Let your creativity and knowledge flesh out the description.
This is why I developed the Book Description Builder at www.bookzing.com as a tool for booksellers to provide help in building descriptions.
You should bring all you know about the book and make it into a persuasive story. Research the author, explain their importance to the field, why should we buy this book, interesting facts, where it fits in scheme of things, why you are exited to be offering this book to the world. Anything could be a hook that will grab a potential buyers interest, the bibliographies it is listed in, the scholars that reference it in their work, the critics that have reviewed it, the story can be a living piece of history that should not be overlooked.
Read the catalogs of the great booksellers of the past and present, auction catalogs can be a good source for ideas and inspiration. The Americana Exchange at www.americanaexchange.com is a great source for research and a subscriptions are reasonable. I have found Bruce McKinney to be knowledgeable and well connected within the field. Their AE Monthly is well worth reading as soon as it appears.
Building relationships with booksellers with different specialties can be one of your best investments. I value the relationships I have built and spend time keeping them fresh.
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