32511 Antique books.
A time ago we were celebrating the 150 years of Portobello Road In the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, once famous for his long line of antique shops, but what we see now is the closure of an arcade after another one shop after another, long established businesses gone. We did see the same, with the would have been 82 years old Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair but in 2009, the organisers announced it was too close for good, citing declining profit, increased costs and demands on the space for closure. While at the same time in that period the Portobello traders were up in arms after the chain store, All Saints, replaced the 40-stall Lipka antiques arcade this March, leaving more than 150 traders without a home. The Portobello market we so loved and admired is long gone even long before the 150 year celebration. With the full help and permission of the Borough. A new arcade was build at the Longlands Estate however the rental prices are as such that only the richest or the over enthusiasts can afford renting it, further demolishing what once was the tourist traction point in Europe and America, Now only groups of Southern Europeans are walking, but mostly buying nothing.
Many small businesses are simple priced out by the greed of the Landlords who demand to have a higher return on their massive multi-million pound investments, whether it’s the exhibition space or the retail space, and the central government as well Local government stand by and do nothing. Man traders said the rent is too high the restrictions by landlords to severe and the change of public from buyers to sightseers have made it impossible to continuing. The Westbourne Grove near the Portobello road was famous for their quality antique, and the around the corner in Ledbury road the so famously visible antique shops in the antique series of Lovejoy Antique, are gone, replaced by textile and cloth shops, as is on the Westbourne grove.
It is only the tip of the iceberg in an industry that has been in decline for some time with a 21 per cent reduction in UK sales last year and the Antiques Collectors' Club reporting a 7 per cent fall in the price of antique furniture. The largest drop ever recorded was the biggest ever 12-month drop in the index, it can put down to a slowly disappearing buying public the introducing of fake antiques and the decline of bidding at auctions which effect the retail outlets turn over. The question that does remain is; what now where lies the future of antiques? Is the once thriving and peculiarly British trade on its way out, and with it the Baroque shop fronts, eccentric stall holders and rummaging punters? It is like the antique book trade nearly gone, traders in the famous Jones arcade told us that on a Saturday they are lucky to sell three books, very lucky. DXit the profit fall, the rent prices did reach new heights.
There is no good news and only bad news, thousands of books for one to three euro’s/pounds/dollars and many rare titles are even at half the price on offer as of the antique trade the books are hit hardest Where they original for filling up the book walls of the stately homes and even sometimes for reading, that wall filling is now replaced by wall coverings looking like book filled shelf’s. Book sellers even from the West countries did travel to the Portobello road in the hope to sell books, but all of them on independent stall are now gone except one, but even he admits that he sells more sideline articles then books.
The Executive Board of the Association of Internet booksellers sees the industry as a whole in danger, the "Classic Antiquarian beings will continue decimated", entangled in a fight that is not to be won anymore. This has worked out having to deal with the dealers as customers which with the coming of the internet appear as a pure blessing seemed at first. Because with the advent of the Internet reached the booksellers suddenly much more customers than with the hitherto usual shipping its catalogues. Antiquarian’s offer there their books, customers can there price, compare features and condition of books, hitting on merchants whose stores have probably never found or operate at all, only by mail order. Meanwhile, it is estimate that in the EU alone a 4500 dealers are offering their books online and more are entering almost weekly. Now, the Cid 19 or the corona virus as it is known has emptied the road almost completely, with only a couple of vegetables stall open.
Others like Amazon, Gumtree and Ebay have entered the fray, when speaking with dealers, many complain about the changed in the past year terms, and clients are surprised that she no longer has to just order, but need to create an account. Sometimes however the booksellers are suspected suggesting their clients that there are cheaper books when ordered through the platform of their organizations such as the book antiquarian and others which are operated by them. But the reasons that the antiquarians give their clients have less to do with the question of how they are organised but whether there is an alternative, but with the development of commercially at all, which has initiated the Internet. Since anyone can offer online second-hand with little effort, the prices are dropped overall - especially for books, the exception being some selected examples are keeping their prices on antiquarian book market in descent range. However even the most fanatic book antiquarian must now sell three times as much as before decade to only keep the revenue.
