This blog, published free of charge since September 2007, is a way for me to stay in touch with seasonal bookstore visitors from afar and with all customers and friends when I am closed during the winter. My annual seasonal retirement will begin this year on November 1, and I expect to be back and open again by June 2021. Meanwhile, thank you so much for following Books in Northport and for supporting Dog Ears Books.
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Thursday, October 30, 2014
Stuff on Paper and Stuff in the Air
Can a smoker smell books? Paul's humor at work.
Ah, yes, the smell of books! Real books! How many times have I heard people exclaim
over it as they walk through my bookshop door? So isn’t my friend and fellow
bookseller Paul Stebleton of Landmark Books in Traverse City clever for having
bottled the scent? And that isn’t all he’s done: the labels and seals on the
bottles feature more of Paul’s genius, as does the display in which the
attractive bottles sit. Paul has generously given me an opportunity to sell
“Scent of Book” at Dog Ears Books in Northport. It’s yet another demonstration
of how booksellers with open shops generally treat each other as colleagues
rather than competitors.
One book recently added to my
“Books Read 2014” list came as a gift from my son’s wife. The Tyranny of
E-Mail was published back in 2005, so
it isn’t up-to-the-minute in terms of communication technology, but it was
interesting, and I’m thinking it wouldn’t take a lot of editing to update the
book, changing the title, of course, to The Tyranny of Texting. Freeman’s concerns about the number of hours modern
Western humans spend checking-e-mail pale in the light of today’s “smart” phones
and mobile “apps,” which not only have the ability to “tyrannize” users (who
seldom consider themselves as victims in this arena) 24 hours a day but to
track user movement in physical space, too, around the clock.
About eight years ago I
decided to quit searching for a perfect printer and to do without one
altogether. It was an unexpectedly liberating move. Anyone who wants me to post
a flier can put it in the mail or drop it by the bookshop, but I don’t print
out anything sent to me by e-mail. I’ll look at it, I’ll read it, but I
don’t print out anything. When I want fliers of my own, I go to another business and pay for
the printing. Same with photographic prints, and the quality is better than
anything I ever achieved trying to do it myself, however highly the photographic quality of a printer was touted, and despite those
expensive ink cartridges.
More recently I stopped going
online at all from home. Further liberation! Mornings and evenings are now free
of Internet, Facebook, and e-mail. Sundays I don’t check into the virtual world
at all, and when I have a weekday off, one morning coffeehouse session is
sufficient to keep me feeling “connected.”
The pleasure of a peaceful,
uninterrupted home life is its own reward. My father used to say, when I was a
kid and the phone would ring during dinner, “If it’s important, they’ll call
back.” In my adult household, we are artist and bookseller, not surgeon and
veterinarian, so any emergency that requires our attention can be easily
Leave a message. We’ll get
back to you. Or write me a letter. That works, too.