Friday, May 28, 2010



One of the things I like best about some of the interesting books is doing the research on them.

But then -- if you have to spend HOURS doing it and still get nowhere.... well, that's slightly different.

Today was one of the latter days.

Here's the front cover of the book on which I spent my precious time :

Uncle Shelby's A Giraffe and a Half 
Shel Silverstein

Not really special to look at is it?

But ---  this could be a 1st edition.

Could being the operative word here.  My references list this book. However, the only way to truly identify a first edition according to these references, is by the price on the dust jacket. WHICH I DON'T HAVE (darn it, it would have quadrupled the price, you know).

At any rate, what the references left out is the binding style for the first edition.... 

So far, I've found several cover illustrations, at least two binding styles, and NO ONE who seems to actually OWN a copy of the first edition.

Small print run, I'm thinking.  Though not his first published book, this title is one of the early titles  - it's from 1964. 

And, as far as I can tell (and you certainly can email or comment if I'm wrong) there's NO bibliography of Shel Silverstein material.  WHY NOT, I ask?  He's a genius, he is. And beloved around the world by parents and children. So why no bibliography?

Maybe I'll have to put one together.  (Yeah.... along with the one on C. J. Cherryh that I started back in 1988).

Now, since I've seen other early titles by Silverstein, and because I emailed the Shel Silverstein website and asked the family ,who gave me a partial answer, (I'm waiting for a more comprehensive answer to come forthwith), I personally think that this is, indeed a First printing of the First edition. 

However, since I can't verify this yet, I'll have to hold off selling the book until I've done more RESEARCH.  


Oh, and so far, I haven't found any prices on this book yet.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

More about the Victoriana ...

OUR ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE AS SEEN WITH CAMERA AND PENCIL Embracing Perfect Photographic and Descriptive Representations of the People and the Islands lated Acquired from Spain, including Hawaii and the Philippines: also their material resources and productions...

 Here's the actual name of the set of books I mentioned in the previous post.

here's another look at my photo of it.

And since it's such an interesting piece of Americana  (at least to me)... here's the full description for you:

B&W Illustrations; "Published in twenty-four parts of thirty-two quarto pages each. Superbly Illustrated with more than twelve hundred special photographs, photogravures in colors, and new colored maps." The islands included in this volume (several of which were acquired at the conclusion of the Spanish-American War) are: the Hawaiian Islands, the Philippine Island groups, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Isle of Pines, and Samoa. This work is contained in two large folios which contain numerous black and white photographs, full color photogravure plates and several full color maps. The descriptions of the islands include historic events, topography, geography, agricultural, mineral and other resources, city and country life, and much more. Rust colored cloth covered boards have gilt lettering to the spine and gilt and black lettering and decorations to the front covers of the books. The gilding on the spines of both volumes and on the front cover of volume two has faded and dulled somewhat (it varies - with more dulling to the spines than the cover). There is some bumping to the spine ends, corners and edges of the book covers along with some edge tearing, light fraying and wear to the cloth at the corners and spine ends. The text blocks of both volumes are clean and bright. With the exception of two pages, the text blocks are clean, bright and fresh. There is one small tear to the bottom of one page in volume two, followed by two pages with spots of discoloration. Volume one has one page which has a long, tear - almost a full page tear - which has been repaired. All plates are present and in very nice clean, bright condition. Overall, a very good to near very good set of this heavy, profusely illustrated work. The photographs (black and white) were taken by Walter B. Townsend. Special descriptive matter and narratives were added by Jose De Olivas. The entire work was introduced by Major-General Joseph Wheeler of the United States Army.

Is it Really May?

First off  - WOW.... only eight posts in May so far.  Last month seemed far more full of events, but even so, I posted more than I have this month.

Second -- Anyone know where MAY went?  Not only is it already almost the end of school  (June 4th for Number One Son, and June 17th for Number Two Son), but the weather....

We had another baseball game in the mist last night. Yup. Usually this time of year, we're wilting in 100 degree (F) weather. This year, we've barely gotten any sun. I haven't even had to really slap sunscreen on my neck but once or twice this year.

We have less than a week to go in May and right now it's hazy and semi-wet.


