Thursday, October 05, 2006

Edward Gorey gave me a friend

A few years back I acquired a signed Edward Gorey book, Category, or CATEGOR Y (Gotham Book Mart & Gallery, Inc., NY, 1973). I researched it and offered it for sale, first on ebay, with no bites, then through various bookseller listing sites. One day I got an email from a potential customer who wanted photos of the tiny flaws that existed, including a light smudge from Gorey's signature on the facing page. That killed the deal for him. And that's turned out to be one of the better sales I never made! The next potential customer that came along also requested photos after we played phone tag and I offered to email a few digital shots to help with the decision. This was a collector item priced well over $200 and I wanted the customer to know what she was getting, as much as she could via the Internet. After some careful thought and some discounted pricing, she pulled the trigger and bought the book. We corresponded several times more about an edition question pertaining to the book and again on something Gorey-related a couple of times during the next year. Eventually, another book order (Gorey, of course!) and more emails, which grew more personal, as the death of a family member delayed fullfillment of the order. Condolences and health chat followed. Pretty soon we were corresponding on a regular basis about family, work, news about our respected parts of the world--all the usual things friends might get into during conversation. And we realized we had indeed formed a nice friendship. All thanks to a little book Edward Gorey wrote. Many readers and collectors subscribe to the philosophy that a good book is like a good friend. And so it goes that good books can also create good friends.

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