Member Blogs > ten pound island book company

  • Sorry, Not This Week…

    Mon, 21 Sep 2020 01:27:02 Permalink
    I had a great entry in mind for this week’s blog.I was going to reveal the Secret of Life, and how I’ve employed this recondite but simple trick to drive my career to the heights of the the international book trade, guaranteeing success, fiscally and in terms of the reverence with which my colleagues and customers have come to behold me.Unfortunately, I just didn’t have time to get to it.Continue reading Sorry, Not This Week… at Ten Pound Island Book Company. Read More
  • Too Much of a Good Thing?

    Mon, 14 Sep 2020 09:45:11 Permalink
    Well, I’ve made three sales after the first three days of the Brooklyn Virtual Antiquarian Book Fair. Results reported by colleagues are as mixed as they’d be in a “live” book fair. The difference might be that having only 15 books per booth allows for greater focus on the part of buyers.After searching by keyword and finding two interesting items (already sold within the first 5 minutes of the show!) I worked through all the booths, book by book.Continue reading Too Much of a Good Thing? at Ten Pound Island Book Company. Read More
  • Just in the Nick of Time, Some Timely Thoughts by a Guest Blogger

    Sun, 06 Sep 2020 10:27:14 Permalink
    Whew! I’ve been so swamped in the mess occasioned by my decision to try to arrange my stock in an orderly manner, that I despaired of having time to post my weekly “Bookman’s Log” entry. Fortunately, old friend and colleague Rich West, of Periodyssey, sent in a guest blog. I found it thought-provoking, and so will share it with you (while I head back down to the catacombs to search for books whose authors’ names begin with E-F-G- or H).Continue reading Just in the Nick of Time, Some Timely Thoughts by a Guest Blogger at Ten Pound Island Book Company. Read More
  • Fulfillment

    Mon, 31 Aug 2020 10:27:26 Permalink
    Have you noticed how much stuff is sitting on the side of the road these days with a FREE sign printed on cardboard, propped up against the (fill in the blank) moldy teddy bears/broken office chair/couch that smells like old shoes/old-fashioned baby carriage/worn out tires/glass front bookcase with broken glass/85-pound color TV circa 1995/box of Grannie’s Reader’s Digest Condensed Books? That’s because people are stuck in their houses. After a few months they look around and realize no one has sat on that couch in years because it smells like old shoes. Continue reading Fulfillment at Ten Pound Island Book Read More
  • Authenticity

    Mon, 24 Aug 2020 05:46:10 Permalink
    Had an interesting email conversation with an IOBA colleague the other day. Although he dealt mainly in fantasy and science fiction, he had just acquired a letter written by a US Navy admiral. He wanted to sell it with a fantasy novel that, I presume, had a naval theme, but he was concerned about the letter’s authenticity. Could I help?He’d already found an example of the Admiral’s signature, and had done quite a bit of research into his correspondence.Continue reading Authenticity at Ten Pound Island Book Company. Read More
  • There really isn't much more to say…

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 09:49:49 Permalink
    Dear _____:It’s difficult to believe that I’ve let an entire month pass without sending a response to your thoughtful note. Seems to me this is one of the major effects of the virus – every day is now so much like the ones before and after it that time whisks past with dizzying speed. So I kept saying, “Got to write back to ____ today.” And all the sudden it’s 30 days.Continue reading There really isn’t much more to say… at Ten Pound Island Book Company. Read More
  • Salad Years and Leftovers

    Sun, 02 Aug 2020 10:26:55 Permalink
    Got a call from Ron Bourgeault last week. After more than 30 years of operating the prestigious Northeast Auctions firm, he was calling it quits. He wanted to know if I had any interest in purchasing his extensive arts and antiques reference library? We agreed that the market for such books had collapsed, or was collapsing, and that the books would be difficult to resell. But I made an appointment anyway, just to see what he had.Continue reading Salad Years and Leftovers at Ten Pound Island Book Company. Read More
  • "What's your best price?" – In praise of bottom feeders

