Member Blogs > ten pound island book company

  • Blue Monday

    Sun, 01 Sep 2013 01:24:58 Permalink
    Raymond Chandlers Philip Marlowe was a jaded knight-errant with a taste for wisecracks. Dashiell Hammetts Continental Op, by comparison, was a blunt instrument. A dumpy middle aged guy, tough as nails, with an engine that wouldnt quit. Theyre both wonderful characters, and I know their voices as well as I know the voice of an old friend.Last Monday, in a restful moment following my lengthy road trip, I got a yen for yet another detectives voice the moody tones of Lew Archer, Ross Macdonalds iconic shamus. Archer prowled Southern California a generation after Marlowe. The scene had changed, and Read More
  • Me and the Brothers

    Mon, 26 Aug 2013 11:25:18 Permalink
    Normally, the Boston - Philly run is a tough one. No matter what time I leave Gloucester I get caught up in rush hour surrounding one of the several urban centers along my route. This year, however, I seemed to be traveling under a lucky star. I left home at 5 a.m. and was in suburban Philadelphia by lunchtime. Baltimore the next day, after another effortless drive. Up to Metchen, NJ that evening, same story. Then the drive I was dreading. New Jersey to Hartford on Friday morning, through the hell of the tunnel/bridge traffic jams, stalled cars, fender benders, Read More
  • Trumpets of Death

    Mon, 19 Aug 2013 08:54:49 Permalink
    A patch of clethra or "sweet pepper" along the pathThis is one of my favorite seasons in the woods.Ill be walking along, listening to the crickets tuning up for their summers end symphony, watching the baby hoppy-toads tumble comically across my path, sniffing forest aromas of pine or leaf mold and mushrooms, when suddenly Ill catch an intoxicating whiff of perfume. The effect is always surprising. The woods hardly seem to be a place for such delicate fragrance. Then Ill see a patch of clethra, or sweet pepper as they are commonly called, ahead of me on the path. And Read More
  • That Interesting Young Female

    Mon, 12 Aug 2013 10:52:27 Permalink
    In his classic book on the bookselling trade, Adventures of a Treasure Hunter, my bookselling idol Charlie Everitt has this to say about vacations, Vacations with me are an end, not a means. I believe in taking two, preferably three, months off, pursuing the greatest of game fish, the smallmouth bass, with no radio and no old books.Like many of Everitts pronouncements, this one has a valuable grain of truth bloated to steroidal proportions by his love of a good story. I sincerely doubt old Charlie ever spent three straight months fishing for smallmouth bass, but his core observation is Read More
  • The Monster Inside Me

    Sun, 04 Aug 2013 09:56:46 Permalink
     Ive got a nice catalog of rare books shaping up for publication some time after Labor Day. Just have to survive the cash flow crunch for another month. All my dough is tied up in the nice catalog and, as usual, Im waiting on $25,000 in receivables to keep me alive. Such is the tedious math of the micro businessman.So, as a survival aid, Im taking my chainsaw up to the farm in Cape Breton tomorrow. Ill live on whiskey, rice, and beans, and keep my other expenses close to zero while clearing my field (the work of the past Read More
  • Not Again

    Sun, 28 Jul 2013 10:18:41 Permalink
    On this weekend for three years running I have blogged about the very pleasant Book Fair at the Castle. This event  is produced by Bernice Bornstein and is held at the Dewey Castle in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The setting is idyllic. The hours are merciful. My colleagues are excellent company. The crowds are small but cheerful. They buy a little, I buy a little. Then I drive home.I am not going to blog about it this year. Im tired of repeating myself. Instead, Id like to try out a draft of the beginning of a chapter called Paper City. It is Read More
  • Not Again

    Sun, 28 Jul 2013 02:59:24 Permalink
    On this weekend for three years running I have blogged about the very pleasant Book Fair at the Castle. This event  is produced by Bernice Bornstein and is held at the Dewey Castle in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The setting is idyllic. The hours are merciful. My colleagues are excellent company. The crowds are small but cheerful. They buy a little, I buy a little. Then I drive home.I am not going to blog about it this year. Im tired of repeating myself. Instead, Id like to try out a draft of the beginning of a chapter called Paper City. It is Read More
  • Arachnophobia

    Mon, 22 Jul 2013 12:34:43 Permalink
    My sister-in-law and I have always enjoyed arguing. Not about big stuff, you understand. Just petty, nit-picky arguments to liven up the sleepy time following one of her terrific Saturday dinners. Is North Dakota a blue or a red state? Does a hurricane spin clockwise or counterclockwise? That sort of thing. With no solid factual basis for an answer at hand, youve got to rely on your wits to defend your position. Its excellent exercise after a big meal, sort of like taking a walk.Then, a few years ago, she got a smart phone. Wed be in the midst of Read More
  • The House Call

