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Discussion in 'Memorabilia, Media & Publications' started by BlythPower, 23 Dec 2016.
...according to their Facebook page.
I thought that the correct name was that of Crecy Publishing.
Site message is unclear about whether the sale includes the 2 remaining Ian Allan shops.
From the page linked to above:
So I assume they remain open. Curious they talk about '.....book and model shops.......will continue to be developed.' after closing the Manchester shop!
Strange mix of business activity
I believe Ian Allan himself was an active Freemason and probably saw a good business opportunity in developing a list for others involved in the 'craft'. Being a bookseller with an interest in public transport, I had a regular visit from an Ian Allan rep who did once mention the masonic books, and I did agree to take a small selection, as the local lodge was very near my shop. I seem to remember one individual bought all the titles, over a period of months, but I never reordered as I'm ambivalent (at best) over Freemasonry.
Ian Allan died earlier this year and it was common knowledge amongst railway booksellers etc,that once the old man was buried that the son who must be retiring age ,would unload with due speed....Don't forget that all railway titles were sold 3 years or so ago
Frankly the railway book market is in a terminal decline in the general sector,which is where the IA publications were aimed...Note it is the OPC and ABC imprints mentioned
It is the short run specialists such as Lightmoor/Black Dwarf,Oakwood although since sale some doubts and other small run publishers may survive.
Their books in recent years were always biggish runs,but very limited sales.
No after 70 years IA is dead long live ????
I suppose it will be a relief to some that at least the shops aren't closing. Although I'm sorry to say it, I'm not really sure how long they will last. With it being such a niche market.
Hope they're around for sometime, as they offer some unique books.
Thanks for the info here
Indeed and somewhat sadly perhaps, railway books in particular seem to be in almost terminal decline as already stated, along with one or two other similar niche areas. You just need to pop into the larger branches of W.H. Smtih' and you'll be lucky if there's half a shelf or so at best of rail related books available. Where as in the past there'd be a whole section or at least 3-4 shelves of titles.
I think the thing is the railways are gradually becoming less interesting. You know pretty much what kind of multiple unit is going to be on which clock face train service.
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What I mean is there is little to no deviation from the norm. If it is the half hourly Liverpool to Birmingham service it is going to be a 350 or it is going to be cancelled. You aren't going to get 56015 dropping on the front of a cross country service. You aren't going to get a pair of 20's on a Preston to Liverpool service, you aren't going to get a none eth 37 on a Liverpool to Cardiff.
It is not just transport books that have disappeared from WH Smith - they seem more interested in selling assorted "food" these days.
I don't think that's behind it at all - quite simply, 20, 30, 40 years ago you relied on books and pamphlets for information that nowadays can be shared online. There are many 'old school enthusiasts with large accumulated book collections but as they pass on these come on the market and are frankly vastly exceeding demand. Meanwhile, the enthusiast for the modern scene has forums, flickr, realtraintimes etc and doesn't need to go browsing in a bookshop to further their interest.
While I agree with this up to a point I do think that for "history" there is no substitute (so far!) for a well researched and written book. When I first became interested in railways I spent many months working my way through the local library's collection of the David & Charles series of regional railway histories. I do not think there has ever been any other publicly available resource which covered the subject so well and I regret not having purchased them later when funds became available. And I would suggest the same is true of locomotive histories too. I suspect that there is little appetite for reading such large bulks of information from a website. Perhaps some day these sorts of publications will become available as e-books, which ought to be the future for publications generally.
But when it comes to spotting ABCs there is no doubt that the internet is a much more reliable way of keeping up to date.
Whilst I see the general point, I'd say that the price of 2nd-hand railway books is as high as it's ever been, and certainly my local (non-railway-specialist) bookshops seem to have a pretty healthy turnover of such books, indicating that there's certainly a market for them.
There's certainly masses of factual stuff that can only be found in a book.
Whilst I can see things gradually going in the direction of internet / PDF / etc, I think we're still in the early stages of a fairly gradual process.
Bramling....The actual selling price for most s/hand railway books is very low.
As a secondhand rail bookseller on line,the average IA type book will make £5-£7 tops,and that usually includes postage ...It can be said that the only books that hold or increase there value are books such as Colin Giffords,Dow Great Central etc ,books that are unique histories ,unable to better as with Dows Great Centr 3 parter,books that are again unique and have controlled print runs,Like Halfway to Heaven.
Take it fro me,that over the years IA,D&C and SLP as example have printed large runs,for book clubs,thus completly killing the market in terms of holding value.
