The York Book Fair is nearly upon us and eager anticipation is everywhere on the rise. With over 200 booksellers (including several from overseas) York is easily the largest antiquarian book fair in Europe. Many bibliophiles will be travelling long distances to be there when the doors open at noon on Friday the 15th. And I, as usual will, be among them.
This year, however, I will be accompanied by Alasdair North, our CTO and the digital magician behind the viaLibri curtain.
Once inside, we will both be looking for books – I to resell (mostly), Al to collect. But we will both also be there with feedback about viaLibri at the top of our want lists. If anyone has questions about any of the things we do then we will be more than happy to take a break and try to answer them. That includes questions about building a new website or having links to your existing website included in our search results.
If you would like to have one of us drop by your stand during the fair just let me know. If you don’t have a stand we can meet with you in one of the cafés. If you like to plan ahead you can send a quick email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to get in touch just before or during the Fair then you can call me on my mobile: +44 7814 266 372. Either way we will be happy to hear from you.
Over the last several years much of our energy has been focused on trying to find new and better ways to connect viaLibri directly with the websites of individual booksellers. Our ultimate goal is to provide a place where all the world’s diverse antiquarian bookselling websites can be searched as one from a single online form. Today we are happy to announce another bit of progress towards that goal: we are now able to search websites built using either Shopify or WordPress/wooCommerce.
The popularity of these two platforms with booksellers has been apparent to us for a while now. Shopify has been especially attractive to that brave cohort of sellers who are at home with digital technology and unintimidated by the idea of building a website on their own. It is easy to use and remarkably affordable. There are lots of attractive templates available and a strong support community offers advice not just on technical issues but also on useful topics like marketing and analytics.
And now, if you own a Shopify site, viaLibri is ready to search it. A few tweaks are all that it needs.
We have also been long time fans of WordPress as a platform for building attractive and flexible bookselling sites. It is now the tool of choice for many commercial website developers. We know many booksellers who have gone this route and been very pleased the results. Until recently, the one big challenge for these sites was finding a reliable ecommerce plugin with a full-featured shopping cart and the ability to handle credit card sales. The wooCommerce plugin now fills that bill and many dealers are putting it to use. Those that do now have one additional benefit: installing wooCommerce allows viaLibri to search their site.
Either option provides an excellent way to get your website connected to viaLibri and Libribot. Once you have been set up the rest will happen automatically, without any additional effort on your part. Whatever is for sale on your website will also be for sale through viaLibri with a link directly to you. The monthly fee is only $25 ($250/year) including up to 10,000 books and all the other standard benefits of a Premium Services subscription. There is no set-up fee and you can cancel at any time with a full refund for whatever period remains on your subscription.
Get in touch with us for more information
Of course, there are still other ways to have us search your website. Most custom-built sites can be easily modified to allow harvesting. For this purpose we have created a special protocol and will be happy to supply the details and answer any questions about installation. It is also possible that your existing site has already been designed to allow viaLibri harvesting, in which case all we need is your access information.
But if you do not yet have your own website perhaps now is the time to take the plunge. We will be happy to build, manage and host your new website whenever you are ready. If you would like to learn more about our LibriDirect websites you can start here:
Websites by viaLibri
Whatever option you might choose is fine with us. We just hope you will join us someday soon, one way or another.
We are now posting regularly to Instagram. You will find us there as @vialibri. The main focus of our postings will be photos of unusual or graphically interesting early books and related items that have been found by visitors searching on our site. We hope to do this daily, and if we fail to keep that pace it will not be due to a lack of suitable material.
If you are not yet familiar with Instagram you may want to try visiting it now. There is already a large and active group of bibliophiles from around the world sharing interesting images there. The community of rare book librarians on Instagram is particularly active and eager to pull from their vaults many treasures that would otherwise be rarely seen. @americanantiquarian is a particular favourite of ours, but they are just one of many. The number of booksellers with interesting feeds is also impressive, although we must resist having favourites there.
viaLibri now also has a new feature created specifically for the benefit of our Instagram followers. You can now go to www.vialibri.net/instagram and find a graphic grid showing all the photos we have recently posted, with the most recent ones at the top. These photos are all linked to individual pages where the complete descriptions of the pictured items are given exactly as provided by the bookseller who offered them for sale. There is even a link for purchasing the item if it has not already been sold. A link to our photo grid is also included as part of our Instagram profile, or “bio,” page so that detailed bibliographic descriptions can be found only three clicks away from your feed.
Of course, you can also check out our most recent postings just by going to the page mentioned above. That would save you from ever having to actually go to the Instagram site itself; but then you would be missing out on all the fun.
Unless you have been paying very close attention you probably hadn’t noticed that viaLibri has recently started building websites. We are doing this, in particular, for booksellers who want to be connected directly to the collectors who find books to buy when searching on viaLibri. Of course, for several years now we have been “harvesting” data from existing individual websites and using it to create “Direct From Bookseller” purchase links. But for us to do that you already had to have your own website, and it needed to be set up in a certain way. Now, if you don’t have your own website we can go ahead and build one for you. And it will, of course, be fully connected to search results from viaLibri and the Libribot wants manager.
Today we launched one of these new websites for our old friend Janette Ray and are eager to invite all our followers to pay it a visit at www.janetteray.co.uk.
I have always enjoyed looking at Janette’s books at fairs, and have even visited her shop in distant York. Anyone with an interest in architecture, design, planning, landscape architecture or similar subjects should find click on her website to be worthwhile. You should also note that her books can only be purchased online directly from her site, and nowhere else. They will, of course, be searchable on viaLibri (as well as on the ILAB and ABA websites) but you have to go directly to Janette if you want to actually buy one.
And if you think you might want a website of your own like Janette’s you should get in touch. If you happen to be in London this weekend we will have a stand at Olympia and will be happy to discuss the possibilities (see our previous post). If you will be somewhere else this weekend you can always just contact us via email. We look forward to hearing from you either way.
We have just added ABC Antiquariat Marco Pinkus to the ranks of booksellers with websites being harvested and searched by viaLibri. Located in Zurich, Switzerland, they can now claim the honour of being the first Swiss booksellers to have their websites searched directly by viaLibri and Libribot. (I should note that the honours for the US, UK, Germany, Ireland, France, Denmark, Australia, and Italy have already been claimed).
You can, of course, find books directly on their website, abc-buch.ch, and we heartily encourage you to do so. Otherwise, the only place on the internet where you can currently search for their books is on viaLibri, and on the several ILAB sites whose search engines we built and maintain. So we are especially pleased have ABC Antiquariat Marco Pinkus as our newest partner and thank them for the confidence they have placed in us.
We have just added J & J Lubrano to the ever-growing list of booksellers whose individual websites are being searched directly by viaLibri. They have also just redesigned their site, so if you are interested in things related to music and dance you may want to pay them a visit.
In addition to being among the world’s foremost specialists in their field, they are also old friends we have known since our earliest days as booksellers in New England over 35 years ago. So we are more than usually happy to now welcome them on board.