Market Forecast: Stable and Sustainable Growth

When analyzing an economic concern, one likes to see stable and sustainable growth. If rare book catalogs can be read as economic indicators (and they can), then Brian Cassidy appears to be on his way to reaching the Fortune 500 of booksellers. See

In each and every catalog Brian has put out, there has been an increase in the quality of books, in the breadth and depth of selection, and in the level of bibliographic detail. His latest catalog is one more step up the booksellers' ladder.

Full disclosure: To some extent this review is insider trading. I am friends with Brian. We go out to lunch. His number is on my speed dial and he has to suffer through late night talks when I am wrestling with a case of Natty Boh in my alley and I get a hankering for book talk. So on a personal level I am invested in seeing Brian succeed, but even the most casual observer can not help but notice the step up in Brian's latest catalog. To take just one example, the Warhol material is stunning and meticulously presented. It should be noted that Brian can write and has a fine research library at his disposal. He is not afraid to use it. The Warhol alone would set off the catalog but look how he plays Pop along side Outsider Art in the entry on the train collection. Thus the catalog comes across as a seamless whole. What holds it all together is Brian's eye for the "intrinsically interesting."

What makes Brian so exciting as a bookseller is that he is historically aware. Brian knows deeply the tradition of bookselling and he studies and respects it. Best of all Brian is ambitious. Yes to be financially successful, but more importantly to make a mark, to leave a legacy in the trade. Let me be clear this latest catalog by Brian does not rank with Division Leap's Art Terrorism in Ohio catalog. Adam and Kate's catalog will become an essential reference and it is a key document (not to mention their other creative publications, like Division Leap Magazine) by an emerging group of young booksellers currently on the scene. Brian is in this group but he has yet to arrive with such a definitive statement. Yet based on this latest catalog, I would expect that statement sooner rather than later. Keep an eye on him. What he does next is sure to be interesting and informative.



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