Monday, December 26, 2011

"Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?" (T.S. Eliot)

The Year in Book News, from Sheppard's Confidential

Another year comes to an end.  And what a year it has been!  National and international events aside,
the book trade is itself changing and it seems timely to review some of the major events in 2011 as we
have reported in this newsletter.  Here are some of the headlines:

Two companies received Royal Warrants: Blisset & Co., and Bibliophile Ltd. Twenty branches of
Waterstones to close… and UK Libraries came under more financial pressure – Devon Libraries started
to sell off valuable books. British Bookshops went into administration. Our business survey suggested
(from 400 who took part) that trade in 2011 would be much better about the same but 41 per cent
thought they would see an increase in their sales. World Book Market offered new Freeware. HD Fairs
went into liquidation. And major floods occurred in Brisbane (Australia).

WH Smith buys 22 bookshops. Canadian authors hire their own editors. Euro MP raises the Amazon
Price Parity issue; Delays in postage to USA. Borders book chain fails, and Australian book chain Angus & Robertson – and Whitcoulls went into voluntary administration. Books created from Wikipedia
entries by Alphascript and Betascript were exposed. Major earthquake hits Christchurch (New Zealand).  Several dealers lost their businesses and were lucky to get out of their buildings.

Abebooks acquires ZVAB. The ‘Bookdealer’ will not reappear in print. Devastation in Christchurch clear  for all to see – book dealers suffer. Another comic fetches high price: Archie Comics No 1 (1942) made $167,300.  Publishers in Europe raided by EU inspectors – all about the agency model for e-books. Whitcoulls in New Zealand for sale. Sales of books about Hitler boom. Google loses battle to create world’s largest library – US judge rules.  Michael Treloar launches ‘Books without Borders’ – to raise funds for dealers in Christchurch. Major earthquake and tsunami hits Japan.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Judgemental Bookseller Ostrich

There are a whole lot of these... and some of them are downright hilarious. Any bookseller or bookstore lover will appreciate the genius.

Judgmental Bookseller Ostrich

 Judgmental Bookseller Ostrich Judgmental Bookseller Ostrich Judgmental Bookseller Ostrich

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Best Sustainable Christmas Tree Ever

I liked this, simple, creative and aesthetically pleasing to my bookseller eyes.
"Book lovers can sidestep the eternal question of farmed versus PVC (they both suck) and opt for a holiday display that's a monument to reading ... or bibliophilia, anyway, since trying to actually read any of the books in this display would be a holiday Jenga nightmare.
You don't even have to celebrate Christmas to want one of these in your house. Heck, you can build one and still do your part for the illusory War on Christmas, provided you build it entirely out of copies of The God Delusion."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Concerns About Northwest Nuclear Waste Plant

11 Dec 2011 The federal government says a one-of-a-kind plant that will convert radioactive waste into a stable and storable substance that resembles glass will cost hundreds of millions of dollars more and may take longer to build, adding to a string of delays and skyrocketing price tag for the project. In addition, several workers at southeast Washington's Hanford nuclear reservation have raised concerns about the safety of the plant's design -- and complained they've been retaliated against for voicing their issues.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Earthlight Books Offers eBooks through Google's Affiliate Program

Begrudgingly (actually, it's kind of fun, cutting-edge, and cool) Earthlight Books is entering the realm of the eBook. If you follow this link, or any link to eBooks from our website, you will be taken to the mystical land of Google eBooks and their 3,000,000 titles. If you were to purchase anything while there, Earthlight will get 6% of the sale. A pittance perhaps, but an interesting service for us to offer our customers, both local and abroad.

from Earthlight Books

Thanks for your loyalty over the years, we look forward to the continuing evolution of our wonderful world of books!

