Some people ask why we quote by project rather than advertising an hourly rate. It’s a fair question.
This description from colleague @organised.joy sums it up: when you hire me to sort out your books you’re hiring a quarter century of experience as a qualified librarian. Quoting by project means you don’t pay my expert fees when I’m not using that expertise.
Last week included a couple of mug sorting exercises with virtual clients, another shed tidy and helping to decide and carry out a picture hang. I love a bit of variety, and I love being able to sort the spaces around the books and papers – that’s how Tidy Beginnings started, helping existing private library clients with their non-library work too.
As a working class person I used to be terrified of services without set price lists. It took me years to realise that while some bespoke products had inflated prices, others were motivated by a desire to fit the project to the budget of the client, not the other way round. As a customer the most cost-efficient prices I’ve paid have been to businesses who work this way.
It’s been six months since Beginning Cataloguing opened for business, although we’d been gearing up and getting things ready for longer, of course. Today’s article provides a brief reflection on some things I’ve learned, in case they are of use to you.
Don’t worry – we’re not going down the road of product placement, shoe-horning links to, I don’t know, fishtanks or phishfood ice-cream into our writing. Several major book sites to which we link anyway – Abe, Abe UK, Betterworld Books, Foyles and Waterstones – offer affiliate links, and so all we’ve done is convert those. (See our book publications page for examples). We’re also not stopping linking to places that don’t offer affiliate links. Facet, who publish books by both Katharine Schopflin and me, will always be the first place we link for those books, and we’re still linking to WorldCat and other library catalogues.
The only change, from our point of view, is that when we link to Abe or Betterworld, for example, we’ll use the affiliate links they offer.
We continue to support independent bookshops, ordering directly from them where we can. However, I find Abe helpful to find rare books and, indeed, bookshops that are new to me. The books pictured in today’s shelfie were all tracked down via them this summer, when I had to replace the collection of old books that is still locked down in my old office, while campus is closed for Covid-19. I have supported Betterworld Books since it first launched, with its regular donations of books to others. It’s my preferred way to dispose of unwanted collections of textbooks, knowing most will find good homes.
I’ve commissioned Andy Horton (BPP University), who wrote his Masters thesis on corporate book donation schemes, to write a Beginnings article on this topic. I’m also commissioning some pieces on indies. If you have a favourite independent bookshop, especially if it trades in second-hand or rare books, and would like to submit a piece to the blog, do get in touch via email to find out about how we commission and remunerate guest posts.
If you have any concerns about our use of affiliate links, you can get in touch directly via info [at] beginningcataloguing.com