Collectival: Writing Code That Sings to Antiquarians


                                                                                                                                               During the depths of winter six months ago, Schubertiade Music & Arts co-founders Gabe Boyers and Drew Massey debuted a preview version of their web-based cataloging software at the California Antiquarian Book Fair. On August 15, the software dubbed Collectival became available to antiquarian dealers with the goal of streamlining running a rare books shop from anywhere in the world.

The Newton, Massachusetts-based startup grew out of the growing needs of Schubertiade, a shop specializing in rare music and visual arts rarities. "As technology in other commerce domains gets better all the time, the tools for dealers of rare material such as art, antiques, and books has failed to keep pace with innovative business solutions we are seeing in these other sectors." said Massey earlier this month. Massey, who holds a doctorate from Harvard in historical musicology, wrote the code, while Boyers, a classically trained violinist, devised the various outward-facing features, like credit-card payments and ease-of-use functionality.

Boyers and Massey say that Collectival is the world's first completely cloud-based solution for dealers interested in managing inventory on multiple channels while working from a centralized catalog. Schubertiade is entirely run on Collectival, and in addition, the software has processed sales for private beta users worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Last year the entrepreneurs executed a sale taking place in their Newton shop while they were touring Big Sur ahead of the California Antiquarian Book Fair.

The technology isn't new, but applying it to the antiquarian book trade is, and Boyers and Massey are confident that Collectival will relieve dealers from mundane tasks like processing orders and organizing catalogs so that they can focus on other aspects of their businesses. "The trade in rare material is booming," said Boyers. "So why should it take thirty minutes to process orders?" Dealers only need a smartphone now to stay on top of their inventory and sales. Boyers and Massey hope Collectival will simplify what has traditionally been a complex process while bringing the book trade into the digital age. It is a surprising convergence of two worlds that shows great promise.

Collectival is available for a flat subscription price of $249 per month, which includes unlimited item listings and transactions. Clients can also seamlessly merge their current website with one powered by Collectival. Soon, the company will be providing a free online service to collectors interested in organizing and sharing their collections with others. For further information, visit or email Drew Massey at