Member Blogs > ten pound island book company

  • 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
  • This is what it's come to…

    Sat, 07 Dec 2013 02:36:41 Permalink
    A call from a longstanding customer who is at death’s door and wants to be sure his collection is properly taken care of. He was avid and wealthy in the 60s and 70s and was able, with the help of a legendary Boston antiques dealer, to vacuum important material from the attics of Back Bay widows at prices that today seem ridiculously low. He also bought from Edward J. Lefkowicz, Carola Paine, Caravan Books, and me. The antique dealer is long dead, as are Paine and the proprietors of Caravan. Lefkowicz has retired from the trade. The collector called me Read More
  • The Amazon Problem

    Mon, 02 Dec 2013 09:51:11 Permalink
    Everybody in the book biz – antiquarian, used, and writing ‘em – seems obsessed with the dominance of Amazon. So, after watching the Patriots – Texans game, and then the Brocos – Chiefs, I snuck in a segment of “60 Minutes” which featured an interview with Jeff Bezos before tuning in the Redskins - Giants game.According to Jeff, warehouses are going up everywhere and Amazon has plans to deliver everything to anyone instantly. His vision of consumer paradise includes flying drones that will drop packages weighing up to five pounds at your doorstep. In fact, the entire sequence was a puff Read More
  • Rabbit Hole Publishing

    Sun, 24 Nov 2013 05:25:43 Permalink
    My writer pals talk about the harsh realities of getting their work published in today’s difficult market. My indie bookstore acquaintances, in their darker moments (they generally put on brave fronts) talk about skyrocketing rents, rising costs, and the decline of the printed word. My IOBA colleagues talk about the difficulties of selling used books in an online environment monopolized by Amazon. My ABAA colleagues talk about how institutional budget cuts and the rise of digital publishing have made it harder than ever to sell antiquarian books.Sounds hard, however you cut it.But what if I told you, as my buddy Anthony Weller told Read More
  • Chittering Hordes

    Mon, 18 Nov 2013 09:11:39 Permalink
    They were everywhere. Squealing, chittering hordes of them. Not as disgusting as crack house roaches or subway rats; vaguely humanoid in fact, with their funny knitted hats, backpacks, discrete piercings, and plastic communications devices dangling from their ears.Utterly self-absorbed, concentrating intently on posting the next YouTube video of their friends in line at Starbucks. Im talking, folks, about teenagers. High school students from everywhere in America, come to the Back Bay to sit on floors, clog the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel, block access to elevators, and stand in line by the dozens at every food venue within half a Read More
  • Other Voices, Other Rooms

    Sun, 10 Nov 2013 09:34:27 Permalink
    Just a quick one this week. Still a lot of items to catalog and prepare before next weekends big Boston International Antiquarian BookFair. And the visitors will be arriving soon!Over at Flatrocks Gallery Anne Marie and Cynthia are getting warmed up for the holiday season with a wonderful show called FeastAs you might imagine, this show features images of food in various media, and food-related items in clay, fabric, wood, and stone. I happened to overhear them brainstorming about it last month, and had a sudden inspiration.Anne Marie, remember that bookshop in Portland we used to stop at? The one that Read More
  • Saturday Afternoon in Vaitahu Bay

    Sun, 03 Nov 2013 10:14:55 Permalink
    Saturday afternoon, November 2, 2013, my back yardSpent most of Saturday morning looking out my back window and thinking it was Friday. Talk about falling back - I saved an entire day! After the jolt of realizing my mistake, or maybe because of it, my afternoon settled into a sleepy routine. I checked my email, ate a couple of leftover Halloween candy bars, and pulled down the next book in the pile waiting to be cataloged.It wasnt much to look at. The binding was broken, the boards were detached, and the sewing had come loose. On top of that, it Read More
  • Sh*t Explosion

    Mon, 28 Oct 2013 09:58:17 Permalink
    Maritime List 219 - AfterStill too gimpy to drive across the state, so Im skipping the Albany Book Fair this weekend. But Dan Gaeta, who was doing the show, called to tell me about an interesting item hed found.  Its nice to have friends! (Dan operates John Bale Book Co., a caf and book shop in Waterbury, CT. Talk about a simple but effective website, check out John Bale Books ) Anyway, since Ive been home all week, grumpily compiling my next catalog, and since I dont have a book fair to report on, I thought Id talk a little about Read More
  • People Who Have It Worse

    Wed, 23 Oct 2013 05:13:55 Permalink
    My blown quadriceps tendon turned out to be a little more disabling than Id hoped. For the first time in my career, I was forced to cancel out of a book fair   Book Row in Marvin Getmans infallibly interesting Boston Antiques & Design show . Next weekend is Garry Austins Albany Antiquarian Book Fair. Probably miss that one, too.So there I was, glumly pecking away, cataloging books for my next maritime list, hoping Id be able to get myself back in the game in time for the big Boston Book Fair November 15th. Ill admit that, despite an ample supply of Read More
  • People Who Have It Worse

    Wed, 23 Oct 2013 03:51:32 Permalink
    My blown quadriceps tendon turned out to be a little more disabling than Id hoped. For the first time in my career, I was forced to cancel out of a book fair   Book Row in Marvin Getmans infallibly interesting Boston Antiques & Design show . Next weekend is Garry Austins Albany Antiquarian Book Fair. Probably miss that one, too.So there I was, glumly pecking away, cataloging books for my next maritime list, hoping Id be able to get myself back in the game in time for the big Boston Book Fair November 15th. Ill admit that, despite an ample supply of Read More
  • People Who Have It Worse

    Mon, 21 Oct 2013 10:22:47 Permalink
    My blown quadriceps tendon turned out to be a little more disabling than Id hoped. For the first time in my career, I was forced to cancel out of a book fair   Book Row in Marvin Getmans infallibly interesting Boston Antiques & Design show . Next weekend is Garry Austins Albany Antiquarian Book Fair. Probably miss that one, too.So there I was, glumly pecking away, cataloging books for my next maritime list, hoping Id be able to get myself back in the game in time for the big Boston Book Fair November 15th. Ill admit that, despite an ample supply of Read More
  • Fresh Carpets

    Mon, 14 Oct 2013 12:02:23 Permalink
    Recently, on the Internet discussion lists of the two biggest bookselling trade groups -  IOBA and ABAA  -  Ive been reading disheartening reports. Sales are down. Postage is up. And the big listing sites like AMAZON, ABE and Alibris are raising fees, reducing service and enforcing increasingly byzantine procedures aimed at making it easier and more profitable for them rather than the book dealers who patronize them. Sounds like the way gun nuts talk about their Second Amendment rights. Python coils, and all that.Louis Collins, however, is doing just fine. Hes been in business since the 1960s and its obvious Read More
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