Member Blogs > ten pound island book company

  • Collage

    Sun, 06 Jul 2014 07:26:01 Permalink
    PrefaceThis is a book about a walk down the Connecticut River by a man who finds himself getting old, but not too old to walk. The ostensible purpose of his walk is scholarly, dignified, historical - the deconstruction of the legend of John Ledyard, who made a similar journey in 1773. But the walk might also be the man's final attempt to outdistance the "old" that will soon and forever after precede the "man" in reference to himself.     Stubbornly, he chooses to walk the river because John Ledyard (who actually sailed down it in a canoe) won fame for Read More
  • Not This Time

    Sun, 29 Jun 2014 08:21:17 Permalink
    Where do you start with a place like Vegas? Bally's Hotel and Casino is hosting the 2014 Moose International convention and dealing with a chronic shortage of aquatic plant life, willow shoots, and other forage. Hairy guys with backwards baseball caps. Old men and their leisurewear. Fatties in mobile chairs work away, tethered to slot machines. A Bally's credit card at the other end of the line drips the money in and out. The tether prevents the card from being stolen, lost, or forgotten. Sorry, sir, no photographs. What is the plural of Moose ? Do the International Moose employ Read More
  • BI-PARTISAN BRAINCHILD OF LIBERAL SENATORS UNTHINKABLE TODAY

    Sun, 22 Jun 2014 11:14:28 Permalink
     Another excellent opening last night at Flatrocks Gallery. This one was called "Series" and it presented the work of three artists, each of whom explore a single subject from a single vantage point numerous times. I'll spare you the art history riff, but will tell you that we had a great party. And we got a nice writeup in the Boston Sunday Globe this morning. The show was particularly meaningful to me because it featured the work of Tim Harney, an artist I'd worked with 37 years ago. I don't know how many people remember the CETA (Comprehensive Employment and Read More
  • Just Like Weapons of Mass Destruction

    Mon, 16 Jun 2014 04:38:43 Permalink
    See item #5 in our new catalog Before we get down to this week's business, here's some late breaking news.After setup and opening night at the Philadelphia Vintage Book & Ephemera Fair, participants were informed by the promoter that their exhibit space had been double booked, and that they'd have to be out of there by 10am the next morning. Colleague George Cubanski of Rarities, Etc. wrote a short blog about the screwup. He reported in a subsequent email that "I didn't notice people casting blame; the dominant feeling seemed to be sympathy for Flamingo." The promoters, Flamingo Eventz, posted an Read More
  • Let it Bleed!

    Mon, 09 Jun 2014 04:16:07 Permalink
    Back in the Stone Age, which is where I'm from, if you made your living in the used book trade, you had a shop or you worked in one. Shop #2, 1978Oh, there were a few people who were smart enough to make their livings as book scouts – selling quality material to dealers and institutions – or organized enough to run mail order search services, which found obscure tomes for customers and quoted books to want ads in places like AB Magazine. Most of us, though, had open shops. These places served as many functions as we owners could Read More
  • Transhumance

    Mon, 02 Jun 2014 11:16:22 Permalink
    What could be more mysterious than the irresistible signals sent by the turning of the seasons? Now the days lengthen as the sun proceeds toward its summer destiny. The lilac has come into bloom and faded. The shad bush has leafed out. Alewives struggle upstream, and elvers wriggle down to the sea. The IRS has been paid, the soldiers honored, and the peas planted. Like a salamander crawling out of the muck, I obey nature's call and head north – part of a transhumance that has been taking place since the beginning of bookseller chronicles. It's time for another New Read More
  • "Time is of the Essence"

    Mon, 26 May 2014 04:09:28 Permalink
    I had a pretty good blog idea sketched out for this week. It was going to be an essay about blogs, because I had recently participated in an event sponsored by the Gloucester Writers Centerin which half a dozen local bloggers talked about their blogs – the hows, whys, and wherefores. You can see the videoon one of Gloucester's most successful blogs, “Good Morning Gloucester” along with a chat between Joey Ciaramitaro - that blog's presiding genius - and Jim Dowd, creator of an exciting new local blog, The Clam My planned essay focused on the assertion by Dowd that Read More
  • Watching What I'm Wishing For