Saturday, December 10, 2011


                                 n. A person of the
                                 highest degree of
                               unworth. Etymologically,
                                   the word means
                                 unbeliever, & its
                                present signification
                                 may be regarded as
                                 theology's noblest
                                 contribution to the
                                 development of our

                      — Ambrose Bierce, Devil's Dictionary 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Washington Rural Heritage

Washington Rural Heritage

Washington Rural Heritage is a collection of historic materials documenting the early culture, industry, and community life of Washington State. The collection is an ongoing project of small, rural libraries and partnering cultural institutions, guided by an initiative of the Washington State Library (WSL). The initiative provides the infrastructure and training to both digitize and serve unique collections to a widespread audience.

The mission of Washington Rural Heritage is to:
  • Enable small and rural libraries to create digital collections of unique items that highlight institutional holdings and tell the stories of their communities.
  • Make these items accessible online to a wide audience.
  • Provide long-term storage and preservation of digital masters created by WRH participants.
This mission is in line with the larger mission of the Washington State Library to "ensure that Washingtonians have access to the information they need today and the history of Washington tomorrow."
The Project
On-location large-format scanning. Whitman County Library, 2007.
A large number of small and rural public libraries (defined as serving a population of less than 25,000) and other heritage institutions in Washington are in possession of unique, irreplaceable material highlighting the history of their communities. In the majority of instances, these institutions lack staffing, expertise, and resources to make these treasures widely available to the public. The infrastructure to ensure long-term access to online collections is often a major stumbling block for small institutions.
The Washington Rural Heritage initiative shifts focus from funding repetitive projects at individual institutions, to a collaborative model which centralizes infrastructure and supports community projects at the local level.  The initiative provides participating libraries and their partners with training in various aspects of digital project development and management including: selection, copyright research, digital imaging, metadata creation, use of digital asset management software, evaluation & assessment, etc. Initiative staff develop and maintain project standards, guidelines, and best practices.
Washington Rural Heritage also provides on-location services to participating institutions. Traveling staff assist participating institutions with everyday scanning issues, provide specialized scanning on-location (e.g., scanning of-large format items), and train participants in-person.
Collaboration is a critical aspect of the initiative. Identification, research, and cataloging of objects is achieved in a collaborative manner, taking place on-site, within each participating community. Collaboration is encouraged between public libraries and strategic partners such as historical societies, museums, tribes, government agencies, schools, and local subject experts. 
Hudson Bay Company Blockhouse.Stevens County Heritage Collection
The Collections
Washington Rural Heritage collections are made up of items of historical and cultural significance. These include: old photographs, historical texts, memorabilia & ephemera, scrapbooks, maps, artwork, objects & artifacts, etc.  Video and audio files (e.g., oral histories, lectures, interviews) are also part of the online collection. Many of these collections include unique historical resources not previously available in digital format.
The physical collections are housed locally by owning institutions around the state, while the digital collections are housed by the Washington State Library (WSL), a division of the Office of the Secretary of State (OSOS). 
Participating institutions select, scan, and describe items which tell the stories of their communities.
Collections are aggregated into a statewide digital repository—improving access to items across the state, ensuring better consistency across the collections, and providing researchers with the choice to search across multiple collections or limit searches within one collection.  WSL creates a customized landing page for participating institutions, allowing for better integration with their own web presence and online collections or catalogs.
Copyright Considerations
Washington Rural Heritage items that fall under copyright protection remain under copyright protection. The Washington State Library is not interested in gaining copyright ownership or selling copies of the images. All requests for use or reproduction of the images will be referred to the owning institutions. 
In order to preserve digital surrogates and provide long-term access to the collection, the Washington State Library obtains a release from owning institutions to preserve high-resolution copies in long-term “dark” storage, and to provide access to low-resolution (i.e., publication and thumbnail copies) online.
Visit the Washington Rural Heritage legal page for a full copyright statement. 
Advisory Committee
Advisory committee members are made up of volunteers from various institutions (museums, libraries, historical societies, tribes) with expertise in digital collections and repositories, as well as representatives from the established target audiences (historians/researchers, k-12 educators, genealogists, etc.) Committee members will advise on aspects of the project including establishing metadata guidelines, collection selection, insight on use, and discuss other aspects of the project.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. --Mark Twain

