Member Blogs > Pistil Blog

  • Meet Pistil Book's Web Designer - Nate K

    Tue, 22 Jan 2013 12:17:00 Permalink
    What is your history with Pistil Books and what is your current role? I have had a love affair with books my entire life, so I was very pleased when Pistil Books & News opened its doors in my neighborhood in the mid-nineties. I loved browsing the stacks and discovering titles Id always intended to read, but had never picked up before; always at better prices than buying them new. I gradually got to know the proprietors, Sean and Amy.I also attended a few of the events they held at their shop, book readings, lectures, etc. I was working for Read More
  • Lucky 2013

    Mon, 31 Dec 2012 07:14:00 Permalink
    Another year, another Pistil Books Collage Calendar!  This year's calendar is hot off the presses and features artwork by Amy, Sean, and Nathan, made from old books and ephemera.  The artwork reflects its sources, of course, and we had a lot of old art auction catalogs, as well as broken discarded library books and other books that have been damaged in some way.  Sean favors a 1950's male nudist book called Mountain Men that had pages removed by its previous owner, no doubt for pin-up purposes.  Nathan mentioned that he hopes there won't be too much nudity for his mom...Our Read More
  • Cool Cultural Artifacts

    Fri, 21 Dec 2012 08:02:00 Permalink
    19841985I've been taking a lot of book photos lately, using the keen photography setup Sean constructed for me over what doubles as our packing table.   Here I can use the specially designed tripod that swings out from the wall to take horizontal photos of books laying flat on a table.  I've been impressed by how cool vintage book covers look when photographed.  I use the term "vintage" pretty loosely - the books shown are from the seventies and eighties and reflect the aesthetics of their time.   19841972197219741971  Read More
  • Vintage Holiday Books

    Sun, 09 Dec 2012 06:44:00 Permalink
    We have some very cool vintage holiday sheet music and books for sale.  I love the bright colors, especially the blue in this book:This one has bright, full page colorful illustrations by Swedish-American illustrator Gustaf Tenggren, known for his Arthur Rackham influenced fairy-tale style.  With simplified piano arrangements by Inez Bertail.  44 pages.  Some of the songs included:  Silent Night; It Came Upon a Midnight Clear; O Little Town of Bethlehem; Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing.Some more holiday items can be found here. Read More
  • Happy Thanksgiving

    Tue, 20 Nov 2012 06:20:00 Permalink
  • Beautiful Old Bindings

    Sun, 04 Nov 2012 10:29:00 Permalink
    Here are some examples of beautiful old bindings published in the late 1800's, most by theHenry Altemus Company, Philadelphia.  Faded, but silvery. Stories of the deeds of valor of the heroic children of France:  "To suffer for their beloved France, to die for her, has been a sacred privilege to these youthful patriots, rather than a thing to be shunned and abhored."  The boy on the cover is about to be dropped from a balloon onto the battlefield...Samson is buff!This one has a passion flower and lily design. Read More
  • Recycled Blank Journals

    Tue, 16 Oct 2012 09:23:00 Permalink
    Kam, Troy, and I  have been busy making blank books and journals out of old library books and school books.    The first step in the process is to take apart the old book, using an exacto knife to carefully remove the text block, then comes cutting blank pages of the same size and thickness.  The fun part is choosing pages from the deconstructed book to leave interspersed amongst the blank pages - these are often illustrations, or pages with cool ex-library marks like a perforated name stamp.A stack of books with their new blank text blocks.After the paper has been Read More
  • Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar

    Tue, 02 Oct 2012 11:04:00 Permalink
    I attended the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar (CABS), a week-long intensive course on all aspects of bookselling, last month thanks to a scholarship from the ABAA (Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America).  The course was held at Colorado College and was taught by a faculty of ten people (but only one woman), including several rare book dealers, a couple of special collections librarians, an internet bookseller, and  Terry Belanger, University Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia, who started Rare Book School. The faculty were very generous with their time and knowledge, happy to answer questions, and even spent the lunch hour each Read More
  • My Job at Pistil Books by Kam M

    Fri, 31 Aug 2012 10:38:00 Permalink
    Kamposer at work.My job consists of cataloging and pricing sheet music. My favorite part of this job is being surrounded by shelves of interesting books and people.  Oh, and the beverage service. I have a classical music background, so if a piece says TTBB, I know what that means and can price accordingly.  For this I went to grad school.I am paid in gastronomic currency as well as cash money and book credit.  Amy and Sean are what you would describe as laid-back bosses.  On-time is a relative concept.Currently I am reading Thomas Kinkade (really), RL Stevenson, Zane Grey, Unamuno, Read More
  • Pistil Outdoor Book Sale 2012

