Book People | May 2009 | Ian J. Kahn

Bookish people in the strangest places...

Biblio-folk are showing up in interesting places these days. I joined Facebook a long time ago...and largely ignored it until relatively recently. Over the past several months, however, there has been a tremendous surge in book people (dealers/collectors/etc) who seem to be coming out of the woodwork. The ABAA now has a FB Page (as does Lux Mentis), ready for "Fans" to join and follow, as does Fine Books & Collections. The Rare Book School's Page has nearly 450 Fans... There are also many...many...many groups that are biblio-theme, from collecting to author-specific to elements of the craft.

When I started poking about FB, there were *very* few book dealers who had accounts, now there are literally too many count. Some are active, some on personally, others professionally and some just lurk...but there are a remarkable number of the biblio-crowd on FB and more joining every day. It is rapidly becoming a vibrant network to keep your pulse on the doings of the trade, hobby and/or obsession.

Linked-In is another site I've been for a very long time...more actively when I did more consulting work, but I kept my profile active and periodically checked on bookish elements there. Recently, in addition to a number of "serious" dealers beginning to be found there, more than one "book group" has formed (admittedly, one by me).

Last for today, and certainly not least, is Twitter. I am quite fond of it, as it updates nicely from my iPhone and auto-updates my FB page, killing two feeds with one, so to speak. A considerable number of people are beginning to use it in interesting ways. Publishers are using it around news, booksellers are carefully using it for traffic and sales (a tricky issue, as there is a general "anti-commercial" use sentiment...but very effective in good hands, as here). Personally, I find I tend to post biblio-related missives with a bit of news and a bit of "things that amuse/annoy me"....and I tend to most enjoy those who do the same.

There are beginning to be some good focus-centers for books Twitterers. WeFollow has a well developed "Bookseller" tag (we can be found on page two). There is also a "BookCollecting" tag that I am experimenting with...

Potentially more useful (and still "emerging") is Twibes, where tweets that share common words can be grouped for easy review. See: Books, BookCollecting, BookDealers and/or Librarians (the last very active, with over 700 members).

This, in addition to the various blogs that are out there...many feeding each other. One of the nice things, frankly, with FB is that many/most of the best book blogs are either mirrored there or are part of NetworkedBlogs there, streamlining one's reading/following (though not, at this point, entirely replacing a good RSS reading).

There is a tremendous abundance of bookish news, personal and professional. Enjoy the data-stream...