    Mon, 15 Jul 2013 11:44:52 Permalink
    The house call is one of the of the most exciting parts of the used book business.Its a thrilling experience, a rite of passage into the trade. A member of the public thinks so highly of your skills as a book maven, (or your status as a cash cow), that they invite you into their private space to examine, and make an offer on, their books. You get to walk around pronouncing on the current state of the market, on whats hot and whats not, all the while maintaining an ingratiating stream of patter that, you hope, will convince the Read More
  • Hors d'oeuvres and Analytics

    Mon, 08 Jul 2013 10:18:20 Permalink
    This is my favorite time of year. Summer is in full swing and the Tour de France - that 2000 mile three week bicycle ramble through the mountains, fields and vineyards of France - is well underway. I structure my mornings around the event. Yard work house painting, and book work in the sweltering July heat for thirty minute intervals, with breaks of ten minutes in front of the TV in the only air conditioned room in the house. Sometimes, as the morning progresses, time in front of the TV stretches out.I dont quite know how I got addicted to the spectacle. It is, as Read More
  • Wily Mammals

    Tue, 02 Jul 2013 07:15:50 Permalink
    Im no star on the lecture circuit, but a few invitations come in every year and always take them up if I can. Its good publicity for my books. And I usually get a free meal. Sometimes they even pay me.When Gone Boy came out I did a lot of gigs talking about gun control. I talked about whaling for Demon of the Waters,and about Diane Arbus and issues of authentication and valuation for my book Huberts Freaks. Over the past year, however, Ive been talking about changes in the publishing business since my first interaction with it in the 1970s. Its a fascinating Read More
  • Wiley Mammals

    Sun, 30 Jun 2013 02:21:39 Permalink
    Im no star on the lecture circuit, but a few invitations come in every year and always take them up if I can. Its good publicity for my books. And I usually get a free meal. Sometimes they even pay me.When Gone Boy came out I did a lot of gigs talking about gun control. I talked about whaling for Demon of the Waters,and about Diane Arbus and issues of authentication and valuation for my book Huberts Freaks. Over the past year, however, Ive been talking about changes in the publishing business since my first interaction with it in the 1970s. Its a fascinating Read More
  • Coffee Break or Cocktail Hour?

    Mon, 24 Jun 2013 02:57:09 Permalink
    Got off the Londonflight late Thursday night. Mowed my lawn and did my wash on Friday, then flew out to Minneapolison Saturday. So is it coffee break or cocktail hour?Cocktail hour. At chez Rulon-Miller, anyway. Spent a wonderful Saturday night with the dean of Minnesotabook dealers, Rob Rulon-Miller, and colleagues Nina Musinsky and John Hellebrand, engaging in urbane and witty banter in Robs wonderful library.The reason for this convocation goes beyond banter. We are gathered here for the Dealers Showcase at the Rare Book and Manuscript Librarians Conference, held this year in downtown Minneapolis. This collision of worlds librarian Read More
  • Malton's Views

    Sat, 15 Jun 2013 07:21:36 Permalink
    One of the things I love about this business is the way it stays fresh. Just when you think youve seen it all, another surprise comes along.Last summer I purchased a scarce color plate book. I know, color plates books arent my thing. But this one had Irish interest, and I was pretty sure I could flog it. I put it in catalog 213 described as follows:Malton, James. A PICTURESQUE AND DESCRIPTIVE VIEW OF THE CITY OF DUBLINDISPLAYED IN A SERIES OF THE MOST INTERESTING SCENES TAKEN IN THE YEAR 1791.   Lon.  n.d.  b/w and handcolored engravings. Oblong folio, unpaginated Read More
  • Malton's Views

    Sat, 15 Jun 2013 04:24:43 Permalink
    One of the things I love about this business is the way it stays fresh. Just when you think youve seen it all, another surprise comes along.Last summer I purchased a scarce color plate book. I know, color plates books arent my thing. But this one had Irish interest, and I was pretty sure I could flog it. I put it in catalog 213 described as follows:Malton, James. A PICTURESQUE AND DESCRIPTIVE VIEW OF THE CITY OF DUBLINDISPLAYED IN A SERIES OF THE MOST INTERESTING SCENES TAKEN IN THE YEAR 1791.   Lon.  n.d.  b/w and handcolored engravings. Oblong folio, unpaginated Read More
  • How Many Ways?

