rate of 2-4 per week. Still, it’s worth it, even though now I’ll never know the story of the bug ride. I get a thrill every time I sell a book and know it’s going to someone who wants it.

But back to the bookmarks… I still have boxes of Bob’s books to go through, so who knows what I’ll find next. Bookmarks are one more thing we’re losing with the transition to e-readers. Until I make that switch, I’m going to start paying attention to my own bookmarks too. How about you?

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4 thoughts on “Book Marks and Cover Illustrations: Still Selling Used Books on Amazon

  1. Bookmarks are cool. We never come home from a trip without one or two. They are the perfect thing to collect as they are useful and take up no room. We even buy them for gifts. Today I had to go to the library to return books and I was inspired to take along one of our few remaining books to donate. As I leafed through it (Saul Bellow’s “Herzog”) I found a bookmark from the friends of the library store in Newport, Rhode Island where I must have bought the book. It brought back tons of memories of the delightful summer we spent there. So sell the books but keep the bookmarks.

    • What a great story about finding a bookmark! A while back I found some nice ones that I’d picked up over the years at writing conferences and sci-fi cons, but there were more than I might use, and I donated several to my library. They had a spot on the counter for them. But, of course I kept some favorites.

  2. I agree with what you said about getting a thrill when you sell something to someone who wants it. Although selling on eBay or Gumtree (or Amazon) is a bit more hassle than putting everything in a box and taking it to the charity shop, I like that everything goes to a grateful new owner, rather than languishing in a storeroom for months. I also think we have a duty to get rid of our old stuff responsibly and sending box after box to the charity shop doesn’t cut it in quite the same way – I’m sure most of us send stuff we hope other people might want, but we can never be completely sure that they will… Where we can I think we should take ownership of our stuff and actively (rather than passively) try to pass it on : )

    • I love finding good homes for things. It would be easier to just fill up boxes to donate, but (and you said it better) I feel responsible. Like you, I fear that stuff that isn’t “found” in charity stores gets sent to the landfill before too long if it doesn’t find an owner.

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