I'm often asked, "where do you find this stuff?", in regards to some of the information published on Genealogy Today. In addition to the network of book dealers, antique shop owners and estate sale managers that look for items that I collect, I attend regional ephemera and book shows.These shows are really wild as you get to see vendors who collect all sorts of odd paper items (and even some non-paper items like coins, buttons, badges, etc). Sometimes the vendors travel (long distances) to attend, but most are local to the area. As a result, you're able to find items of local interest, as well as, some from other parts of the country.
Perhaps you're reading this and saying, "why bother, I can get anything I want on eBay". Yes, there is a lot of stuff on eBay, but eBay (while a fantastic site) does have its limitations. For example, you'll only find sellers who own a computer and have the time to post their items online. There are many (many) book and paper dealers out there with huge collections that never appear on eBay.
What's more, these dealers have so much knowledge of the items -- how to find them, what they're worth -- that you just can't get the same kind of interaction on eBay.
Meet Peter Masi. He owns "peter l. masi - books" and this year is celebrating 25 years of bookselling. Peter doesn't have a brink-n-morter store, or an Internet site. He does have an extensive collection of resources, and publishes his own catalogs regularly and mails them to his customers.
What I love about many dealers like Peter, is that they pay close attention to what you're interested in. Duh, that's how they can successfully sell more stuff. So, by attending these regional shows and meeting people like Peter, you can have a bunch of "content agents" out there looking for the items you wish to collect.
If you'd like to get on Peter's mailing list, send him a note: peter l. masi - books, po box B, montague, MA 01351.
Yes, I do purchase many items from eBay, but you should see how full my truck is after attending one of these shows. Just the postage and time savings alone makes it worthwhile.