Member Blogs > ten pound island book company

  • Practice Makes (Nearly) Perfect

    Mon, 19 Nov 2012 10:25:19 Permalink
    Sometimes the years seem to fly by like calendar leaves flapping off the wall in a corny movie. That was much the feeling at this years 36th Annual Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, held at the Hynes Convention Center.  Old veterans of Bostons past walked the familiar aisles, nodding at one another Here we are again. Members of the excellent Brede staff, many of whom have been working with us for years, gave us a Good to see you again shoulder clap. And they meant it. Wed each survived another year and were back in the familiar, comfortable confines Read More
  • A Gazelle Speaks

    Sun, 11 Nov 2012 03:49:10 Permalink
    So, to pick up where last weeks rather grim entry left offOn Monday  October 29th I went on my Ten Pound Island website to check a catalog listing. What I found, instead of a catalog page, was a scary looking red sign warning that my site was a Reported Attack Page! My website had been blocked by Google for suspicious activity.It took me a few days to locate a company that could sort the problem out, and it has taken them two weeks, so far, to get it sorted. They tell me my website should be cleaned up and back Read More
  • Of Webb and the Web

    Sat, 03 Nov 2012 05:04:33 Permalink
    William Henry Webb was one of those American geniuses who come along every generation. Men of his type are not noted for their poetry or invention, but for their ability to assemble and organize all the disparate parts of what is known and, from this synthesis, to establish new standards of efficiency and scale.The great industrialists of the 19th and early 20th centuries proceeded in this manner. Rather than devise new technologies men like Henry Ford systematized and perfected existing practices. The railroad barons and oil kings didnt invent locomotives or petroleum products their contribution, whether for good or Read More
  • Einstein's "God Letter"

    Mon, 29 Oct 2012 09:43:13 Permalink
     I first met John Schulman at a bookfair on Cape Cod in the 1980s. He called himself John Ezra Schulman back then. Sported an Ezra Pound-like goatee, sold poetry, and went about his business with a poets joy. I remember thinking, He wont last long in this business. Twenty-five years later, Id have to say I was wrong about that. His Caliban Book Shop in Pittsburgh, with its stock of 45,000 books and a warehouse bursting with another 150,000, is one of the countrys best.  John himself is a leader in our trade, serving as resident appraiser at the annual Read More
  • Not Book People

    Mon, 22 Oct 2012 08:14:13 Permalink
    Shriner's auditorium, main hallWhats up with moving forward? Five years ago everyone said in the future, or in days to come, or even good old later on. Now the default phrase is moving forward a clumsy trope that riddles our daily speech. Its the kind of virus for which there is no cure but time. I suppose Ill just have to ignore it moving forward. Now, where was I?Marvin Getman, promoter of Boston area antique shows, has developed a reputation for energetic, organized, and well advertised events. His shows in Concord, Wellesley, Lexington, Wilmington, and Boston are said to Read More
  • The Best Letter Ever

    Mon, 15 Oct 2012 10:07:23 Permalink
    Seattle, 2012 Bob Dylan and I have been touring for decades, and occasionally our paths cross. But I didnt see him at the Key Arena Saturday night, and he didnt see me at this weekends Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair. As usual, the event was flawlessly organized by local bookselling legend Louis Collins and, although the number of exhibitors was down a bit owing to conflicts with the Torontoand MARIABbook fairs, attendance was excellent. (Louis can really turn em out.) Thursday afternoon I did some scouting downtown, primarily at Brooklyn Seafood, but also at a place where I was able to purchase Read More
  • The Best Letter Ever

    Mon, 15 Oct 2012 09:49:08 Permalink
    Seattle, 2012 Bob Dylan and I have been touring for decades, and occasionally our paths cross. But I didnt see him at the Key Arena Saturday night, and he didnt see me at this weekends Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair. As usual, the event was flawlessly organized by local bookselling legend Louis Collins and, although the number of exhibitors was down a bit owing to conflicts with the Torontoand MARIABbook fairs, attendance was excellent. (Louis can really turn em out.) Thursday afternoon I did some scouting downtown, primarily at Brooklyn Seafood, but also at a place where I was able to purchase Read More
  • The Female Marine and her Sisters