It takes the WSP approach of top quality,writing,checking of facts and in case of Paul Karau's WSP a unique and quirky way of printing/publication..
No there is too much junk being published at present,Paul Atterbury is one of the worst for this.
With the shake out of publishers ,I feel/know will be reduction of printing/publication of rail books...The quality operaters like WSP and say Black Dwarf will do well based on quality
Oh and David Allen at Booklaw is a bit of a pain as although he has an RRP on his new books,never sells at that,and allied with his reminder activities in the past has again knocked prices downwards!
Nowadays, there's nothing like sufficient interest in books to maintain second hand prices at anything above a token level. Quite simply too little demand against massive supply (executor sales and/or elderly moving to smaller accommodation). It's much the same with other collections (i.e die cast models - EFE, Corgi etc) where over-supply, declining interest and executor sales have killed off much of the market. Sites like Ebay only make matters worse as buyers looking for specific items can now just wait until it turns up - at a price they're happy to pay.
Rail book publishers might also start moving towards print-on-demand as well.
Interesting comments on the second hand book market. In the past I would wander into second hand book shops but few would have a decent quantity or quality of rail books and collectors fairs prices always seemed high. I now buy via eBay and ABC and because you tend to have a number of sellers for the same book prices can be more competitive. So is it supply of books has increased and demand fallen or that the internet is much more efficient at bringing buyers and sellers together that has led prices to fall?
As in other areas of collecting some dealers seem to be more interested in keeping stock moving and will sell low while others seem to have a fixed price in mind and you seem the same over priced it m sitting on the shelves or constantly being relisted for years
I am not sure if it has already been mentioned elsewhere on this site, but Oakwood and Wild Swan have also been sold in recent months, although their new owners intend to keep both "brands" alive.
That is all fair point; I was more referring to the more "specialist" books, like the WSPs and Oakwoods of the world, rather than necessarily some Ian Allan publications.
Having paid £75 for a couple of rarer second-hand hardbacks recently (albeit holding out for ones in "as new" condition), I wouldn't say that's particularly cheap! Likewise some second-hand Oakwood Books go for around £10, which to me is quite respectable.
I hope so because Oakwood have published some really good books in the past. One that really stands out is the Wirksworth Branch.
WSP cannot remain the same !...Paul Karau,did not use computers for setting and neither did he have a website...The takeover which I use in the loosest sense by the owner of the Titfield Thunderbolt Bookshop,Simon Castens ,has developed a website within the on line shop....The books I feel will I believe move away from the very dull feel of the Paul Karau/WSP books,this is evidenced with publication of a book by Peter Barnfield.
Oakwood....I don't know about this imprint as much ,but feel it will take time to get up and running ,as was a production line of books which were produced by a family group,the boss was mother who was 80 I believe when she sold out?
Middleton Press next ?....The main parties in this publisher are in the 70/80's
Bramling ...Just noticed your comment ref rare book prices....As a seller,3/4 years ago ,Colin Giffords in tip top order,Each A Glimpse say ,would have got £50 plus,now £25-£30...George Dows 3 part Great Central,original pre Ian Allan copies in mint order,easy a £100,now £60 and that is mint condition and poss inc postage....Yes you can do what the US sellers do on Amazon list @£200 ,and wait and wait,or similar on e-bay,but you just sit and wait..
Figures quoted are amounts I have received in last 3 months.
Sorrow customers 90 % of time won't pay stupid money on line...That is the nature of the beast!
Mentioned above are Ian Allan's old direct sales team, and W H Smith's reducing number of rail books. Probably connected. Ian Allan personally used to maintain a very substantial relationship, through his sales staff, with Smith's, they were of course their No 1 retailer, and shop decision making was significantly at the local level so regular calls and contacts very likely kept their stock to the forefront on the shelves.
Ian Allan wrote his own autobiography "Driven by Steam" some years ago and this regularly mentions the trade relationships they had with the print distribution trade.
I've been told that WHS store staff are now, at best, confined to choosing titles pertinent to their local area, and, even then, only from approved publishers, so the little local publisher is effectively excluded.
Yes and no. Here in Petersfield we have a very successful second hand bookshop run by John Anthony Portsmouth Football Club Westwood (yes that is his real name). People who really want a particular book will buy from specialist shops like his, but for mainstream stuff, yes the amount is only a token.
A great shame, the end of an era, still things move on and so many secondhand outlets exist on preserved railways now a days, offering very cheap books.