I wish I could say I had something profoundly bookish to blog about today, but I don't.  I found one neat set of older (listed in the garage sale ads as VICTORIAN) books (2 volume set) about the Islands owned by the United States (1899, this was, so the Islands included Puerto Rico, Cuba, Hawaii, the Philippines, Samoa and the Isle of Pines (which is one of the large islands off the coast of Cuba: see here for more info).  Cool stuff. Wonderful black and white photos.  HUGE Books that must weight 15 pounds or so (together).

This is a view of volume two -- unfortunately, I had to do this strange jig and wiggle to get the picture I did get. It doesn't fit straight on my desk, so I had to lay it sideways, and it went downhill (photographically speaking) from there.

Other than this impressive set, not much really intriguing book material has passed my way this week. I've been adding data for much of the week, but it's stuff that's out of three year old boxes.  I'm buckling down and trying to pull out old stuff before I enter new stuff (we'll see how long this lasts).  

Other than that, it's been Baseball, quick trip down the valley to the desert to visit relatives, school work, regular work, and not much else.

Oh:  Gotta say, I really love the baseball stuff lately. I learn something new just about every day we're out on the field..... last night it was regarding runs in if the first baseman doesn't make it all the way to first base.  According to several in the know, if a runner comes in (home plate) after the ball has been hit, but the runner who hit the ball doesn't make it to first base (and this is all assuming it's the third out the runner at first makes (..keeping up so far?  this is arcane stuff here)... then the run doesn't count.  Get that?  Ok. I wish I could diagram it.  Batter hits the ball (with two outs already in the inning). He runs to first but is thrown out before he gets there. In the meanwhile, the runner on third is heading home.  He MAKES it home BEFORE the batter makes it to first base and before the ball is caught out at first base.... but... since the batter doesn't land on first base and stay, the run doesn't count.


Last night, Number One Son was up to bat three times -- hit and made it to  base two times, the third time made it as a walk.  Caught an infield fly (to make an out against the other team) as a second baseman (first time this year he's been infield in a REAL game...) and had a great time.

Son Number Two plays on Friday at the same field (one of the dustiest, windiest fields in town, I think -- we all have to dose up on pseudafed and nearly wear masks, the dust is so thick.  Hopefully it will be a good game as well.

I'm still thinking about the Gold Rush Book fair and trying to come up with a decent post about it.  Strange -- when you're in the thick of it, it's harder to find a way to describe it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar...

Last year I sent in my application for a scholarship to the above seminar -- which is specifically for book dealers / wanna be book dealers / collectors /  librarians / you name it.

Didn't make the cut last year (though was very nicely told that I was first runner up ... in case the winner couldn't make it, I should keep my high heels and crown at the ready).

This year, I decided to try again.


I got the scholarship!

Whooo hoo.....

I got the phone call from the scholarship committee chair as I was winding my way up Highway 49 on my way to The Gold Rush Book Fair.  Yes, I actually took the call while driving -  Yes, I KNOW I was being bad.  I tried to turn off and park, but there's really very little turn off space available on some of those roads up in the foothills.

I suppose I squealed.  I did remember to say thank you.

And I promptly told the first book dealer I saw at the fair.

Then I realized that the scholarship itself  (while a HUGE) piece of this puzzle, was only part of what I'd have to pay.

Today I filled out my application for the seminar and got my first glimpse of the other fees I'm going to have to cover.


However, I'll figure something out. Books WILL sell and give me some breathing room to pay for lodging, air fair (I'm NOT driving to Colorado....that's three extra days and I'm not a long distance driver by any means), food and incidentals -- which includes BOOKS that I might find at the bookstores we'll go visit.

I'm going to really enjoy this.

Now, as a disclaimer -- I've been to the seminar before.  WAY back in  1992 when I worked at the local used bookstore here in town, the owners felt that it would be a good thing for me to go to.  Back then I was .... an employee, I was young (ish), I wasn't a very good solo traveler, I was a scared rabbit of a person and had just enough knowledge to make me a danger to myself and others.

Now I'm older. I'm doing this for ME and MY business, I'm a much better traveler, I'm not as scared (having kids will drag you out of your shell whether you want to be dragged out or not) and I have more knowledge... which is still very much a danger to myself and others.