    Sun, 07 Oct 2012 10:27:37 Permalink
    The cover girl for my latest rare book catalog is a lady named Elizabeth Emmons. The fates were not kind to Elizabeth. After her mother died, her father became a drunkard and also died. She lost an eye in a carriage accident, and shortly thereafter her fiance died. Heartbroken and alone, she took to the sea, where she found true love but then was shot and killed by a drunken Spanish madman. All this is related by the otherwise anonymous S.L. who describes the murder in a letter from Key West. The story was published in Boston in 1841 as Read More
  • Used Books of the Future II

    Sun, 30 Sep 2012 10:47:40 Permalink
    Up in Cape Breton all week mowing my lawn (with a chainsaw) and working on my walking book  I did not, I swear, buy, sell, or catalog an antiquarian book for the duration of my stay. So this weeks blog will be about old books in a once-removed sort of way. (See my blog entry of November 27, 2011 for Used Books of the Future I )When I wasnt writing or chainsawing, I was reading a wonderful used book called In the Hand of Dante , a novel by Nick Tosches published by Little, Brown in 2002. Nick, a devotee Read More
  • I've Had It

    Sat, 22 Sep 2012 07:48:15 Permalink
    (Clipper Ship Sailing Card, Wild Rover. See Below)OK. Ive had it. Im fried. Im cooked. Get the fork Im done.The gallery is hovering in suspension of disbelief, the lawns are mowed, the gardens tended, the house painted, Seattle Book Fair books sent to Seattle, purchases mailed to eager buyers, and Maritime List 213 dispatched to the printer. For the moment, at least, I dont want to look at another rare maritime book.Wife and I are headed up to the farm (See "Bookman's Log" for July 2, 2012 "The Feldman Archive.") and, with the exception of a chainsaw fandango Read More
  • Austin Squatty

    Mon, 17 Sep 2012 04:17:13 Permalink
    Hand colored chart of Vineyard Sound, 1882. (See below)I was treated to a relatively lively Boxborough Ephemera show this past Saturday, promoted by the ever present Flamingoz. Someone told me that the New York Pier Show, scheduled for this same weekend, had been canceled, and that this led to a minor influx of new dealers, swelling the ranks of exhibitors. So this show, which seemed to be slipping into oblivion, was given a years respite, at least. Lamentably, the crowds of attendees continue to dwindle. Where once the line awaiting the opening bell stretched through the lobby and down the Read More
  • Life on the Bottom

    Sun, 09 Sep 2012 05:28:18 Permalink
    Investment Quality? See belowLast weeks blog about my attempts to market and sell a collection of inexpensive used books set off a lengthy thread on the IOBA chatline. (For those of you not in the know, the Independent Online Booksellers Association is a trade group for people who sell books online professionally. They have an interesting and active listserv, and I am a dedicated lurker. Ive learned a lot from it about the wide range of people who make livings selling books on the Internet, and the many ways in which they go about that formidable task.)So, seeing as how Read More
  • Saving the Whales

    Mon, 03 Sep 2012 09:37:09 Permalink
    Theres been a lot of whining and I am as guilty as anyone in this regard about the so-called race to the bottom and the destruction this has wrought on the traditional used book market.Heres how it works or doesnt work.On my way home from lunch at the Halibut Point Restaurant I stop at a yard sale and buy, for $1, a copy of Howard Chapelles The American Fishing Schooners. Now, I know this is a $50 book because Ive had about a dozen copies and theyve always sold for $50, give or take.But as soon as Read More
  • Call Me Nuts, But…