    Sun, 09 Jun 2013 12:06:33 Permalink
    How many ways are there to do this business? Here is my old friend Adrian Connolly of Connollys Book Shop, Cork City, Ireland.Adrianpresides over a heap of mostly worthless books.You know... the kind that Gotbooks or Better World Books pick out of those drop boxes they leave around cities. Books they want you to think youre donating to charity when, in fact, they'll sell them (you've already tried and failed).Adrian once told me he buys his books by the pallet load from a jobber in London. Like bales of rags. He then prices them at 3 - 10 and shelves them Read More
  • Dandelions!

    Fri, 31 May 2013 10:57:22 Permalink
    I work all spring on the lawn at Flatrocks Gallery, and what do I get?Dandelions!recent additions to the Flatrocks sculpture gardenBut seriously folks, Anne Marie and Cynthia have curated a wonderful (and suitably Ten Poundish) new exhibition called "Our Working Waterfront." The show runs May 30 - July 7, and it features the work of some of Cape Ann's finest artists.Ordinarily, I'd miss this Saturday's opening reception at Flatrocks Gallery because I'd be in Concord, NH, setting up for the 23rd annual New Hampshire spring book fair.But promoter Laura Parr has cancelled it!A sad commentary on the state of book fairs Read More
  • This Week's Guest Blog

    Sun, 26 May 2013 02:54:55 Permalink
    Last week I wrote about naval hero James Lawrence, Washington Irving's biography of him, and friend Tom Halsted's article in the Boston Sunday Globe about his famous naval battle. A few days later Tom forwarded a link to another article he'd written, this one on his blog "Beam Reach." Well, it was right in Ten Pound's wheelhouse (I am mentioned in the article, but actually it was colleague Garrett Scott who solved the mystery therein) and I asked Tom if I could reprint it. He graciously assented so, without further ado, here is this week's guest blog...The Sailor King and IMy grandfather, the Read More
  • Surrender the Ship?

    Mon, 20 May 2013 10:19:15 Permalink
    I got stumped last week, trying to catalog a book Id recently purchased. It was the first full length biography of the American naval hero James Lawrence, and it was supposed to be 244 pages long. However, my copy seemed complete at page 240, which ended with the word finis.I mustve spent an hour  pouring through my reference books trying to reconcile the discrepancy. Meet my friends the reference books (left to right) BAL, Molnar, Sabin, S&S, Smith II, HowesI had a dim recollection of the pagination issue being explained to me by the gentleman from whom Id purchased the Read More
  • Then and Now

    Mon, 13 May 2013 11:32:34 Permalink
    Last Wednesday I gave a talk about the genesis of my new novel The Old Turks Load. People laughed. Were they laughing with me or at me? To decide for yourself, click here, then click again on Greg Gibson.The rest of the week was pretty routine. I bought a nice English chart of the Arctic and Pacific (1839) over the phone from another dealer,and a copy of Scoresbys Whalemans Adventures, via email, from the widow of the customer to whom Id sold it in the 1990s. (Thats been happening a lot, lately. Its getting to seem as if the ultimate secret Read More
  • Science Experiment

    Sun, 05 May 2013 10:25:48 Permalink
    OK, what kind of way is this to drive into a book fair? That damned box sat right at the entrance of the parking lot at the Shriners Auditorium in Wilmington, Mass., site of the 37thannual MARIAB (Massachusetts and Rhode Island Antiquarian Booksellers) Book Fair Gotbooks pretends its a charity, sending books to teachers and soldiers and keeping the environment green, but actually its just a scam to get free books, which they then peddle at one of their superstores, or have chimps with barcode scanners put on the Internet. (Peter Stern observed, Well, at least we have a place to leave Read More
  • Curation and Creation

    Mon, 29 Apr 2013 11:47:54 Permalink
    A lot has happened at 77 Langsford St. since February 2010. On this date one year ago the walls at Flatrocks Gallerywere pink.Now theyre off white, a perfect backdrop for talented artists from Bostons North Shore area.Owners Anne Marie Crotty and Cynthia Switzer Roth have curated an astonishing five exhibitions in the seven months of the existence of their new gallery. Most recently, theyve assembled an exciting and visually challenging exhibition called Fabrications in which five woman artists transform ordinary materials into objects of whimsy, delicacy, beauty, and strength.The pieces in Fabrications operate in three dimensions and, in many cases, depend on Read More
  • Boston Strong, World Sick

