Books & Things (www.mygenealogybooks.com) carries a wide assortment of books used by family historians, including genealogy research guides, county histories, vital records, and social histories. Books & Things’ website has less than a third of the company’s 3,000-plus books available online.
Since becoming a book vendor in 1996, owner Bob Gordon has seen the business change as the internet continues to play a dominate role in genealogy research. One of the biggest changes is in the number of new genealogy-related books being published. At one time dozens of publishers would yearly release hundreds of new titles. That is no longer the case, as publishers produce fewer new titles, leave the business, or completely change focus. Another big change is decline in participants at workshops and conferences. Many of those who do attend don’t shop vendors, preferring to buy online.
So why stay in the business?
Because not all books are available online and many people still favor researching with a book in hand. And then there is the simple satisfaction of discovering books that help researchers find their ancestors. One researcher found a book about his ancestor working as an Indian agent. The teary-eyed researcher explained how he had looked for more than 20 years for that book. And while the book wasn’t that expensive, to the researcher it was priceless.
Bob hopes that researchers will stop by Books & Things booth, 104-112, which is located near the entrance to the exhibit hall. They can discover new titles and browse out-of-print books that may have information about those elusive ancestors.
Genealogists who take time to browse books at a conference have discovered a valuable lesson: You can’t judge a book by its cover—or title—but you can certainly judge it by the index, especially when you locate a missing ancestor’s name. And, that too, is priceless.