I'd love to take my husband and the boys along with me so they can visit a new place, but, turns out, school starts that week for at least two of them and no one wants to (or can afford to) miss school so I'll be on my own.

If anyone has gone recently to the seminar and has advice (good, bad or other), feel free to fill me in. If not, as soon as I get back (well, as soon as I get caught up after getting back), I'll do at least one blog post on it, if not several.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Getting Side-tracked...

I don't know how other people do it.  I have a regular schedule (well, it's a self-made, internalized schedule, so not FORMALIZED) and I try to keep to it each working day but... it's hard to stay motivated.

The thing is, sitting here, alone in front of my desk, it's SO easy to get side-tracked from what I am supposed to be doing....

Supposed to be doing consists of:

Answering emails
pulling ordered books off the shelf, invoicing and mailing
taking pictures of books
data entry
writing articles (which I SHOULD be doing much more often than I am)
writing reviews
data entry (did I say that twice...yeah, well I meant to. No data entry means NO sales, NO money, etc....)

Today, I:

took pictures of a stack of books
pulled books, invoiced and packed them for mailing
did some data entry
checked facebook about ten times
found a pile of very old National Geographic Magazines & started leafing through...
brushed the cat (she's a long hair and NEEDS brushing on an almost hourly basis -- I never wanted a long haired cat... I have allergies and long haired cats don't help, but you know how that goes)
put books in boxes to get them up off the floor
moved boxes of books around to make space
emptied three boxes of books which came back from the book fair (this is a good thing)
checked my emails about 50 times
read a couple of blog posts
sat and wondered what profound thing I could write about for my blog
stared at the wall for a while
wondered how the baseball game tonight is going to turn out
thought about getting the suitcases out of the closet for the boys for the trip this weekend

Oh, there's more.

Much more.

I seem to be very easily side-tracked this week from getting WORK done.

I can't complain because I actually DID get books listed on line, but when it comes to sitting still and just doing data entry for hours on end.... well, let's just say I don't have a real aptitude for sitting still long.

And with all the new techno gadgets out there, I can't imagine how other people can keep up with everything. I have a hard enough time coming up with something half-way interesting to put on my blog every day (almost). How in the world can  people find time (or inspiration) to add Facebook quips, twitter tweets, blog entries (more than one a day! yikes!), newsgroup posts,  and on and on and on.... every day!

It boggles the mind.

Which is, I guess, why I don't do those things.

I Can't keep up.

  I got side-tracked into reading the National Geographic Magazine article from 1919 on : The Progressive World Struggle of the Jews for Civil Equality.... (and that instead of the 550 page book that I HAVE to finish reading before Monday because my deadline approaches....and as I'm not too enamored of the book, I keep finding ways to NOT read it, which is BAD...)

So much for profound thoughts for today... sigh

Since I've got nothing important to say about what I did today, here are some pictures of books I added to the database instead:

Toby the Rock Hound by Jane Dwyer Walrath
Illustrated by the wonderful Jolly Roger Bradfield.
though it's from 1979, there are only two copies listed online currently.

The Story of a Little Mouse Trapped in a Book
Written and illustrated by Monique Felix -- again, not too many copies online
this a book without words... all pictures, no words. 

Trumpet Blues: The Life of Harry James
Signed by the author (Paul J. Levinson) who was a long time friend of Harry James...
(or so he says). This is one of the new class of non-fiction titles I'm adding to diversify more.

Heavy Weather
by P. G. Wodehouse
 I'm a P.G. Wodehouse fan -- 
I found this up in Grass Valley this weekend. It's a reprint edition, BUT...
turns out, that it was printed two months after the first US edition (By Little Brown & Co) and there are actually LESS copies of this edition available than the 1st US edition. Crazy, huh?
Oh, I do wish it had a dust jacket though.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Checking in....

Just a few quick notes (as it's already time to go pick up the rug rats again...)

The Gold Rush Book Fair was a MUCH better fair this year than last. I'll do a write up of it (hopefully this week) after I've had time to think it through.  I had a great time. The banquet was lovely as usual (and oh, the strawberry shortcake that I shouldn't have eaten, but did....and ate too much! yum!).

The fair itself was well attended and customers came with some intent to buy. Dealers had varying success, but I was most pleasantly surprised by my final tally of the day.

