I have tried to make these bibliographies as useful as possible to the collector, and secondarily as useful as possible for fellow booksellers. They are not intended to be complete, academic bibliographies, but rather a reference for quick and easy identification of various editions, utilizing the accessibility and speed of the Internet. Any errors are bound to be my own, and not the fault of those truly professional bibliographers I have cited.
I am not a professional bibliographer. I started as a book collector, and graduated (some might say deteriorated) into being a bookseller. I bought my first bibliographies more than a decade ago. I don't know if it is sign of the collector or the seller inside my psyche, but I treasure these volumes as much or even more than the "first editions." Over the years, vast amounts of bibliographic information has been made available on the Internet. But in many instances, these "bibliographies" are little more than checklists, with the most cursory information provided about publisher and year of publication, if that. There are notable exceptions, but they seldom dealt with my field of interest, noir fiction. Sparked by a seminar/discussion that psthomas and I hosted on the eBay Book Board, I decided to build this web site, and provide bibliographic information to collectors and booksellers.
Many booksellers do not agree with sharing bibliographic information. They have invested much time and money over the years in building up a stock of information, whether it resides on their shelves or in their brains. They see this information as an investment, and don't want it passed about freely. But IMHO the cat is already out of the bag. Even those who don't believe that information should be shared freely are having a difficult time fighting the enormity of the information highway. The information has become available, if in no other way than through the listings on eBay and ABE.com. The future is here, and if it sometimes gives more advantage to the collector than the dealer, so be it.
As to fair use--my first consideration is always--am I depriving an author of any income. Most bibliographies are printed in very limited numbers, are sold immediately to libraries, dealers, and the most serious of collectors. They seldom are reprinted. If I choose to reprint some of the information from a bibliography on the Internet, it is extremely unlikely that I am depriving the author of the slightest bit of income. As long as I give credit, I am doing nothing more than adding to the original author's credibility and bankability.
My second consideration goes to exclusivity. Were I to purchase the latest copy of a Matthew J. Bruccoli descriptive bibliography, scan it, and publish it on the Internet, I would have crossed the line of fair use. But I was taught, and believe, that one can not copyright a fact. The Battle of Hastings took place in 1066 AD. While you might choose to argue with me about the accuracy of that statement, you may not challenge my right to state it. Similarly, if I state that The Big Sleep was first published in New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1939, you may argue, but there is no copyright infringement. I am just stating a fact. I will confess that many of the facts in these bibliographies are a synthesis that relies heavily upon the various works by Bruccoli, and the articles by Otto Penzler about collecting mystery fiction published in "The Armchair Detective." But in every instance I've done my best to double check with various online sources, my own collections, and other references. In addition, I have made every effort to identify those sources which aided me in preparing these bibliographies, whether online or textual, and have included the citations in the individual bibliographies.
As to the graphics--I've taken scans from my own collections, scans of pictures included in my reference library, and scans that I've downloaded from the Internet. I believe that if anyone owns the rights to a paperback cover or dust jacket art, it would be either the artist, or the original publisher. At no time will I ever offer an out-of-print or collectible book for sale, without providing a scan of the actual book available. If I'm offering a new book for sale, via affiliation with amazon.com, I may link to their cover scan of the book. But in the bibliographies, the scans are just provided for informational purposes.
I truly believe that I could publish everything within these web pages in a textual, paper edition, and fall within all the mandates of "fair use" under copyright law. But if anyone out there feels I've violated their copyright, let me know. It won't even take a "cease and desist" letter. I will pull the material immediately.
June 18, 2001
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