Five Things You May Not Know About Mitt Romney

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Amazon Locks Out Certain Users From Their Kindle Libraries, Can't Answer As To Why

Amazon Puts Your $1000 Kindle Library 'On Hold,' Apologizes, Shrugs

One day in October, Kindle owner Ryan couldn't log in to his Amazon account. He reset his password: no luck. According to Amazon representatives, the account is now "on hold," but no one can tell him what that means. He was told that someone at Amazon would call him back within 24 hours. That was almost a month ago.
Amazon representatives claim that this case is unprecedented. Perhaps the particulars of his case are from Amazon's end, but this isn't the first time we've heard of Kindle owners being locked out of their virtual bookshelves.
I have been a Kindle owner for nearly a year now.
I was recently unable to login to my account with the message that the password was "denied". I reset my password and still received the same denied message even though I had an email confirming my reset.
I called Amazon and was told my account was put on hold, but they couldn't tell me why. I was then asked for some basic information and told that an Account Specialist would be contacting me within 24 hours. This was October 25th.
I no longer have access to the nearly $1000 in Kindle content I have purchased. I disputed all of the Amazon credit card charges that I could, however there is still about 10 months of purchases I have lost because of this.
I have filed a complaint with the BBB, emailed everyone I could at Amazon, called the Customer Service Line, the Kindle "Executive" support line, and Corporate. I have been apologized to by everyone I have spoken to and been told that they have never seen this situation before.
None of them can tell me if I will ever receive the content I have paid for.
If this is what the ebook revolution looks like, I'll buy the written history in paperback.]

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Welcome to the Future of Automobiles

What will the Oil Companies do to stop it? 
It is an auto engine that runs on air. That's right; air not gas or diesel or electric but just the air around us. Take a look.

Tata Motors of India has scheduled the Air Car to hit Indian streets by August 2012

The Air Car, developed by ex-Formula One engineer Guy N. For Luxembourg-based MDI, uses compressed air to push its engine's pistons and make the car go.

The Air Car, called the "Mini CAT" could cost around 365,757 rupees in India or $8,177 US.

The Mini CAT which is a simple, light urban car, with a tubular chassis, a body of fiberglass that is glued not welded and powered by compressed air. A Microprocessor is used to control all electrical functions of the car. One tiny radio transmitter sends instructions to the lights, turn signals and every other electrical device on the car. Which are not many.

The temperature of the clean air expelled by the exhaust pipe is between 0-15 degrees below zero, which makes it suitable for use by the internal air conditioning system with no need for gases or loss of power.

There are no keys, just an access card which can be read by the car from your pocket. According to the designers, it costs less than 50 rupees ($1) per 100 KM (62 miles), that's about a tenth the cost of a car running on gas. It's mileage is about double that of the most advanced electric car, a factor which makes it a perfect choice for city motorists. The car has a top speed of 105 KM per hour or 60 mph and would have a range of around 300 km or 185 miles between refuels. Refilling the car will take place at adapted gas stations with special air compressors. A fill up will only take two to three minutes and costs approximately 100 rupees (about $2) and the car will be ready to go another 300 kilometers.

This car can also be filled at home with it's on board compressor. It will take 3-4 hours to refill the tank, but it can be done while you sleep.

Because there is no combustion engine, changing the 1 liter of vegetable oil is only necessary every 50,000 KM or 30,000 miles. Due to its simplicity, there is very little maintenance to be done on this car.

This Air Car almost sounds too good to be true. We'll see in August. 2012

Monday, November 21, 2011

What 10 Classic Books Were Almost Called

Remember when your high school summer reading list included AtticusFiesta, and The Last Man in Europe? You will once you see what these books were renamed before they hit bookshelves.

1. F. Scott Fitzgerald went through quite a few titles for his most well-known book before deciding on The Great Gatsby. If he hadn’t arrived at that title, high school kids would be pondering the themes of Trimalchio in West Egg; Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires; On the Road to West Egg; Under the Red, White, and Blue; Gold-Hatted Gatsby; and The High-Bouncing Lover.