The big news was how the DEALERS were feeling - and coping - or not coping - with the changes in the economy.  I talked to other dealers who were in the exact same pickle I find myself in. And these are high end dealers.... makes me think about this business as a whole at the moment. (again, that should be a blog entry all on its own).

I forgot to take pictures of my booth, but I got a few shots of the banquet drinks time and of the fair itself.

Bill Ewald of Argus Books and Anne Hutchison of Bud Plant & Hutchison Books

A mixed group, including Ken Sanders

More dealers and my poor photography skills mixed again...

Bill Maxwell of Maxwell's Bookmark was the honored guest of the book fair. Here he is with his wonderful wife Wendy and Bud Plant of Bud Plant and Hutchison Books checking out a treasure.

I found a few books to add to  my stock over the weekend. Sold some stuff -- had a nice time and got a really good chance to TALK to other dealers who are feeling the pain the same way I am.

Oh, and I have to thank one of the regular readers on this blog for a couple of comments he added to my post about Ebaying books.  I went back and added a couple of photos to two listings so far. Now I have to go back, update the rest and continue to add more stock to the bay.  Will let  you know how it goes as it progresses.  So far, no sales there yet, but I've got my fingers crossed.  Thanks for the tips!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

And the NEW thing I'm trying out...

I've been badgered by several book dealers during the last year to try and sell stuff on Ebay. The reasoning goes like this. We have good books. We need to make money. Ebay has LOTS of customers. Therefore we sell on Ebay.

Now, I've done Ebay.  But that was YEARS ago (way back in 1996-97 when selling books was a GOOD prospect). Around about 1999 I pretty much stopped doing anything but occasionally buying on Ebay because the prices you could get dropped like a huge boulder.

The other thing about Ebay (at least for me) is that it is a cumbersome system upon which to list items. It takes WAY more time than it does for me to list 7 or 8 other places (via Booktrakker it's a breeze) and it's as screwy an entity as there ever was.

BUT -- these dealers seem to be making money. Some real money (which is something I could really use right about now).  SO as of three days ago, I started listing on the Bay again.

I think I have five books listed.  It took longer per book than I really wanted. I still have some kinks to work out, but they're up and available for purchase.  Now I hold my breath and wait.  (Oh, and one of the things these dealers included in their listing was the MAKE ME AN OFFER button... which they said can sometimes really work... though there were times when customers were completely unrealistic...)

So I added that button too.

We'll see.

Hopefully I'll remember to keep you updated as to how it goes.  Making some sales would be very nice 'cause they sure aren't happening much anywhere else (yes, we've hit the book selling slump that goes from April until mid October, but darn it, I still have bills to pay).

If I've got this right, I'll have a link to my page with books for sale on EBAY here:  Steph's EBAY Store

check it out for me and let me know if it needs something.

D-Day minus 1

Tomorrow is set-up day at the Gold Rush Book Fair. I'll be on the road first (it's two and a half hours away, so that's not too bad a drive). I'll also get in a wee bit of book scouting time as well (cross my fingers).  I'm glad the weather has finally improved. It's not the usual 90+ that we normally get at this time of the year, but 80's will be much better to drive and work in than the 60's with wildly gusting winds we've had until yesterday.

I took a couple of pictures of my packing / stacks / stuff ready to go... now I just have to get them into the computer.

For this fair I seem to be taking a very eclectic group of older books (well, for me, they really are older). I'm trying to pull together quaint / illustrated / fun covers - dust jacketed stuff from the 1960's and before ... with an emphasis on the 1930's or so.

We'll see how that works out.  For my SF, it's not so great as I just don't HAVE much from before 1960 (though I'm trying to add more). For Childrens books, I've got a good mix.   And then there's the wild (IE: strange) assortment of non-fiction items.

So ... whether or not I'm happy with the stuff I'm taking, well, it's just too darned bad. It's boxed. It's ready to go AND I'm almost feeling back to normal so I can move, lift, transport and talk to people without too much trouble -- a real boon for someone going to a book fair.

I'll try and update during the weekend, but that might not be possible... if not, I'll get something put up next week after its all done.  

Wish me luck!

See you at the fair.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Seven Days Already?

