The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Bookselling Tools: Book Cradle and Page Weight

Taking attractive, professional photos can be a chore when you have a stack of 50 books to get through. Especially as a one man (only two-handed) operation. Here are a couple of tools that make it a little easier.


The book cradle display is from Gaylord Library Supply. They are often used to show-off illustrated volumes at book shows. The concave shape hold the book in a natural open position, without stressing the binding, and the gap at the bottom middle prevents pressure on the foot of the spine. If you have a decorative/antique lectern this would work (and make a more attractive photo prop) but they aren't as gentle on book bindings.

The page weight I found at a stoop sale but they also have them at Gaylord (a different variety). It's just two flat lead weights covered in suede (to prevent marring). You could probably make something similar with a nice length of finished hardwood or an antique wooden ruler (which would serve the double purpose of showing the books dimensions).

Here's how you use them:


Much easier (and nicer) than trying to hold the book open with your hand and ending up with a blurry photo, or a potential bidder fixating on your hang-nail.

I use three clip-on lamps (arrayed at 10, 12 and 2 o'clock) with 150 Watt bulbs. Then align, crop and tweak in photoshop.


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