    Sun, 26 Jul 2020 02:32:54 Permalink
    There’s been a lot of talk this weekend on the ABAA and IOBA chat lines concerning the phrase, “What’s your best price?” The original poster shared his answer to this perennial question on the several Discuss lists, and most of the regulars pitched in with answers, anecdotes, and advice. It’s a question every book dealer has heard, and responses to the original email were as varied as the  responding dealers themselves. We were treated to canned lectures about the dignity of the trade, stories of hundred dollar bills thrown back in the faces of bargain hunters, encouraging explanations, canny empathy, Read More
  • Left Behind

    Sun, 12 Jul 2020 12:07:04 Permalink
    Whew! This Schulman business has me plum tuckered out. I thought of another 25,000 words to share with you on the topic, but I just don’t have the heart to write them. Suffice it to say that Priore and Schulman are guilty, and nothing will mitigate or alter that truth. However, Carnegie librarians still await their serving of guilt pie, and I hope it comes soon. As for the regrettable and, frankly, embarrassing behavior of some of our colleagues, well… Since I got nuttin’ more to say on the topic, what about this week’s blog entry? Continue reading Left Behind Read More

    Mon, 06 Jul 2020 08:25:27 Permalink
    I have been shocked by the vitriol directed at convicted book thief and former ABAA colleague John Schulman throughout the development of the Carnegie Library story, and especially upon his sentencing last June 18.Forbes Smiley, the Galileo forgers and accomplices, and even John Jenkins (who allegedly destroyed thousands of rare books in his two warehouse fires) did not receive such stiff sentences from the ABAA court of collegial opinion.I admit to being a long-time friend of Schulman’s.Continue reading OFF TO THE RACES! at Ten Pound Island Book Company. Read More
  • Our Own Private Carnegie

    Mon, 29 Jun 2020 01:21:19 Permalink
    ?   I wrote a character reference for John Schulman, which I repeated in person at his recent sentencing hearing. It went like this:His current legal troubles are incomprehensible to me because, over our 35-year association, I have never known him to be anything but a generous, considerate and caring man who does not in the least resemble the criminal portrayed by his accusers and by the national media.Continue reading Our Own Private Carnegie at Ten Pound Island Book Company. Read More
  • Tulsa Blog

    Sun, 21 Jun 2020 05:14:21 Permalink
    Man, what a rally! Trump said a million people came!Making Germany Great Again, 1933And get a load of this guy, taking the selfie with his man-crush in the background.Does he think he’s the cat’s pajamas, or what?He probably also thinks, if he’s capable of thought, that he’s exercising his 1st Amendment rights.Maybe the 9th, too…But all he’s really gonna do is…Make America Sick Again.Continue reading Tulsa Blog at Ten Pound Island Book Company. Read More
  • When We Get Back to Normal, Normal Will Have Moved

    Tue, 16 Jun 2020 11:24:37 Permalink
    Sorry to be a day late with this, but I’m also a dollar short. I threw away my first “stimulus” credit card, thinking it was a scam. The card was made out and mailed to a non-existent person with my first name and my wife’s last name – “Gregory Crotty.” Judging by the support already in place when my wife applied to get us a new one, it must’ve happened to millions of people, just as it did to me.Continue reading When We Get Back to Normal, Normal Will Have Moved at Ten Pound Island Book Company. Read More
  • Marvin Getman's Guest Blog

    Mon, 08 Jun 2020 07:34:44 Permalink
    Our Inboxes are exploding with pronouncements about last week’s four virtual book fairs. In search of something as authentic as, but different than, book dealer bleatings, I thought I’d go to the source, one of them, and ask promoter Marvin Getman  to share with us the process through which he arrived at So, without further ado…When Greg Gibson invited me to write a guest entry in his “Bookman’s Log” about my new virtual book fair, I was surprised.Continue reading Marvin Getman’s Guest Blog at Ten Pound Island Book Company. Read More
  • The Future Is Now! (Well, actually, it will arrive at noon on Tuesday, June 2)

    Mon, 01 Jun 2020 11:20:56 Permalink
    Okay, folks, hold onto your hats (but let your wallets loose). You’re about to be zapped into an alternate universe, AKA THE FUTURE** in which book fairs happen on your computer! First of all… Then, on Thursday, June 4, at 10 am, go to  Hundreds of dealers, thousands of high-quality books!   ** N.B – In the event these assertions regarding the Future (that it is here now) turn out to be incorrect, and that the Future will, in fact, be along a little later, the management of Ten Pound Island Book Co. Continue reading The Future Is Now! Read More
  • In what Sense is "Analog" the Opposite of "Digital?"