    Sun, 26 Aug 2012 03:55:00 Permalink
    Pistil Books had our annual outdoor book sale yesterday, offering close to a thousand books culled from our shelves (making room for more!) for one and two dollars.  I spent the past week, along with Kam, our newest staff person, pulling books for the sale.  The selection was pretty good, about two-thirds non-fiction of all sorts to one-third fiction; lots of great books that are just "too common" on the internet market.Our first customer of the day was Jon Strongbow, a longtime Pistil customer and friend who brought us the gift of a signed copy of The Ocean of Time, Read More
  • True Anatomy

    Tue, 31 Jul 2012 05:20:00 Permalink
    From our Etsy shop: True Anatomy - A Visual Chart of the Actual Workings of the Human Mind A colorful 5 1/2"w x 8 1/2"h multi-layered chart of of the true workings of the mysterious human mind. See into the subconscious where speed boats, roasted turkeys, light bulbs, hammers, death cap mushrooms, toads, tractors, and small squirrels influence your dreams and actions. The human psyche revealed in this surreal collage made from cutting up books! Read More
  • Pistil on Etsy

    Tue, 10 Jul 2012 07:38:00 Permalink
    After a hiatus of several years, we have again started selling some items on Etsy.com, the selling site for crafts and vintage items.  Here we are selling our recycled journals made from old library books, vintage children's books, and collage cards which feature collage art made by Sean and I the old fashioned way - scissors, Exacto knife, glue stick and.... cutting up old books.  The cards are a mere $3.I must say I like the way the Etsy storefront shows the thumbnail photos of our books and cards - quite the colorful array.  In the future we will be Read More
  • Ephemera

    Sun, 01 Jul 2012 10:41:00 Permalink
    This weekend I went to an estate sale with my friend Tim.  We were planning to go garage saleing, but this being Juneuary in Seattle, it was too rainy for outdoor sales.  Sometimes sales advertised as "estate sales" are really just misnamed yard sales with small piles of crap, the sellers not realizing they have to be dead to really qualify for the more esteemed term.  This small modest house in the Queen Anne neighborhood was the real thing.  There's something a little creepy and sad about estate sales:  the literal contents of a person's life-- drawers, closets, shelves laid Read More
  • Sustainable Capitol Hill

    Sun, 17 Jun 2012 08:14:00 Permalink
    I've been a fan of  Sustainable Capitol Hill since it started a few years ago, but I haven't participated in very many of their activities, mainly because I just don't like going to meetings...  Recently, however, Sustainable Capitol Hill has started a book group and it's a lot of fun.  The group met for the first time last month at Bluebird creamery (a meeting with ice cream and beer!) and threw around ideas for books to read on the theme of sustainability.  We decided to read What Matters? Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth by Wendell Berry which we discussed at Read More
  • You Can Be Healed

    Mon, 28 May 2012 04:15:00 Permalink
    I found this nondescript little black book at a thrift store: You Can Be Healed by Clara Palmer, published by Unity School of Christianity, Lee's Summit, MO, 1950.  This is a book about the body and its functions written from the point of view that the body and everything it does is pretty miraculous, with some very reasonable and common sense advice on healthy living, including promoting vegetarianism.For example, about "Your Intelligent Liver," the author tells us:  "There is no laboratory in the world where a greater or more painstaking work is done than that which is carried on within Read More
  • Sticker on Sign Post

    Thu, 24 May 2012 12:50:00 Permalink
  • Colophon

    Wed, 16 May 2012 02:39:00 Permalink
    Traditional physical book forms have interesting and charming elements that add to the aesthetic pleasure of holding and reading a real book.  One such element that is not often seen anymore (as most of the information would now be given on the back of the title page, the copyright, or imprint, page) is the colophon.A colophon is a note at the end of a book that gives information about the printing of the book.  In early books, before there were title pages the colophon was the only place to find this information.   In more modern times, colophons are found in Read More
  • Addendum

    Thu, 03 May 2012 12:11:00 Permalink
    There's a lot of talk in the book world about what the future of books will be.  Some fear that the physical book will disappear or become a niche collectible item, as has happened with vinyl records.  This question brings to mind the physical qualities which add charm and make books unique, such as inserts, and how much I will miss them, should they ever go away.Recently, in handling a book, A Pictorial History of English Architecture, by John Betjeman, (published by John G. Murray, London, 1972), to my amusement the following printed card, about the size of a standard Read More
  • Why Pistil Books?

    Thu, 12 Apr 2012 04:44:00 Permalink
    I am being interviewed by the IOBA (Independent Online Booksellers Association) for a feature on their website, and one of the questions that has come up is why we chose the name Pistil Books.  This has been an oft-asked question during the life of our store, and quite frequently we've been mistakenly thought to be Pistol Books.Here's a postcard we used to send out (images and definitions from a children's dictionary) by way of explanation.We chose the name Pistil Books because we liked the play of the word pistil, a female flower part, versus pistol, a gun. A homophone with two Read More
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