2. George Orwell’s publisher didn’t feel the title to Orwell’s novel The Last Man in Europe was terribly commercial and recommended using the other title he had been kicking around—1984.

3. Before it was Atlas Shrugged, it was The Strike, which is how Ayn Rand referred to her magnum opus for quite some time. In 1956, a year before the book was released, she decided the title gave away too much plot detail. Her husband suggested Atlas Shrugged and it stuck.

4. The title of Bram Stoker’s famous Gothic novel sounded more like a spoof before he landed on Dracula—one of the names Stoker considered was The Dead Un-Dead.

5. Ernest Hemingway’s original title for The Sun Also Rises was used for foreign-language editions—Fiesta. He changed the American English version to The Sun Also Rises at the behest of his publisher.

6. It’s because of Frank Sinatra that we use the phrase “Catch-22” today. Well, sort of. Author Joseph Heller tried out Catch-11, but because the original Ocean’s Eleven movie was newly in theaters, it was scrapped to avoid confusion. He also wanted Catch-18, but, again, a recent publication made him switch titles to avoid confusion: Leon Uris’ Mila 18. The number 22 was finally chosen because it was 11 doubled.

7. To Kill a Mockingbird was simply Atticus before Harper Lee decided the title focused too narrowly on one character.

8. An apt precursor to the Pride and Prejudice title Jane Austen finally decided on: First Impressions.

9. Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? Secretly, apparently. Mistress Mary, taken from the classic nursery rhyme, was the working title for Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden.

10. Originally called Ulysses in Dublin, James Joyce’s Dubliners featured characters that would later appear in his epic Ulysses a few years later.

Read the full text here:
--brought to you by mental_floss! 

testing ELB's twitterfeed...

testing ELB's twitterfeed...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Snippets from Sheppard's Confidential: News & Events in Antiquarian & Second-Hand Books

The news that the Booksellers Association is downsizing and moving to
smaller premises is not surprising. The numbers of booksellers in the new
book trade has fallen from 1,483 (in 2006) to 1,099. The BA is putting up a
good fight of course on behalf of their members. Obviously, the Internet and
supermarkets have had a huge and damaging effect but it is interesting that
the BA is now also blaming charity shops.

One quote by the Charity Retail Association is odd: 'We think that independent retailers could be supported in a variety of ways without penalizing charity shops . . . and we would support
greater help for independent booksellers in the current economic climate.

 Really.  Then why not government help for every shop that is struggling? And
from whose purse does this financial help come?

Reports that the UK MPs are pushing the Government to have the cheque
guarantee card restored is good news - anything that makes it easier for
collectors to pay by cheque will help our trade.

UK: Library closures declared unlawful!

Many councils in the UK have elected to reduce or close library services to contribute to the
necessary reductions in spending. But a decision which could see 21 libraries close in
Somerset and Gloucestershire has now been been ruled "unlawful". Somerset County
Council wanted to withdraw funding for 11 libraries and Gloucestershire County Council
wanted to stop funding 10 libraries. At the High Court, Judge Martin McKenna said the
closures did not comply with "public sector equality duties" owed to vulnerable social

  Children's laureate Julia Donaldson welcomed yesterday's High Court as "the best news
I’ve had all year".

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Man Behind Dave Robicheaux James Lee Burke talks about violence, writing, littering, alcoholism, liberalism and bestsellers.

An awesome article/interview from 2002 my mother dug up, thanks Ma!


June 5, 2002

James Lee Burke has seen and heard enough to fill a book. Actually, make that 22 books.

Burke is best known for his novels featuring Dave Robicheaux, an Iberia Parish detective who sees the world in black and white, a man who is haunted at times by his own alcoholism and his desire to do right in a world ruled by insanity.

At 65 years old, Burke is a demure man with small, penetrating eyes and a disarming smile. His laughter sounds as if it’s rattling itself free from his bones. There are times he laughs so hard it ends in a coughing fit.