    Mon, 27 Aug 2012 01:39:13 Permalink
    Back in the day I couldve bought a row house overlooking Domino Sugar and Baltimores Inner Harbor for sixty thousand. But I didnt have sixty thousand, and my wife didnt like the heat. So what I did was, I built myself a fantasy life in one of those lovely old buildings, writing my detective novels by day, working at night as a watchman at the Chesapeake Box factory across the street. Each year, when I come back to town to do the Baltimore show, I visit my fantasy self on Locust Point. Hes an old man now, mostly toothless, but Read More
  • The Seventh Try

    Sun, 19 Aug 2012 10:13:37 Permalink
    Well, were done with the hard part. Or, at least, this part of the hard part.The building got built, the gardens planted, the walls hung with paintings, and my book corner filled chockablock with books, maps, prints and manuscripts about Cape Ann and its history, along with a sprinkling of general maritime and art books. The girls sent out hundreds of email and printed invitations, and the gallery got a nice writeup on the front page of the local paper. There was nothing left to do but sit back and wait for the people to come.And come they did.More than Read More
  • Ramblin'

    Sun, 12 Aug 2012 06:12:05 Permalink
    Its a lush, drizzly August morning. Im listening to Ornette Colemans wonderful Ramblin and doing a little rambling of my own, brain unhitched, looking out my window at exploding green. Next thing I know, Im thinking about the life cycle of books and manuscripts. Then Im thinking of GWC colleague Ammiel Alcalay and his innovative Lost and Found publishing program at CUNY. Though nominally a scholar of Classical and Middle Eastern languages, Ammiel, who is also a published poet and translator, has wangled himself a position in CUNYs Ph.D. program in English. He says he takes issue with the highly Read More
  • The Last Book Sale

    Mon, 06 Aug 2012 03:59:26 Permalink
    How to design a clipper ship (see below) In the 19th century people writing one another about commercial matters sometimes used the word dull to describe business conditions. Judging from the contexts in which it appeared, the word seems to have two major definitions a little slow and lousy.So, when I say that business this month has been dull, please understand that I mean it in the first sense. Not much is going on.True, someone in Michigan sent me that lovely book on 19th century marine architecture, and I did manage to purchase a whaling log at a recent Read More
  • Orville

    Sun, 29 Jul 2012 11:35:32 Permalink
    Its the end of July again and, as I do every year at this time, I travel out to the town of Great Barrington, in the Berkshires, to do a book and paper show at a venue known as Searles Castle.Its a picturesque structure, with mirrors, chandeliers, paneled walls, and scary old trolls and gargoyles.Since setup is on Friday and the show is on Saturday only (promoters take note!) it's an easy show to do. Traffic on the Mass Pike is always lighter on Saturday night than Sunday.As usual, after setup, I lodge in the same hotel as my old Read More
  • Nantucket Memories or, Where Did They All Go?

    Mon, 23 Jul 2012 09:59:55 Permalink
    Pinkham's Nantucket, 1791 (hand colored reproduction, $300)In the 1990s I used to exhibit at the Nantucket Historical Associations August Antiques Show. It was held during the height of Nantuckets social season and it attracted the usual crowd - long on money and short on any imagination of themselves beyond what the Style of the day demanded, which was mostly white pants, deck shoes, oddly colored shorts, lightship basket handbags with faux scrimshaw adorning the lid, sweaters worn as scarves (sleeves knotted loosely around the neck), and oh, those pink socks! The dealer who set up across from me, an affable Read More
  • Extreme Book Selling

    Mon, 16 Jul 2012 09:23:55 Permalink
    Got some good news last week about my old friend and colleague Bob Langmuir.As you may recall Bob, a talented but troubled book and ephemera dealer, was the subject of my 2008 book, Huberts Freaks The book dealt with Bobs discovery of an incredible archive of papers kept by the African American manager of a Times Square flea circus and freak show in the 1950s and 60s. Included in this archive were original prints of photographs previously unknown - taken by legendary photographer Diane Arbus. The book documented Bobs struggles with the law, with other dealers and collectors, with Read More
  • The Little Giant