We speak then a downward price spiral between antiquarians unanimously, and each customer can easily check who seeks finds the book they seek in a paperback at a price of one percent of the original antique price. Some books such as the collection of Hogarth ten years ago still at a £150 is now down to a mere £50 if lucky, and the beautiful thin print classic’s are partly already for five euro’s yours to have - thirty years ago you had to pay about three times as much for it. Profit may be, however, even with one percent profit books achieve thin in hand. On the one hand, if the seller has received the book for free, with a budget resolution or simply by people who have become smaller and do not want their treasures thrown on the rubbish. On the other hand, it could be that the flat rate for postage and packaging exceed the costs of the book.
When looking at the costs to get the book, have it catalogued and presented then you have to set a realistic price that contains all the costs you have to make including the taxes to be paid, then even with the best will in the world a book has to fetch at least ten Pounds/Euro’s/dollars. And that all has little to do with the online trading and much more of the initial costs of obtaining the item that needs selling. As a status symbol, it seems, is no longer good for the printed book. That the upstart, the sooner the meter ordered books for the shelves of their law firm in the bookseller content no matter the main thing, Leatherback, now order, nothing more, you will probably get over, even if it manifests itself in the balance sheet. The rescue, so it was a year ago written in a mainstream media, was possibly the specialization of booksellers on bibliophile treasures. However even here the price lays flat and a 150 year old bible in perfect condition in the original wooden box costing 10 years ago around £250 is not on auctions for a mere £35.
Others rely on the magic of a winding store business with piles of books and hope that there are still book lovers. And some dream of somewhere to rent a warehouse that cram packed with valuable editions to them when the nightmare is eventually passed to offer expensive. It was probably never as low to add itself a wonderful collection of books, as in our time. Fairs, too, are becoming an increasingly important part of the antique and antique books even on the fine art markets, with recent figures from the British Antique Dealers' Association suggesting more than a quarter of all sales are now completed at industry events, and new fairs cropping up all the time.
The first Art Antiques London fair, set up by London-based international fair organisers, Brian and Anna Haughton, the Masterpiece of London, which founders did hope would become one of the most prestigious antiques shows in the calendar, did open between in June at the Former Chelsea Barracks. The new West London Art & Antiques Fair, has just taken place at, and elsewhere, Arthur Swallow, organiser of the enormous antiques and collector's event at the Lincolnshire Showground, has announced that he will be launching two new antiques fairs this year, in Yorkshire and Derby. While the Kempton park race course two monthly antique fair has grown almost out of space, but prices are bottom line paying halve prices for articles which should fetch much higher prices.
While fairs and online auctions are in no way a replacement for the markets and smaller antique shops, which may not be able to afford to exhibit at fairs or pay the surcharges of auctions which are now on some already reaching 20%, although the 15% is common on top of the buying price plus some VAT making the item not worth to brought anymore. The open so-called antique fair are buds of hope in a culture that is starting to protest about its IKEA only name tag but cheap is still the tag on it. While the Portobello traders fight for their livelihoods, an Antiques Are Green movement is underway, celebrating the longevity of antiques as things that will appreciate, rather than depreciate in value, so is the hope and expectations. However we fear that this is still many, many years away.
The taste of people is changing, money is scares, it has to be new and from a on the TV announced name otherwise it is not good enough to be showed off to friends, but the desire of people to seek and find something has not gone away completely, some standards are still there. Young people are aware that a vast amount of the material available for them to buy is just junk made for very little in the Far East and sold at inflated prices, but it nonetheless remains junk. However they also realise that buying a good antique book, antique furniture you're not only shopping in a more ethical and environmentally aware way, but you are likely to get most of your money back, if not more, when you come to sell it. We can only hope that in time common sense will prevail and a partly restoration of the antique market will still be possible in the future.