He writes about man’s depravity and his grace, his beauty and his vulgarity. His novels have engaged millions of readers all over the world, propelling him to the top of The New York Times’ bestseller list. But for the man who lives in New Iberia, with a second home in Missoula, Mont., life hasn’t always been a gravy train. The ride to the top has been riddled with detours and unexpected delays.

The Times recently sat down with Burke at his home along the banks of Bayou Teche. He was preparing for a national book tour in support of his latest Robicheaux novel, Jolie Blon’s Bounce. In his office, bathed in sunlight filtered through an oak tree outside of his bay window, he gave some insight into the man behind Dave Robicheaux.

Before drawing any comparisons between Robicheaux and himself, Burke points out the differences between the two men. He says of Robicheaux, “The character defects are mine, none of the qualities.”

He laughs so hard he’s headed for a coughing fit.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How to Create an Awesome Summer Reading List

Or any seasonal reading list for that matter. Thanks Lifehacker!

"How to Create an Awesome Summer Reading List

The days grow longer and the weekends more leisurely as summer approaches, making it a terrific time to catch up on reading. Whether your reading goal is to stimulate your mind, get lost in an adventure or romance, or learn something new, here are a few helpful tips for curating your perfect reading list this summer.

Before you jump straight into building your list, a few quick tips and considerations." Read More...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Come Visit Our Book Dome at the Okanogan/Tonasket Barter Faire

We'll be on the North end of one of the aisles, as usual. Look for the Pirate Flag!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


2011 National Book Award Finalists

Andrew Krivak, The Sojourn
Bellevue Literary Press

Téa Obreht, The Tiger's Wife
(Random House)

Julie Otsuka, The Buddha in the Attic
(Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House)

Edith Pearlman, Binocular Vision
(Lookout Books, an imprint of the Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington)

Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones
(Bloomsbury USA)


Deborah Baker, The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism
(Graywolf Press)

Mary Gabriel, Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution
(Little, Brown and Company)

Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
(W. W. Norton & Company)

Manning Marable, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention
(Viking Press, an imprint of Penguin Group USA)

Lauren Redniss, Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout
(It Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)


Nikky Finney, Head Off & Split
(TriQuarterly, an imprint of Northwestern University Press)

Yusef Komunyakaa, The Chameleon Couch
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Carl Phillips, Double Shadow
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Adrienne Rich, Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007-2010
(W.W. Norton & Company)

Bruce Smith, Devotions
(University of Chicago Press)

Young People's Literature

Franny Billingsley, Chime
(Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group USA, Inc.)

Debby Dahl Edwardson, My Name Is Not Easy
(Marshall Cavendish)

Thanhha Lai, Inside Out and Back Again
(Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)

Albert Marrin, Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy
(Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children's Books)

Lauren Myracle, Shine
(Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS)

Gary D. Schmidt, Okay for Now
(Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

The Judges for the 2011 National Book Awards (bios available here):


Deirdre McNamer (Panel Chair), Jerome Charyn, John Crowley, Victor LaValle, Yiyun Li


Alice Kaplan (Panel Chair), Yunte Huang, Jill Lepore, Barbara Savage


Elizabeth Alexander (Panel Chair), Thomas Sayers Ellis, Amy Gerstler, Kathleen Graber, Roberto Tejada

Young People's Literature

Marc Aronson (Panel Chair), Ann Brashares, Matt de la Peña, Nikki Grimes, Will Weaver

New York, NY (October 12, 2011) -The twenty Finalists for the 2011 National Book Awards were announced by past National Book Award Winners, Finalists, and Judges in front of a live audience at the new Literary Arts Center in Portland, Oregon as part of Oregon Public Broadcasting's morning radio program, Think Out Loud, and streamed live at

The Winners in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature will be announced at the 62nd National Book Awards Benefit Dinner and Ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on Wednesday, November 16. Actor, writer, and musician John Lithgow will host the event. Winners receive $10,000 and a bronze statue; Finalists receive a bronze medal and $1,000. Poet John Ashbery will receive the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, to be presented by poet Ann Lauterbach. Mitchell Kaplan, co-founder of the Miami Book Fair International, will receive the Foundation's Literarian Award for Outstanding Contribution to the American Literary Community, to be presented by writer Walter Mosley.