    Sun, 08 Jul 2012 12:35:16 Permalink
    Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the Little Giant, embodied traits that propelled Victorian England to dominance at the height of the Industrial Revolution. This polymath genius had a knack for devising innovative solutions to stubborn engineering problems, and a boldness of vision that led him to attempt some of the great projects of his age. He must have been a terrific salesman as well, for he was able to marshal the resources of the most powerful capitalists of his era, not to mention the British government itself, in support of his schemes. They didnt always work out, but when they did, the Read More
  • The Feldman Archive

    Mon, 02 Jul 2012 01:46:13 Permalink
    Up in Nova Scotia, clearing my field down by the river and living in the studio my artist friend and I built back in 1975.I wrote about this place last year. Over the decades he and his two wives and three children used it as a storage depot while they decamped to various parts of the globe. He and his wife are now living in a loft in Thessaloniki, Greece; he has a son in Oregon, and daughters in New Hampshire and India (and Gloucester). Ive come to realize that this studio/storage barn is a multi-media archive documenting the lives Read More
  • Librarians as Humans

    Sun, 24 Jun 2012 09:26:38 Permalink
    Walfisch. See below.Tuesday, June 18. F Street. - Im in San Diego for a gathering of more than three hundred Rare Book and Manuscript Librarians. Ive brought rare pamphlets, broadsides, and a few books and manuscripts, in a suitcase, to spread out like peacock feathers at the Dealers Showcase event tomorrow. But as I walk the streets on this fine afternoon, I am distracted, confused. From 1968 to 1970 I worked as a shipfitter on a Navy sub tender anchored out at Point Loma. I got to know the town intimately during that time, having walked it for the better Read More
  • Another Day in the Biz…

    Sun, 17 Jun 2012 03:38:55 Permalink
    The Fingerless NavigatorJust a quick one here, as Im on my way to San Diego for the Rare Book & Manuscript Librarians Preconference next week. Aside from bar and lobby schmoozing, there will be a dealers showcase on Wednesday. At this event, which lasts from breakfast to cocktail hour, dealers set out samples of their wares, and librarians drift in and out. Ive done the last few, and its a wonderful opportunity for librarians and dealers (who often, in the past, related like cats and dogs) to get to know each other another example of the benefits provided by Read More
  • Why I Bothered

    Mon, 11 Jun 2012 08:24:24 Permalink
    Insurance has been around for a long time. Back in the 19th century, as American cities began to proliferate, wood was still the primary building material, but construction standards were virtually non-existent. Catastrophic fires Chicago comes to mind were an ever present threat. Commerce, and the financial infrastructure that supported it, was undergoing explosive growth, and insurance became a necessity. But one standard for insuring a building in a city did not fit all buildings. In order to assess potential liabilities insurers needed to know, building by building, what the potential fire risk was.Fire insurance mapping began in Read More
  • I'd Rather Walk, Thanks...

    Mon, 04 Jun 2012 12:54:31 Permalink
    Sometimes I wonder if Ill ever finish writing this book. It involves a walk along the Connecticut River from Dartmouth College to Hartford, Connecticut. (See "Bookmans Log", January 29, 2012 for details.) I walked the first 70 miles of it back in April 2011. Then I went home and began writing an activity that has been frequently interrupted by urgent research trips back to my route to re-walk certain passages. So far, Ive written myself through the first day of the walk. At this rate, I calculate, it will take me 10 years to reach Hartford.Friday, on my way Read More
  • My Shop Window

    Sun, 27 May 2012 08:59:44 Permalink
    Well, its that time of year again. The ladyslippers are out.Theres a secret patch in the woods where the white ones grow. Ever see a white ladyslipper?Didnt think soIts also the time of year for the London book fairs PBFA at the Novotel, another one across from the Olympia, one at the Royal National in Bloomsbury, an Ephemera Show, also in Bloomsbury and, finally, the Big One, the London ABA International Antiquarian Book Fair at the Olympia.Back around the time of the Millennium, when I had a little money, we got a place in Ireland. My wife stayed there Read More
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