A presentation copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence became Peter Harrington’s biggest ticket Instagram sale to date when it was snapped up for more than £30,000 this summer. celebrate selling key items online from social media to online fairs
It was inscribed by the author to publisher Edward Titus and accompanied by a typed letter from Lawrence to Titus from 1929.
The Mayfair bookseller has been looking for more ways to capitalise on the digital market since lockdown began. It recently launched its first interactive digital catalogue, which focuses on the Indian sub-continent, and is one of the dealers taking part in Amor Librorum Nos Unit.
Although the shop has reopened, Pom Harrington says that “online will continue to be key while people get comfortable venturing outdoors again”.
He adds: “The current situation has encouraged some of our more traditional customers to make the move online, which we expect will open up many interesting new avenues to reach out to book-lovers.
“We’ve known it for a number of years and the coronavirus crisis has only accelerated a move that was inevitable. While a physical store isn’t going anywhere for the moment, booksellers need to be online – ultimately, that’s where our customers are.”
Many of LAPADA’s recent efforts for members have been web-based, starting with a series of mid-lockdown webinars on how to work, market and sell art and antiques online. It followed with another series dubbed LAPADA Leaders, which features CEO Freya Simms in conversation with figures such as Tristram Hunt of the V&A. More episodes are planned for the coming months, covering subjects such as tech, jewellery and fashion.
Simms said: “Since the start of lockdown LAPADA has positively encouraged its members to find new routes to market, increase their digital footprint and market themselves more effectively, as we know how important it is that they are able to access potential clients and new buyers at this challenging time.
“This remains vital, particularly as these members have also lost the lifeline of live events for the immediate future.”
Among those reinventing their online presence is Kevin Page Oriental Art in Islington’s Camden Passage. “We are open for business and customers are very welcome to come and visit the gallery, but it is very much ‘by appointment only’,” says the firm’s Matthew de Boise. “We are not quite back at the gallery every day yet, so we really want to ensure that customers aren’t disappointed if they arrive and we’re not here to greet them.
“Similarly, to ensure we can comply with social distancing recommendations, we need to limit the number of visitors to the gallery at any one time so arranging an appointment in advance helps to pre-empt such issues.”
At the minute, online is still the less constrained option. Kevin Page used the lockdown as a chance to capitalise on online opportunities, buying at international online salerooms. Now it has launched a new interactive website of its own, which it plans to add to over the coming weeks and months.
Philip Mould and Company has also kept the focus online, posting videos and content onto its website, including lectures and online exhibitions. However, the gallery has reopened now, and its upcoming web series Art in Focus, running for five weeks from August to September, will be based in the premises.