    Sun, 21 Apr 2013 09:31:28 Permalink
    I admit to being a Moron Sportstalk Radio junkie.Monday, after an exhausting week in New York launching TheOld Turks Load and navigating the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, I recuperated on the couch with six hours of the Boston Marathon (an excellent spectator sport, by the way) and the Boston Red Sox game. Then I paid a few bills and schlepped to the post office. During this short drive Felger & Mazz, two of my favorite sportstalk morons, told me about the Marathon Bombing. They said it put the game of baseball, and all sports, into perspective.Indeed, falling down a Read More
  • Of Apes and Underwear

    Mon, 15 Apr 2013 05:19:26 Permalink
    As I was getting ready to depart for New York last Monday I received a most interesting email. Your Amazon.com Today's Deals See All Departments Greg Gibson, Are you looking for something in our Mystery, Thriller & Suspense books department? If so, you might be interested in these items. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense books The Old Turk's Load by Gregory Gibson List Price: $24.00 Price: $14.19 You Save: $9.81 (41%) Amazon, at the apogee of its algorithmical perfection, was soliciting me to buy my own book. That afternoon, having arrived in the Big Apple, I went down to the Mysterious Read More
  • Of Apes and Underwear

    Mon, 15 Apr 2013 02:05:00 Permalink
    As I was getting ready to depart for New York last Monday I received a most interesting email. Your Amazon.com   Today's Deals   See All Departments    Greg Gibson, Are you looking for something in our Mystery, Thriller & Suspense books department? If so, you might be interested in these items.     Mystery, Thriller & Suspense books          The Old Turk's Load by Gregory Gibson  List Price: $24.00 Price: $14.19 You Save: $9.81 (41%)        Amazon, at the apogee of its algorithmical perfection, was soliciting me to buy my own book. That afternoon, having arrived in the Big Apple, I went down to Read More
  • Imaginary Toads, Real Gardens

    Mon, 08 Apr 2013 10:46:08 Permalink
    (Please take a moment to read Marianne Moore's wonderful poem from which this week's title is stolen.)It'll never fit!Impossible to go about packing up for the New York Book Fair Ahhh...without remembering fairs past - the leaky Armory of old, the cramped Americana Hotel, the fresh start with promoter Sandy he made the trains run on time Smith. All those early bookfair expeditions to the Big Apple for the  Trinity, Greenwich Village, and Park Avenue events, staying with pals in Jersey City and Brooklyn, and Puffys or the Raccoon Lodge, or Walkers in Tribeca. We were young then, and didnt need to sleep. And Read More
  • Hegemony

    Sun, 31 Mar 2013 07:07:32 Permalink
    (Just as a courtesy I want to inform you at the outset that this is not in any way an April Fool blog, though it is April and I have done my fair share of foolish things.)When I published Gone Boy, my first book, in 1999 my publishers Kodansha and  Random House did what companies did back then to publicize a book; they took out ads in print media, arranged a long string of radio and television interviews, and sent me on book tours to the Pacific Northwest, LA, the greater Atlanta area, and, of course, the Northeast. I Read More
  • The Man Who "Really" Invented POD

    Sun, 24 Mar 2013 04:18:28 Permalink
    The Joshua Ward HouseBob Murphy grew up behind a cash register in a family owned drugstore. He exhibited an enlarged collecting gland at an early age, and wheedled his parents into driving him around to the many antique shops that existed in those days in search of antique coins, guns and colonial artifacts, as I recall. Then books as historical references, then books as collectible things in themselves.He set up his first shop in the reference room at the Boston Public Library. In the morning hed go hunting in Bostons many old and used book stores, making copious notes Read More
  • Objects of Desire

    Mon, 18 Mar 2013 10:43:09 Permalink
    The good news is that Ive made a few hefty sales in recent weeks. The bad news is that nobody is in any hurry to pay me. So I left home Friday morning for Ephemera Thirty Three - the Ephemera Societys international conference and show held at the commodious and very pleasant Hyatt Regency Hotelin Greenwich, Connecticut - with about $50,000 in receivables and $30,000 in ummm, obligations rattling along after me like tin cans on a newlyweds car.The situation was not conducive to aggressive buying. Indeed, I entered the show determined to sit on my hands (Auction room Read More
  • Report from Murderer's Row

    Sun, 10 Mar 2013 11:17:21 Permalink
    The cold weather followed John Thomson, Lin Respess and me south from last week's Rosslyn book fair. Blinding flurries in Virginia, night time temperatures in the 20s in Alabama, and worrisome showers in the panhandle. Transitioning, finally, to sunny skies in Bradenton, Florida, just in time for the Pirates Tampa Bay spring training ballgame on Thursday. By Friday we were thawed out and ready to go back to work.Maybe its because so many people have been doing this show for so long, or maybe the fine weather combs everybodys nerve hairs back, but setup at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair Read More
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