Allington Antiquarian Books Expands Client List With The Curator's Eye The Curator's Eye recently sat down with dealer Stephen Johnson of Allington Antiquarian Books. The discussion covered Johnson's path and strategic addition of The Curator's Eye
News-Antique.com - Oct 29,2013 - The Curator’s Eye recently sat down with dealer Stephen Johnson of Allington Antiquarian Books in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. During the interview, the discussion covered Johnson’s path to becoming a rare book dealer and his strategic addition of The Curator’s Eye (http://www.CuratorsEye.com/) to his business practice.
From Student to Lawyer to Full-time Bookseller
Johnson says, “I have been buying and selling rare books since 1978 when, as a student at the University of Virginia, I wandered into a local bookshop and discovered shelf after shelf of rare and collectable books.” Even though “after graduation [he] worked for a couple of decades as a lawyer,” he stayed active in the trade and continued purchasing books for himself and for resale to other dealers. Happily, Johnson reports, “I gradually shifted my efforts away from lawyering to bookselling until bookselling became a full-time endeavor.”
The Era of the Online-only Storefront, Gone Global
Allington Antiquarian Books interacts with the book-collecting public through its own website, catalog mailings, and now by way of The Curator’s Eye. Though the company already “adheres to the high ethical standards of the Independent Online Booksellers Association,” Johnson reports an additional benefit, “I think that the quality of dealers on The Curator's Eye positively affects the items that I list and my own reputation as a bookseller.”
Forgoing a physical location, Johnson says, “gives me great flexibility.” In addition to allowing more time for family, Johnson “can leave town to exhibit at book fairs and to scout books without having to worry about a shop while away.” The Curator’s Eye expands the reach of Allington Books by implementing an extensive online advertising campaign which drives “potential customers who are, quite literally, from around the globe.”
Making the Best Use of Data-Driven Results
Johnson sees The Curator’s Eye as instrumental in “expanding my contact list.” Indeed, he reports, “I have made contact with approximately one hundred potential customers in only a few months of listing on The Curator's Eye.” He makes contact with these individuals “to inform them of the books I list both on The Curator's Eye and on my own site.” Unlike traditional e-commerce sites, The Curator’s Eye supports and encourages dealers to cultivate long-term relationships with buyers.
Most Popular Item: Steinbeck's The Vikings
According to Johnson, Allington Book’s most popular item on the site is “John Steinbeck's personal copy the typescript for his proposed play, The Vikings, a play which he began and did not complete. The typescript has received a very strong positive response, due, in my opinion, to Steinbeck's status as an author and the rarity of the typescript. As best I can determine, no other copies of it are known and it never has been published.”
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