    Sun, 18 May 2014 10:19:47 Permalink
    For the past five years the NewBedford Whaling Museum  has been sponsoring a scrimshaw show in conjunction with their annual Scrimshaw Symposium. This year they opened the show up to include a wider range of maritime antiques and books, and I figured “Why not?” I thought there was a fair chance that the show, which was taking place in the lobby of the museum, would be clogged with clueless tourists, but since the event only lasted for a day I knew my suffering would be limited. Happily no suffering was involved. The show was crowded most of the day with a niche Read More
  • Lost and Found

    Sun, 11 May 2014 08:42:34 Permalink
    A surprise awaited me when I returned from vacation last Thursday. In truth, it was only a surprise because I had forgotten it was there, but the effect was the same. A nasty stack of cartons containing a run of a periodical that, in a weak moment before my departure, I had purchased from a theological library. What was I thinking?I was thinking, "A century-long run of The Sailor's Magazine and Naval Journal– a gold mine of maritime history; an unexcavated trove historical nuggets! It's got to be of use to somebody. Then I shelved it,cataloged it, Seaman's Friend Society Read More
  • Used Books of the Future Redux

    Mon, 05 May 2014 09:24:00 Permalink
    Greg: "Don't bother me. I'm having deep, noir thoughts... working on my next detective novel."Anne Marie: "Looks more like you're working on your next drink."After two weeks of Irish hills and windswept islands, we've retreated to our home place, Cork City, for a couple of days of loafing around. Then we'll go north to check out Newgrange,that mysterious, awe inspiring, neolithic temple/timepiece, and then we'll head home.I can't tell you how good it feels to be taking a break from the rare book biz. OK, I did try to buy an 1871 French voyage to Tahiti, but that was left Read More
  • West Cork, Ireland

    Sun, 27 Apr 2014 12:56:57 Permalink
    Lots of walking, Friends,Talking, eating, drinking, sleeping.Anne Marie: "Do you want to look at the map before you drink too much, or after?"Greg: "After." Read More
  • Post-traumatic Heebie Jeebies

    Sun, 20 Apr 2014 10:25:53 Permalink
    Got this spring's wood split and mostly stacked, the garden fenced in, peas and beets planted. All the books from Maritime List 222 are invoiced and mailed, and the office is cleaned up. Anne Marie and I are headed out Monday night for London, Dublin, and Cork. After four intense months of book buying and selling (Hartford, Wilmington, San Francisco, Pasadena, Washington, Greenwich, New York, and many points in between), I'm ready for a break.Of course, this left a void in the slot where the weekly "Bookman's Log" blog entry was supposed to go – I just didn't feel like talking about Read More
  • What Happened Next?

    Mon, 14 Apr 2014 08:32:07 Permalink
    Wonderful, whimsical new show at Flatrocks Gallerythis month. It's called "Tall Tales," and curators Anne Marie and Cynthia are billing it as a collection of visual narratives with a surrealist bent. Stories are the connective tissue of the human race. At the heart of every event is a human element that leads to three of the most exciting words in any language: What happened next? If you answer that question you are a storyteller. Works in a variety of media by seven local artists on display at Flatrocks Gallery explore the answers. So there I was tending bar at the Read More
  • Promoter Predicts Catastrophe in 2015

    Mon, 07 Apr 2014 09:50:34 Permalink
    Promoter Sandy Smith delivers the bad newsOne of the most anticipated features of the New York International Antiquarian Book Fair is free lunch for dealers at setup on Thursday. Indeed, in a city where even "free" costs an arm and a leg, Thursday afternoon's catered meal attracts booksellers from across America and Europe. Turkey, roast beef, veggie wraps... Hell, they even have bottled water! But not this year.At approximately 11:30 am, as dealers – particularly those on European time – began making growling noises, a sign appeared outside the show office announcing that lunch had been cancelled. Asked about the Read More
  • Decisions, Decisions

    Sun, 30 Mar 2014 05:43:33 Permalink
    This is always a rough week for me. The New York International Antiquarian Book Fair is hauling into view (April 2-6), and there are decisions to be made. What stays? What goes? It's the biggest fair on the circuit and it has the greatest upside in terms of profit potential and meeting new customers. It's also the most expensive of the American fairs, and big city livin' is a real drain on the pocket book. It would make sense to set aside my best stock for an event such as this, but I'm not a hoarder by nature, and the Read More
  • Kindling

