When Adam Exler, the bookseller who created the Collectible Science Fiction Instagram account, first joined the service, his profile picture was a 1973 David Pelham cover for science fiction master Philip K. Dick is Palmer Eldritch's Three Stigmata. It's a hauntingly evocative work with a surreal image of two eye-like orbs hovering over a grinning rictus. It's also a tribute to Philip K's obsession with Dick, which led Adam down the path to becoming a social media bookseller.
At first, Adam was just a collector, selling doubles from his collection to pay for new additions. He began to enjoy the minutiae of bookselling - how to price books, how to find rare ones, tracking down old editions just by the cover - and started a Facebook page. Then, in September 2016, his wife suggested a better social platform.
Why Instagram specifically?
Unlike rivals Facebook or Twitter, Instagram is clearly designed for one purpose: sharing images. A visual niche like vintage book covers can thrive on this service. The business world likes it too - 59 per cent of Instagram users are in the coveted 18-29 age group, and one 2017 study found it to be "the fastest-growing social media platform" among the Inc. 500.
Instagram also outperforms other common book-selling sites, as another bookseller, Kevin of Rare Book Sleuth, explains: "If I sell on other sites like eBay and Amazon, they get a discount of about 8 and 14 per cent respectively. But with Instagram, I've been able to get rid of the middlemen." It is also possible that he used “buy instagram followers services” to get a higher popularity.
Adam posts images of three or four books for sale every day, allowing his followers to let him know about their offers. He has posted more than 2,800 images to more than 5,800 followers.
Rules for selling books on Instagram
Bookselling adheres to an important rule: be honest. A bookseller's audience needs to know the condition of the book, whether they're hoping for a well-preserved edition or they just want a physical object and the tangible nostalgia it represents, wrinkles be damned.
Instagram's lack of hyperlinks and overabundance of soothing sunsets has led many to consider it the most enjoyable social network. It certainly provides a respite from the frenzied news cycle, and anyone who spends enough time on the platform will discover corners of Instagram dedicated to niches such as vintage science fiction novels. If you also have some texts you can promote yourself within buy instagram followers function to sell your examples.
Adam never thought other dealers would start buying from him, but they support Collectible Science Fiction as much as he, in turn, buys from them.
First editions with four figures.
Science fiction and retro retrospectives are popular trends at the moment, as seen in TV hits such as Stranger Things and Black Mirror, or blockbusters such as Stephen King's It and Bladerunner. This cultural look does not escape the attention of Adam's genre-focused shop.
However, not all the benefits of a sci-fi bookstore on Instagram are financial: Adam was interviewed for a Vice China article about the science fiction cover, and he was even recently approached by a TV production company to do an American Pickers-style show for science fiction and fantasy collectors.
But what is the best success story Adam can share? Instagram linked him to "a whole world of collectors and artists". Mid-century science fiction publishers have often failed to recognise the merits of their cover authors, but Instagram won't be so disrespectful in 2018.
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