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Serendipity in Bookselling – Tim Doyle

Serendipity in Bookselling – Tim Doyle

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines “serendipity” as: “the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.” The word has just celebrated its 262nd birthday, having been coined by Horace Walpole in a letter to Horace Mann, dated 28 January 1754. Walpole built his neologism on the name of a land in a Persian fairy tale from Amir Khusrau’s Hasht-Bihisht of 1302. For an interesting discussion of this, see Dr. Oliver Tearle’s “A Short History of the Word ‘Serendipity‘.” The key role that the concept of serendipity can play in book buying and selling is well-illustrated by…

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Book Blogging: Don’t Do What I Do – Rachel Jagareski

Book Blogging: Don’t Do What I Do  – Rachel Jagareski

In 2007, I started blogging. I wanted to have a blog associated with our bookstore, but first wanted to test-drive the blogosphere and work the kinks out with a personal blog. My husband Dan had recently been diagnosed with celiac disease, an autoimmune disease requiring folks to avoid eating wheat, barley, and rye for the rest of their lives. In Dan’s case, his symptoms reversed after being on a gluten-free diet for several months, though retooling our pantry, dining out and learning how to cook and bake without wheat flour proved to be a real pain in the ileum. I started chronicling our experiences in navigating the gluten-free world as The Crispy Cook, quickly slapping up successful recipes, fuzzy photos and advice using Google’s Blogger platform. Once I got the hang of blogging, I started The Book Trout, where I spent much more time carefully crafting longish essays, book reviews, and…

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From the Incoming IOBA President – Joan White

From the Incoming IOBA President – Joan White

Hello! My name is Joan White. My husband, DeWayne (De), and I own White Unicorn Books. We have been IOBA members since 2002. We both have a strong commitment to IOBA and to the standards of IOBA. We have enjoyed the benefits of being a member and being active in the IOBA for many years. First, my reaction to becoming IOBA President. I was surprised, delighted and terrified! Surprised, because I had never run for an IOBA office. Delighted, because I have ambitious goals in mind for this association I love. Terrified, because there’s a lot of work ahead. In the time since the end of the election the support I have received is awesome. The Officers, MALs, Committee Chairs and fellow members have put themselves forward and we are on our way to accomplishing some of our goals. We have a good foundation to work from, and we will…

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Embracing the Unexpected – Joe Perlman

Embracing the Unexpected  – Joe Perlman

The following article was originally published in the Summer 2008 issue of The Standard. One of the best things about being in the used book business is that you never know what to expect. When you get up in the morning, you can never predict what the day will bring. Usually, the first thing I do when I get out of bed is check my e-mail for orders that came in overnight. Earlier this year I noticed a pattern that most of the orders were coming in at the beginning of the week. By Thursday, the orders slowed down to a trickle, and the weekends were pretty quiet. Now that I am used to this pattern, it has begun to shift, and lately the opposite has been true. The early part of the week is slow, and the bulk of my sales are Thursday through Sunday. I know that as…

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Bibliofile

Bibliofile

Bibliofile will be an occasional column at The Standard, which will present bits and pieces from around the world related to the love of books. Today’s offerings all come from Atlas Obscura, a website that features articles about sometimes little-known – but always very cool – people, places and things. “If you’re searching for miniature cities, glass flowers, books bound in human skin, gigantic flaming holes in the ground, bone churches, balancing pagodas, or homes built entirely out of paper, the Atlas Obscura is where you’ll find them.” Following is a selection of ten book-related articles that have been featured at the site: 1) Portable lighthouse libraries, distributed across the United States in the 19th century, were a common but important part of life for families living under the constant work and near-isolation of the lighthouse watch. 2) Why there are still Borders bookstores in Malaysia, or the strange case…

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From the Editor – Tim Doyle

From the Editor – Tim Doyle

Welcome to the Spring 2016 issue of The Standard, the journal of the Independent Online Booksellers Association (IOBA). One month ago, incoming IOBA President Joan White approached me about taking over as Editor, and re-booting The Standard. The journal was always intended to be a quarterly publication, not that one could tell based on the five issues published in the last six years. I was guest editor of the Summer 2013 issue (the last before the recent, lengthy hiatus) and have contributed some articles in the past. Some of you may also know me from a long series of articles I published over several years as the Science Fiction editor at Craig Stark’s BookThink site. As part of preparing to take up this challenge, I have spent a good amount of time going through back issues of The Standard – an exercise I strongly recommend to anyone reading this. Serious,…

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From the (Guest) Editor

Timothy Doyle

Welcome to the second issue of The Standard for 2013, and my inaugural turn as guest editor! I’d like to thank Chris Volk and Howard Prouty for inviting me to edit this issue. It’s been a pleasure and privilege working with the many talented people who contributed to bringing this issue to the virtual light of day, and I’d like to thank them all for making my job so much easier. And a special thank you to Managing Editor Joyce Godsey, for her patience in dealing with a well-intentioned newbie editor – who surely made her job harder! The theme of this issue of The Standard is perhaps somewhat counter-intuitive for the journal of the Independent Online Booksellers Association: real world bookselling opportunities for the online dealer. IOBA President Chris Volk sets the stage as she explains how the reports of the death of the book have been greatly exaggerated.…

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