Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is one of the books that sparked my lover for reading at a young age.  I fell in love with the mysteries that Holmes and Watson got caught up in.  I have read all of the stories several times, so when I heard of a modern spin-off series, I was intrigued.  I approached A Study in Charlotte with caution, thinking that nothing could compare to the original masterpiece by Conan Doyle.  I had low expectations to say the least, but what I discovered rocked me to the core.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Trading Pages

A Beginner's Guide to #booksfortrade

Book trading makes up a major part of the bookish community.  In fact, trading has become so popular in recent years due to the rise in social media that it has never been easier to find those elusive unicorns that seemed to be out of reach.  For those who are not familiar with the term unicorn, it refers to a book or series that is incredibly rare and difficult to find.  For example, an Advance Reader's Copy or ARC of one of the Harry Potter books is considered a unicorn due to the popularity of the series and the fact that it was published 10-20 years ago.

For this article, I interviewed ten active traders to find out some of the best tips and secrets for new traders in search of their favorite books.  These ten were selected at random while browsing the #booksfortrade tag on Twitter, and their trading experience ranges from two months to two years and have traded over 1700 books collectively.  They all graciously agreed to help me answer some of the burning questions new traders harbor, so that we can build a brighter future for the trading community (#MakeTradingGreatAgain lol).

What is the first thing to consider when getting involved in book trading?

The first thing you need to do is come up with a Wish-List (WL) and Trade-List (TL).  The WL is comprised of books that you are currently looking for and are willing to trade for.  This list is sectioned off into different categories based on their level of importance to the trader.  A few of the basic categories include: High Priority, Mid Priority, Low Priority, etc.  The TL is typically a bookstack picture of books that you have to trade.  Although traders usually use pictures for their Trade-List, a printed list is acceptable.  However, you will need to provide pictures of the books in question for those who are interested in trading.

After you find a book on your WL that is up for trade, make sure you decide on what you are willing to trade in return.  Once you offer another trader a book of your own and they accept, it is not polite to take back your offer.  Taking back an offer like this is one way to get blackballed in the trading community, and once you are labeled as a bad trader it is extremely difficult to recover from that reputation.

Bookstack: @darkmaterialss

How do you recognize bad traders?

Bad traders can come in many varieties.  Some will try to finalize a trade and seem to drop off the face of the earth after they receive their book without ever sending their end of the trade.  Bad traders are cunning and manipulative.  They will do anything from sweet-talking to bullying in order to get what they want.  "Never let anyone pressure you into a trade you don't want," advised Kelly (@kbarina113).  You have the freedom to trade for what you want, because at the end of the day, your happiness in a trade is what matters.

Additionally, always be on the lookout for suspicious traders.  "There are definitely scammers with anything, so you need to be careful," adds Christina (@CAhnBooks). 

How difficult is it to find a unicorn?

Since everyone has a different interpretation of a unicorn, it is very likely to come across a unicorn.  However, some of the more widely classified unicorns such as Harry Potter ARCs  may be harder to come by, but not impossible.  Sometimes you have to really dig deep and trade two Finished Copies (FC) for one ARC.  This is a common trading tactic simply because of the supply-demand dynamic.

Wishlist: @BwBtrades
How do you initiate a trade?

When another trader posts their books for trade, they will also attach his or her WL.  You will need to look at the list to see if you have something they want.  If not, you may be able to ask the trader if he or she is willing to look at what you have to offer.  Then you will either comment on the trader's post or send him or her a private message where you show what you have to offer.  Sometimes a trade will be quick in a whole "I'll trade you this for that," "Sure," kind of deal, while other times it takes time and negotiation.  "Just be patient," Dee (@BooksbyDee) comments.

During the trading process, it is important to remember to be considerate of other traders.  Do not ask anything unreasonable of a trader.  For example, do not request to trade a true unicorn for three FCs and another ARC.  That is simply absurd.  You also need to try to grant a trader's request.  "If they only want DMs... [or] if they'll only ship certain places, ignoring them or demanding changes won't make them more inclined to trade," JJ (@darkmaterialss) explains.

Are there any rules to book trading?

Yes.  The main rule is DO NOT BUY OR SELL ARCs!!  Did those in the back hear me?  Never under any circumstances is it acceptable to exchange an ARC for monetary value.  Not only is it unethical because the author does not receive the payment that they rightfully deserve, it is also illegal.  This is the one of the top ways to be blackballed from the trading community and  there is no excuse for it.  Anyone caught selling, buying, or requesting to buy, will be blocked from trading groups and added to the list of Bad Traders.  

Although this may not technically be a rule, you should always be respectful to other traders.  One of my interviewees who wished to remain anonymous stated, "Courtesy goes a long way.  Don't talk about other traders behind their backs.  Be nice and understanding."  There is so much truth to that statement.  We are all here because we love books, so we have to keep other traders' thoughts and concerns in mind.  "I think the book community is probably more trustworthy than other communities, because we are really in it for the books, and overall, most of these books are not that valuable, only to those who love them," Christina so elegantly put it.  And she is 100% correct.  The book trading community is one of the best you will ever find, but we have to treat each other with respect or we will turn into another one of those drama-filled, boy band following fangirls that annoy everyone on the internet.

After all that has been explained, the most important thing that you need to know is to simply have fun!  If you are not having fun trading and expanding your personal library, then there is no point in doing it at all.

A special thank you to my fellow traders who took the time to talk with me.  This article would be baseless without their input.  Our discussions were enlightening, which is why I am dedicating this article to each of you.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Let the record show that I have never been a fan of historical fiction novels.  Until Stalking Jack the Ripper strolled into my life, that is.  Kerri Maniscalco's enticing words grabbed my by the throat and stole the air from my lungs.  My heart and soul were fully immersed in this novel until the very last syllable.  She brilliantly brought the lovely Audrey Rose Wadsworth and the ever so charming Thomas Cresswell to life in this re-imagined historical tale of the infamous serial murderer, Jack the Ripper.  This book was simply a masterpiece; I am afraid I am finding it difficult to describe just how fantastical this book truly is.  In the forward, James Patterson wrote, "Kerri's clever, vibrant voice and unerring grasp of suspense and emotion came through right from those opening words," and I could not agree more.