Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Strange finds on the Internet and at home

Two finds to talk about today. One makes me crazy, one makes me hopeful.

Crazy first. Here goes:

If you want to be shocked, take a look at this Amazon page and check out the price differential between "new" and "used"

As I've mentioned before, my first book, Artistic License, was first published in hardcover in 2004, and then released in paperback. It's out of print now, but it's apparently still being sold. I noticed the prices on that link today. Seriously? Over $100 for a copy of Artistic License? Those sellers have got to be kidding. But then again, asking price isn't selling price. I have to admit I hope no one is buying copies at those inflated prices. Especially since the story is available as an ebook on BN.com and Amazon and Smashwords for $3.99. Full delivered price. Same story, same adventure. Different method of delivery.

Those prices made me crazy and I just had to vent.

Now... for the find that makes me hopeful.

My husband and I did some cleaning and purging this weekend. Lots of "stuff" we forgot we had. One of the boxes we started through was labeled "Pictures of people we don't know." It's exactly that. My grandparents kept lots and lots of photos - great, old-fashioned portraits of weddings and other milestone events. I'm sure they knew all these people. Some years back I asked an aunt and uncle if they recognized these folks and we were able to put names to some of the faces. But there still remain a lot of photos of people we just don't know.

I've decided to post a few here and hope that in this wonderful connected world called the Internet, somebody may recognize a friend or family member from way back. If we can make a match, I would be more than happy to return a photo to its surviving family members.

Look at the wedding photo above. The poor bride looks bored out of her mind, doesn't she? Not particularly happy, either. The flowers are amazing, though. I'm assuming she had four bridesmaids and the photographer scattered them about to add interest to the picture. 

The photographer, if you can't make it out, is Gatkowski Studio, 1946 West 21st Street, Chicago. "Near Robey" whatever that means. 

Some hints: I'd bet that most, if not all, these people lived in the Chicago area in the early part of the 20th century. I'd also bet most were of Polish descent. I'll put a couple up here today and see where it goes (if anywhere).

The family portrait to the left was taken by Smit & Young, 9035 Commercial, South Chicago.

For those of you not from the area, these two studios - both on the south side - are pretty far apart.

Oh, and I have PLENTY more where these came from.

(Click on photos to see them close up)


Anonymous said...


I'm chuckling over your amazement on the pricing of your first book. I didn't check the listings, but when an author becomes popular, the prices of their books on the "used" or "collectible" market go up, and up, and up. I know because years ago I had a small bookstore for four years, and I specialized in signed first editions.

Would it amaze you to know that a copy of Michael Connelly's first book is going for $3,500? A friend of mine still in the bookselling biz e-mailed me just yesterday saying he'd taken a book on consignment and listed it for $3,500. Unfortunately, it only sold for $1,000, which surprised him, but with the economy the way it is, they sold it.

Sure the content of your first book is available again but a diehard collector wants THE first edition, signed if at all possible. They want to own the earliest state of the book that they can. Many collectors also collect ARCs or proofs because they are even earlier states of the books. It is interesting to follow the process of how the book changed.

So please don't be upset. Be impressed that your first book is selling at such a good price! It's an indication of your popularity or saleability (is that a word?) or the investment value in your book.

Bottom line is -- if you find a box of first editions, never, ever throw them out!!

Live Out Loud said...

Yes, I agree with Sandie. People aren't paying that price for the content but the fact that it's a first. It's also out of print - that makes the value go up. You're popular and have a strong fan base!!

And good luck with identifying the people in the photos. My grandmother passed away recently and my Dad always asked her to write who was who in the photos and she never did. Now no one knows. I suggested he post them on Geni so other family members around the world could possibly help - I guess great minds think alike!!

Annie C said...

Robey is the original name for Damen Avenue :)

Good luck with IDing the old photos. I had a similar find in the 1990s, and fortunately found an elder relative in England (since deceased) who could identify most for me.

We need to remember to write info on the backs of our own old pix... you think you'll always know who was who in the photo, but pretty good chance you may not and it helps the next generations!


Julie Hyzy said...

Sandie - I do happen to have some old first editions here, but I highly doubt anyone will beat down my door to get them
You and Jennifer (Live Out Loud) are probably both right about people wanting originals, though. I can understand that for - say - Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton, among others. But not me. Maybe someday (a girl can dream, right?), but not yet.

Annie C. - Thanks! I didn't know Damen ever had a different name. Learn something new every day!

The lesson I'm taking away from all this makes me want to scurry to my photo boxes and begin labeling old photographs for my kids' sakes. Soon.
Good thing it's easy to label digital shots these days. I've made backup copies on DVDs because you never know when a hard drive might crash!

Thanks for the comments!