I finally got a chance to check my blog today to see when I posted last.... May 4th (ps: Happy May 4th Birthday to Carrol Sewell).


I was hoping to do better than that.

At any rate, it certainly doesn't feel like seven days have passed.  And... I keep having ideas about stuff to post, but don't seem to have access to the computer and time to do so when I remember what it is I want to post.

Today's Tuesday.... two and one half day's til I leave for Grass Valley and the Gold Rush Book Fair.  I've got most of the boxes packed. I still have a table full of books that are listed, but not covered with Demcos yet (if you're not familiar with them, they are covers for dust jackets). I'm still trying to decide if I take my own bookcases and fight with them, or borrow someone else's. Hopefully I'll decide before the time window closes. Today and Yesterday was clean up finishing of the books that I want to take but don't have serious time to finish... so add them (provisionally) to the database and later get the rest of the listing done for online.

STRANGE THINGS -- well, different than my usual things are going with me.  Fiction, non-fiction, old, older... odd sized, etc.

Right now, I'm trying to figure a way to make ALL the books face forward in my booth. Probably not do-able, but I'd really LIKE to have them that way.... I'll keep thinking on it and maybe something will come to me. (Or if not, if something pops into YOUR brain, send me an email).

And now I'm off to do errands before school is out and the baseball games start. At least its not raining today. I'm still waiting for HOT weather though.

Once this fair is over, I've got TONS of blog posts I want to do.

And .. if luck holds, I'll finally be able to GET to them.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

16 books added to the database... I think that's this year's record

Yeah -- BUT...

Of those 16 books, more than half of them were copies of books I've entered into the database at some point in the past.... so it's basically just duplicating and fixing edition / condition info.... which is not exactly like entering 16 brand new, never-before-listed books.

Either way, I'll take it!

Besides, about half an hour of that time was taken up with getting photos of the books.

Here are a few of them just in case you were wondering....

The majority of the books were Children's picture books.

This happens to be a first edition - with a dust jacket.

Another First Edition with a dust jacket... ps: ANY Palmer Brown books are difficult to find ... with dust jackets and in First Edition.... very difficult.

This month I've found a bunch of cat books.

And then there's this one.. the little girl finds a rabbit and starts to "PLAY" with it by forcing it to wear doll clothes... yup... Where was PETA in the 1960's, huh?
This book is a First Edition thus (with appropriate notations).. the thing is, most listings on line have got their copyright information all screwed around. 

And finally (well for the pictures in this blog), a First Edition thus... another Big Golden Book -- the listings on this one on line are messed up too. People don't know what they've got, nor do they seem to be able to do a cursory amount of research..

Here's hoping tomorrow will be a productive day as well.

Monday, May 3, 2010


So yesterday was one of those days....

Took Son Number Two back to Knight's Ferry to do more research for his fourth grade California project. He was in a stinky mood to begin with and he's feeling pressure about this report... the problem is, instead of ASKING for help, he has decided to yell at everyone about it instead. 

And yesterday was a WINDY day, which means everyone was all discombobulated from the beginning (you know that old bit about positive and negative ions ... and the wind messing with them?  well, IT DID yesterday).

Everyone in the house was out-of-sorts.

We got back from our field trip in a somewhat state of truce about the report to find that the microwave was not interested in working. It made an awful noise, started to smell of burning, and when you pulled whatever you tried to put in it out -- well, it was stone cold. That didn't help the mood around the house much.

Oh, and speaking of machines conking out.... last week I tried to make some rolls in my bread machine (wedding gift) and it started to growl strangely and make that rotten burning smell as well.

The tally so far in the last five months... Steph  a bit fat zero.... machines biting the dust.... three. The stand mixer in December, the bread machine, AND the microwave.   Sigh.

Today  was, once again, clean up from the weekend mess day.  So again I've got NO books entered into the database (yet.... I keep thinking I'll be able to do some after I pick the boys up from school, but so far...well, I have high hopes.)

I finally got seven boxes of books packed for the Book Fair next week. Things are finally starting to get done for that. I have lots more to get done, but I've finally made a better start than packing one lousy box.

Tomorrow Will be a better day.

And hopefully, tomorrow I'll be able to get to the blog with this answers to those burning questions about which books have which prices and why!