    Sun, 23 Mar 2014 09:54:42 Permalink
    In 1996 I got a call from colleague Owen Kubik who runs an eponymous  book business in the Midwest. He told me he had an interesting manuscript, but that he needed some assistance figuring out what it was and selling it. I was able to help him do both.It turned out to be the journal of a young navy office who went out to capture the perpetrator of one of the bloodiest mutiniesin American maritime history. I sold the journal for good money to a museum, and everyone was happy.A few years later, my first book had just come out Read More
  • Contagion of Pessimistic Resignation

    Mon, 17 Mar 2014 10:16:38 Permalink
    I've been telling people for years that "food is the new religion." I used to get funny looks. Now I get knowing nods. So it was not surprising that this year's thirty-fourth annual conference of the Ephemera Society of America  – "Food & Drink: Field to Table" - was devoted to food. Books, manuscripts, documents, and ephemera of every sort relating to recipies, restaurants... you name it. Two days worth of presentations on everything from seed catalogs to cocktail ephemera.And, of course, the Ephemera Show – sixty two of America's finest dealers in paper displaying their wares to hundreds of Read More
  • Springing Ahead

    Mon, 10 Mar 2014 09:03:12 Permalink
    So we show up Friday morning full of anticipation, excitement, fear & loathing, or whatever we’re disposed to be full of, and schlep our books in, and set our booths up, and try to purchase material at advantage from our colleagues, Not a Civilian in Sightand gossip, and go out for lunch, and come back and scout some more, struggling now to stay awake, resisting malign conspiracies of gravity, age, dopamine deficiency, seasonal affect disorder, and rage against the machine, and tidy our booths up with a final primp, and assume our positions for the five o’clock opening and…Nothing.Or, almost Read More
  • A New Jersey full of Crays

    Mon, 03 Mar 2014 11:00:53 Permalink
    Over the past few years I've been writing a series of essays about an eccentric American genius called John Ledyard, “The American Traveler.” These essays take the form of walking meditations because they are framed by my walk along the Connecticut River from Hanover, New Hampshire to Hartford, Connecticut – recapitulating a canoe voyage Ledyard made in 1773when he ran away from Dartmouth College and sailed down the river to his family in Hartford.The walk has taken me many interesting places. In one way I'm investigating the nooks and crannies of riverfront New England. But in another way I'm walking from Read More
  • Making Do

    Sun, 23 Feb 2014 01:52:52 Permalink
    My new computer is scheduled to arrive sometime next week. Maybe. Meanwhile I’ve been making do. My temporary office suiteThe big screen in the illustration above is the monitor for my mortally ill computer, which can only run filemaker. So I catalog my books on that one, but slowly, or it’ll freeze up. The little netbook is my Internet access – google, OCLC, ViaLibri and the like – also done slowly, since it’s only got 2 megs of ram. (Just by way of comparison, my new machine will be delivered with 8 gigs of ram.) And the droid, of course, Read More
  • Request for Proposal. February 16, 2014

    Sun, 16 Feb 2014 09:30:43 Permalink
    I operate an antiquarian book business. I sell rare books and ephemera at book shows, and through email and telephone quotes to retail customers, institutions, and other dealers. I publish a weekly blog with rare items featured. I post occasionally on Facebook and Twitter. I list books on two Internet listing services, and I publish catalogs online, through my website - http://tenpound.com/ - as well as occasional hard copy catalogs which I design and send to a commercial printer. The website is fairly basic HTML, or so I am told. My son manages it for me, but I would like Read More
  • Buying Things That Don't Exist

    Sun, 09 Feb 2014 12:47:45 Permalink
    So much for San Francisco. Long easy drive down the 101 to PismoBeach. The vast Pacific and its eternal song.Monarch butterflies gathering in eucalyptus trees by the hundreds of thousands, as they’ve been doing for eons. The male will fly with his chosen one to the treetops, spend six hours of insect ecstasy, and die. The female will fly away, find a milkweed plant, lay her eggs, and die. Some of these creatures have flown halfway across America, utilizing “stored fat.” Where does a butterfly store enough fat to get it as high as 10,000 feet, 100 miles a day? Read More
  • On Being Geniuses