The invitation-only Awards Ceremony is the culminating event of National Book Awards Week. The celebration begins on November 14 with 5 Under 35, the Foundation's sixth annual invitation-only celebration of emerging fiction writers selected by National Book Award Winners and Finalists. On November 15, for the first time, the National Book Awards Teen Press Conference will be streamed live online, from Scholastic in Soho, hosted by acclaimed young adult author and Scholastic editor David Levithan. Streaming will allow students from across the country to play the role of reporters as they direct questions to the five Finalists for the National Book Award in Young People's Literature. That evening, all twenty Finalists will read from their nominated works at the National Book Award Finalists Reading at The New School. The Finalists Reading is open to the public; tickets are $10 and are available through The New School box office by calling 212-229-5488 or by emailing

For more information about the 2011 Finalists and upcoming National Book Awards Week events, visit

Sunday, October 2, 2011

How to Run a Bookstore: Neatness doesn’t count, customers prefer stacks on the floor to books on the shelf - by Larry McMurtry

The first essential is to have good stock. The better the books, the more people will come. We were fortunate that when we started this business in 1971, we came into the secondhand book trade just as a lot of ancient families were dying out and selling grandpa’s books, so we were able to get a respectable stock very cheaply.

For a large bookshop to survive today, you need cheap real estate, or you have to be an institution like Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore., or the Tattered Cover in Denver. They have everything from lunch counters to day care to get families to spend the day at the store. We are here in Archer City, Tex., where we can get buildings for $30,000 to $50,000. If we have two customers a day, it’s like a riot. We’ve had our first significant Chinese customer, and if we stay open another 10 or 15 years, a large part of our clientele will be from overseas.

There are different kinds of bookstores. For example, there’s the high-end store, like the Heritage in Los Angeles used to be. They had one whole room in which no books were admitted unless they were over $5,000. It was a jungle, but it was an expensive jungle. When Brad Pitt finishes a movie and wants to give a director a present, it has to cost $30,000 or $40,000. They’d go to the Heritage. But there are very few places where there’s that surface money, quick money, excess money.

Now, suppose you’re in Berkeley, down the street from one of the country’s great universities. You’re not going to sell the $40,000 Huck Finn. You’re going to provide a high level of general literature and scholarly books in many fields. You are selling $25 books instead of $5,000 books, and you have to sell a lot of them.

Some people don’t like too much order in bookshops and want to feel like they’re finding something. You can have 300,000 books perfectly arranged on the shelf, and every time, people will walk in and want to look at the books stacked up on the floor. So if you really want to sell something, jumble it up and pitch it on the floor.

McMurtry is the author of Lonesome Dove and owns the bookstore Booked Up.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 23,094 Hits and Counting! Thanks Everybody!

Monsanto Will Soon Be Allowed To Police Itself

Monsanto, enemy of organic farmers and anti-GMO advocates alike, will likely be allowed to conduct its own environmental studies as part of a two-year USDA experiment. But there is no good that can possibly come of an experiment where the company behind nearly every genetically modified crop in our daily diets is allowed to decide whether its products are causing any environmental harm. And Monsanto isn't the only biotech company that will be permitted to police itself.

As it stands, the USDA is responsible for assessing environmental impacts of new GMO crops. The agency has been lax about this, to say the least. In 2005, the USDA gave Monsanto the go-ahead to unleash its sugar beets before preparing an Environmental Impact Statement. This decision eventually triggered a judge to rule that Monsanto sugar beet seedlings should be ripped from the ground.

Because the USDA is so bad at doing its job on time, the agency decided to see if anyone else was prepared to do its safety testing work instead. And so it looks like the USDA will at least temporarily hand over environmental impact reporting responsibilities to the biotech companies behind GMO crops. The pilot program will allow these companies to conduct their own environmental assessments of crops or outsource the work to contractors. The USDA will still get the final say in determining the safety of crops.