    Tue, 26 May 2020 01:03:50 Permalink
    I’m a day late with this blog entry because I spent most of yesterday selecting, cataloging, and photographing items for sale at the first of Marvin Getman’s monthly virtual book fairs.  It is scheduled to run Tuesday, June 2, at 12:00 pm through Thursday, June 4, at 6:00 pm. Marvin’s effort will be followed on Thursday June 4 – Sunday June 7 by the larger ABAA Virtual Book Fair. Where Getman’s event limited entries to 12 items, the ABAA extravaganza allows up to 50.Continue reading In what Sense is “Analog” the Opposite of “Digital?” at Ten Pound Island Book Company. Read More
  • The Future is Now, We Just Aren't There Yet

    Sun, 17 May 2020 11:16:22 Permalink
    Many years ago old friend Ken Karmiole showed me how he scouts online. Go to ABE Select a dealer Click the red “Search” button on the dealer’s site Select “highest price” on the search menu when the dealer’s inventory comes up Browse down I found this method particularly effective as a preliminary step for scouting a dealer’s open shop. You find a book on the dealer’s ABE site that interests you and, when you’re in the shop, you ask the dealer if that item is still in stock. Continue reading The Future is Now, We Just Aren’t There Yet at Read More

    Mon, 04 May 2020 03:30:37 Permalink
    For those of you who are thoroughly sick of my weekly raving, here’s a guest column by old friend and colleague Rusty Mott, one of the deans of the antiquarian book trade in America. Catching up with Greg’s last few “Bookman’s Log” pieces (I read them in batches) I remembered that some months ago he asked me to consider contributing a guest column to his blog. He made the suggestion because of a conversation we’d shared about collecting, during which I mentioned that I had a collection consisting of one, yep (1) item – a concept that caught Greg’s fancy Read More
  • Virtual Canada

    Wed, 29 Apr 2020 09:40:48 Permalink
    It didn’t work.Last week, being the time I normally leave my bookselling life behind and drive up to my writer’s shack in the Canadian wilds, I determined to foil international travel restrictions and make a virtual journey to a virtual writer’s shack in virtual Canada. What didn’t work about it was that virtual Canada too closely resembled my office at 77 Langsford St. Gloucester, MA, 01930, USA.I kept unconsciously picking up the phone when it rang, or doing my email when I needed a break from writing.Continue reading Virtual Canada at Ten Pound Island Book Company. Read More
  • Oh, Canada!

    Mon, 20 Apr 2020 03:52:56 Permalink
    Okay, New York is over and done, as is Ephemera 2020 (RIP!). I’ve got a good stash of rares for my next high-octane list, and I’ve been working hard cataloging the chowder (good books, but not great – if they were fish, they’d turn into chowder rather than sushi). In the past month I’ve published three lists for public consumption (you can see them here, here,  and here) and two more subject lists for individual customers – about 350 old and rare books and manuscripts cataloged, photographed and uploaded, of which almost 200 have been wrapped and shipped. Continue reading Read More
  • WFH

    Mon, 13 Apr 2020 02:14:26 Permalink
    Well, the day has finally arrived. In this morning’s Sunday paper the acronym “WFH” appeared – not as an instance of subculture geek talk, but as a common designation, like ADD or DOA – applied as a descriptor to a class of people, like “boomer” or “undocumented alien.” The gist of the newspaper article was that many in the workforce are having to make huge adjustments as they enter the uncertain world of Working From Home, but this is something many of us in the book trade have been doing for years. Continue reading WFH at Ten Pound Island Book Read More
  • Coronadiary 4/6

    Mon, 06 Apr 2020 09:35:09 Permalink
    I wonder how Dennis and Cricket and my favorite raven-haired bartender are doing down at Halibut Point, my dive of choice, my “downtown office,” drinking and chatting of a Saturday afternoon in the reality adjacent to this one, in which everything is just as it has always been? The birds in nesting frenzies on my roof, beneath the solar panels, upon which the sun shines as always, sing out as if nothing has happened.Continue reading Coronadiary 4/6 at Ten Pound Island Book Company. Read More
  • More Metrics