    Mon, 03 Feb 2014 09:46:59 Permalink
    Telegraph HillOkay. This is the first thing that happens, and it happens every year. We leave home in the pre-dawn chill, hoping we’ve given ourselves sufficient time to account for snow and ice, and that no blizzards trap us in the airport for three days. We pass through security in a sleepy daze, find our seats, doze off, wake, read, sleep, and six hours later step out of the steel cocoon into gentle breezes, blue skies, rolling hills. We feel the sun warm our faces and we think, “We are geniuses!” We’ve made it to California once again.This year the big Read More
  • Bank On It

    Mon, 27 Jan 2014 10:10:06 Permalink
    I taught at CABS (Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar) a few years ago, once as the featured specialist dealer, and once pinch hitting for Rob Rulon-Miller.Rob Rulon-Miller telling students, "Listen to the book!"I went there thinking it would be like a week in summer camp – book stories, hikes, and handicrafts. I came away deeply impressed with the level of commitment on the part of the faculty,the seriousness with which they took their roles as instructors, and the level of information, all of it useful, imparted during that intense week in Colorado Springs. We trained for books with the same intensity as Read More
  • Another Hit for Garry & the Flamingoz?

    Mon, 20 Jan 2014 12:02:08 Permalink
    Sharing a booth at the first Metropolis Book & VintageEphemera Show in New York City with old pal Lin Respess of L&T Respess Books  and taking his goods along with ours. Quite a load. This was my third show in three weeks, and I thought I’d be battle fatigued. Instead I found myself in a genial haze. Another book fair? Why not!As I entered the 69th Regiment Armory I was impressed by the sense of history the place exudes. Of course, the “fighting 69th” has a storied past, and the building itself has been the site of some notable events, including Read More
  • Eye Candy

    Sun, 12 Jan 2014 07:00:02 Permalink
    Marvin Getman's Antiques & Design ShowThis can be a very constricting profession. Financial and intellectual pressures tend to create a kind of intensity in our relationship to our material. We've got to understand that manuscript. We've got to get that catalog out, get those books online. I keep talking about the need for different experiences, new venues, fresh points of view. About getting out and looking at the forest instead of the trees. Or different trees, at least.And, every once in a while I take my own advice. When books and paper get a little stale, there’s always an“antique show” Read More
  • Just a Matter of Luck

    Mon, 06 Jan 2014 01:33:37 Permalink
    After my car got totaled I went for a walk. Slipped on the ice and hurt my wrist so badly I thought it was broken. But I didn’t have time to properly diagnose the injury because, almost immediately upon returning home, I came down with a nasty case of stomach flu courtesy of the grandchildren. You know the drill… porcelain goddess. Next day I was able to determine that I had only bruised, not broken, the wrist. That was the good news. The bad news was that the kid who hit my car (It was parked in front of my Read More
  • My Retirement Plans

    Mon, 30 Dec 2013 09:31:38 Permalink
    N. & W.W. Billings Archive (see below)Everybody knows how to research an old book. You go on the Internet and type the title in Google. After a few minutes of fumbling around you come upon Addall, or Bookfinder, or viaLibri, or ABE or Amazon or any of dozens of sites with searchable databases. On this site, you find a copy of your book for $2500 and you realize you have discovered a great treasure (the other 32 listings for this title, ranging down to $5, are obviously defective, and therefore you ignore them.)But it’s much harder learning about other kinds Read More
  • All I Want for Xmas is a Droid with Apps

    Sun, 22 Dec 2013 01:44:11 Permalink
    It's that time of year again, and for the fourth year running I am reprinting my classic Xmas blog, first published to great acclaim in 2010. (Well, the guy who worked for me said he liked it, but of course it was payday.) I love tradition. And I love the tradition of getting a Christmas reprieve from my blogging chores. So, without further ado...I’m old, and have made peace with myself, mostly. I suppose you could call it “set in my ways.” Hence, I feel no need to adjust my wardrobe choices to the dictates of whatever modern fashion might Read More
  • Hens, Chicks, and Whales

    Sun, 15 Dec 2013 04:18:45 Permalink
    According to author Joan Druett a hen frigate “traditionally, was any ship with the captain's wife on board.” In fact, Joan wrote a wonderful book on the subject titled, reasonably enough, Hen Frigates: Wives of Merchant Captains Under Sail. The book came out in 1998, but for years before that I’d known about these sailor-wives, and had always been on the lookout for artifacts from their voyages.They wrote letters aboard ship, of course, and did needlework, drawing, painting, and many of the other “feminine arts” to while the long days away. They annotated bibles and saved leaves and flowers from Read More
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