Read More

Friday, September 9, 2011

Let's Remember ALL Victims of September 11th

Thanks Mom, for forwarding John Desmond's letter to the editor, from the Walla Walla Union Bulletin.

On Sept. 11 the nation will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States.
We will remember and honor the victims of those attacks on New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania,
and we will rightly honor all the heroes of that day, living and dead, and their surviving families and loved ones.

At the same time, we do well also to remember the other victims who have suffered, and continue to suffer, as a consequence of our response to the 9/11 attack. I refer specifically to the thousands of non-combatant Iraqi and Afghan citizens who have been killed or maimed as a result of our pre-emptive, illegal war and the thousands of Iraqi Christians who have been killed or driven from their homeland by our fundamentalist Sunni and Shiite "partners in democracy".

We do well also to remember the countless number of American and allied families whose lives have been forever shattered by the death or injury of our servicemen and women, and the alarming increase in suicides by our military personnel forced into repeated tours of duty in these wars.

All of these broader consequences are a result of actions done in our name, and for which we share responsibility.

The retaliatory actions were started and have been continued by two presidents (and Congress)--the current president who inherited the wars and seems unable to extricate us from them, and the former president, George W. Bush, who now enjoys a leisurely retirement and seems to sleep just as peacefully as he did when he was in the White House, starting wars.

John F. Desmond, Walla Walla, WA

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Shelf Help: The Best Guides to Book Collecting

Thanks ABE - As usual, we here at Earthlight Books would be more than happy to track down the most affordable, or the most pristine copy of any of these titles. Thanks for your continued readership and support!

by Scott Laming

ABC for Book Collectors
John Carter

At times, even the most knowledgeable collector must seek help in identifying a specific edition or completing their collection. And then there is the legion of people who love books but are baffled by the jargon of the rare book industry.

This selection of key reference books is designed to help beginners and perhaps some advanced collectors too. When it comes to learning about rare books, it is necessary to read more books. We have also included a couple of books that shed a little light on the rare book world itself and give some context to all the terminology.

The single indispensible book for the beginner collector would have to be ABC for Book Collectors by John Carter which contains over 450 terms listed alphabetically. Although ABC for Book Collectors is a reference book, Carter's personality comes through as he explains the terms and often their origins too. An old Etonian, Carter was a former managing director of Scribner's and also worked for Sotheby's. There is a well-thumbed copy of ABC in the AbeBooks' marketing department and it is our main reference tool, but we have heard of veteran booksellers who still refer to this timeless book.

The list includes contributions from rare booksellers David and Natalie Bauman and the late Matthew Bruccoli, a professor of English at the University of South Carolina and renowned F. Scott Fitzgerald expert. Although it is not a reference book, we urge everyone to read A Gentle Madness by Nicholas Basbanes – rarely has anyone described the passion for books in a more perceptive fashion.

Books About Book Collecting:

Collected Books: The Guide to Values 2011 edition
Collected Books: The Guide to Values 2011 edition

Explains how to identify first editions and also covers Americana, early printed books, literature, mysteries, sci-fi, children's books, natural history, photography, and travel.
Rare Finds: A Guide to Book Collecting by David and Natalie Bauman
Rare Finds: A Guide to Book Collecting
David and Natalie Bauman

A beginner's introduction to book collecting that includes numerous beautiful full color photos from the inventory found in the Baumans' rare bookshops.

Modern Book Collecting by Robert A. Wilson
Modern Book Collecting
Robert A. Wilson

A serviceable introduction to collecting modern editions – the focus is on 20th century authors.

At Home with Books: How Booklovers Live with and Care for Their Libraries by Estelle Ellis
At Home with Books: How Booklovers Live with and Care for Their Libraries
Estelle Ellis

Includes chapters on starting a collection, organizing the library, book care and other useful information on categorizing, editing, storage and space saving.