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 04:49:59 Permalink
    Four years ago, when I signed up for the Pasadena Book Fair, my regular booth mate decided to take a year off. So, rather than buddy up with another old chum, I decided to let the organizers pick a booth mate for me. I figured it would be a good way to meet new colleagues, and it was. I shared that year with Bill Butts of Main Street Fine Books & Manuscripts , and his wife Yolanda.Continue reading More Metrics at Ten Pound Island Book Company. Read More
  • Metrics

    Sun, 22 Mar 2020 10:07:19 Permalink
    The envelope, please!Okay, the numbers are in and, though the sample size is limited, the story they tell is pretty much what you’d expect.On February 24th I issued a 70-item list.  That list sold 45 items, or 64% of those on offer. Private customers accounted for 27 orders; institutions for 8; dealers for 2; and overseas customers for another 8 orders.Three weeks later, on March 16th, I issued a list containing 50 items, of which 21, or 42% sold.Continue reading Metrics at Ten Pound Island Book Company. Read More
  • Good Odds

    Sun, 15 Mar 2020 10:53:53 Permalink
    Like everyone else everywhere else, Ten Pound Island Book Co. is gonna take a viral hit. Can’t say right now what this will translate to in terms of dollars, but the cancellation of public gatherings will definitely have an impact.Uncataloged books, stashed down in the catacombsOver the years, as the trade has evolved and my own business has changed in an attempt to keep up, ephemeral and manuscript items have become increasingly important commercially.Continue reading Good Odds at Ten Pound Island Book Company. Read More
  • Professional Advice

    Sun, 08 Mar 2020 03:49:27 Permalink
     My comfy boothIt’s late Saturday morning and I’m sitting in booth #503 at Marvin Getman’s 6th annual New York City Book and Ephemera Fair. The dealer next to me in #504 cancelled at the last minute, so I’ve got room to stretch out. I’m waiting for Anne Marie to come in so I can go around the corner to the deli for a sangwich.Continue reading Professional Advice at Ten Pound Island Book Company. Read More
  • They Brought Him Home in a Barrel of Grog

    Wed, 04 Mar 2020 08:01:13 Permalink
    Six years ago, at the Pasadena Book Fair, I met an affable old geezer with a big silver belt buckle and a string tie. The old fellow had looked in the book fair directory, saw that I specialized in maritime manuscripts, and came over to my booth. His wife had recently died, he told me, and he was “clearing things out.” One of the cleared-out things happened to be the log of a whale ship in which the Captain had died during a whale chase. Continue reading They Brought Him Home in a Barrel of Grog at Ten Pound Island Read More
  • Last Week's Op-Ed

    Tue, 25 Feb 2020 04:10:30 Permalink
    Here’s last week’s op-ed.If Wednesday night’s Democratic debate had happened on the schoolyard, five of the participants would have been called into the Principal’s office for bullying.  Personal insults, cheap shots, out-of-context allegations and piling-on the new kid characterized the proceedings, and the jeering  studio audience was part of the circus. We don’t tolerate this sort of behavior from our children, yet we seem to encourage it in our presidential candidates.Continue reading Last Week’s Op-Ed at Ten Pound Island Book Company. Read More
  • It was the best of Pasadena Book Fairs, it was the worst of Pasadena Book Fairs

    Mon, 10 Feb 2020 10:00:07 Permalink
    Brad Pitt couldn’t make it this year, but the Three Stooges (courtesy of EPI – about whom, more later) put in a surprise appearance. They were laying carpets in all the aisles, and it was quite a show. By the time Larry, Mo, and Curly finished their routine, the prospect of making one’s way from the entrance to, say, booth 308 or the snack bar at the back of the room was rather like hiking through a newly-plowed field, or even attempting the same hike while plowed. Continue reading It was the best of Pasadena Book Fairs, it was the Read More
  • If Mail Could Talk

    Sun, 02 Feb 2020 12:50:51 Permalink
    A copy of one of my catalogs was sent back to me by the Post Office last week. Apparently it had been damaged in transit, so USPS put it in one of those plastic baggies along with a note letting me know they were returning it to me and apologizing for the mishandling of my item. When I flipped the baggie over I saw that a yellow labels had been pasted on the verso, indicating that, not only had it been mishandled, it had been addressed incorrectly and could not be delivered to the address I’d specified. Continue reading If Read More
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