About MSE Books, our Signed First Editions bookshop, and us
Let’s start with a confession… Some years back when we started buying modern signed first edition books for our own pleasure, we literally didn’t know a thing about what makes a book collectable. Come to that, as we’ve now found out, we didn’t even know the correct names for the different parts of a book. This, let me tell you, led to some costly mistakes!
In those early days, it was a good job we both loved reading, because that was the only thing we had going for us. Apart, that is, from a belief that collecting books would be a cheap(ish) way of investing in something solid for the future. The aim being that we’d build up a nice little nest egg for our brood over the coming years.
Then one day we had a revelation. We realised the kids had become (fairly) self-reliant, so we had a change of plan! We now decided we were going to use part of our collection as a base for an online bookshop.
So after some soul-searching, a very steep learning curve and a change of career, MSE Books came into being in June 2009. And we’ve never looked back.
Incidentally, the start of our physical book venture happened at the same time as the first real surge in popularity of the e-book. In which case, you may like to know where we stand in the p-book v. e-book debate.
We like e-books; there we’ve said it. They’re convenient, easy to use and I can see us offering them for sale at some time in the next few years. But – and this is a big but – we still believe there’s a future for books in the printed format.
Why do we think this? Simply because a book’s a tactile entity, which you can covet, read and show off to your heart’s content. If you treat it well, it will outlast you and provide a legacy for generations to come. It doesn’t need power or updating and you can share it with as many people as you like at no extra cost. What’s not to like? Especially now p-books are becoming even more beautiful as they vie to survive with the e-book.
But we digress… Before we sold books, we worked in marketing and event management for far too many years (yes, we’re getting on). So by a process of osmosis, and without wishing to sound too clichéd, great customer service is now a part of who we are.
This is why we’ll only promise what we know we can deliver. For instance, we always describe the condition of our books as precisely as we can. At times, this gives competitors who are less rigorous an edge and we lose a sale. From our point of view though, better this than risk the loss of a customer.
As to our bookshop’s name, the MSE part is an acronym of our full company name, which is Modern Signed Editions Ltd.
Thanks for reading,
Susan & Geoffrey Williams
PS as part of our learning curve we did a lot of research into book trade terminology, faults and flaws, etc. We’ve now turned our notes into a number of articles you can find on our Hints and Tips page. We hope you find these useful.