Living with Books by Alan Powers
Living with Books
Alan Powers

This book offers basic do-it-yourself designs for building your own shelves, and some book care tips. It could also be a beautiful coffee table book.

Among the Gently Mad: Strategies and Perspectives for the Book-Hunter in the 21st Century by Nicholas Basbanes
Among the Gently Mad: Strategies and Perspectives for the Book-Hunter in the 21st Century
Nicholas Basbanes

Renowned book collector and author Basbanes provides a compendium of information on collecting books in the Internet age. Lots of anecdotes too.

Book Finds by Ian C. Ellis
Book Finds
Ian C. Ellis

This book reveals the secrets of locating rare and valuable books including information on first editions, reading copies, auctions, catalogs, and the strategies of book scouts.

First Editions: A Guide to Identification by Edward N. Zempel
First Editions: A Guide to Identification
Edward N. Zempel

Many publishers do not readily display the edition and there are many different systems in use. This book explains the intricacies of spotting firsts from as far back as 1928.

Instant Expert: Collecting Books by Matthew Budman
Instant Expert: Collecting Books
Matthew Budman

A solid beginner's guide to buying and selling books, perhaps a bit general but a good place to start.
A Primer of book-collecting by John Tracy Winterich
A Primer of Book-collecting
John Tracy Winterich

Winterich covers books as an investment, the mechanics of collecting, and answers the age old question: what makes a book rare?

Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions by Bill McBride
Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions
Bill McBride

A quality guide with the added bonus of being highly portable, great for taking to book sales and book fairs.

The Care and Feeding of Books Old and New: A Simple Repair Manual for Book Lovers by Margot Rosenberg
The Care and Feeding of Books Old and New: A Simple Repair Manual for Book Lovers
Margot Rosenberg

Simple tips and tricks for caring for your books and basic repair techniques.

Miller's Collecting Modern Books by Catherine Porter
Miller's Collecting Modern Books
Catherine Porter

This guide to prices and quality focuses on basic categories such as English and American literature, children's books, illustrated books and more.

Out of Print & Into Profit by Giles Mandelbrote
Out of Print & Into Profit
Giles Mandelbrote

A history of the rare and secondhand book trade in Britain in the 20th century – offers much context on the industry itself.

The Care of Fine Books by Jane Greenfield
The Care of Fine Books
Jane Greenfield

Greenfield offers advice on storage, handling, cleaning, and repair, as well as how to handle books of value.

First Printings of American Authors: Contributions Towards Descriptive Checklists by Matthew J. Bruccoli
First Printings of American Authors: Contributions Towards Descriptive Checklists
Matthew J. Bruccoli

A five-volume set includes a compiled list of initial appearances of works by American authors in American and English editions.

How to Identify Prints: A Complete Guide to Manual and Mechanical Process from Woodcut to Ink-Jet by Bamber Gascoigne
How to Identify Prints: A Complete Guide to Manual and Mechanical Process from Woodcut to Ink-Jet
Bamber Gascoigne

This comprehensive reference work provides all the answers to the questions that constantly arise when trying to identify accurately any kind of print.

The Book Collector’s Fact Book by Margaret Haller
The Book Collector's Fact Book
Margaret Haller

A practical introduction to rare and valuable books, including the 'new antiques' - books on photography, the movies, comics - as well as modern first editions.

Bookmen’s Bedlam: An Olio of Literary Oddities by Walter Hart Blumenthal
Bookmen's Bedlam: An Olio of Literary Oddities
Walter Hart Blumenthal

Just as the subtitle proclaims, a book about books full of weird and wonderful bindings, strange tales, and books from miniature to elephant folios.
Fifty Years of Collecting Americana for the Library of the American Antiquarian Society (1908-1958) by Clarence S. Brigham
Fifty Years of Collecting Americana for the Library of the American Antiquarian Society (1908-1958)
Clarence S. Brigham

A memoir from this famous bookman – worth reading to gain a perspective on the rare book world during the wars.