The Old Bookshop

We’ve all been there. The sign says used books, or old books, or just books for sale, so we turn in the drive. Usually it is an old barn or a garage where the owner has stacks of used books on tables or tossed onto shelves — popular fiction from the last twenty years, at least one Arthur Hailey novel (for some reason it’s usually Airport), a stack of microwave…

Booksellers lead innovation

he Poets of Great Britain Complete from Chaucer to Churchill all fitting in a single book-shaped suitcase

It’s always nice to find historical evidence of the leading role the bookseller has taken in innovating the book industry. eReaders, which are frequently sold based on the portability they provide (the Kindle claims to holdĀ 1100 books, therefore Kobo claims 10,000 and so on), are typically dated back to the Rocket eBook or Softbook Reader, both of which were the result of technological innovations developed by engineers. Thanks to Mike…

A bookstore by its cover

Thumbnails of home pages

Although you can’t (shouldn’t?) judge a book by its title, we do. They are part of what Gerard Genette referred to as “paratext”, the “threshold … that offers the world at large the possibility of either stepping inside or turning back”; in effect, they are the front door. For e-commerce sites, the home page performs a similar function, inviting the site visitor to enter deeper into the site by clicking…

A Bookselling Timeline

The retail book business in the United States may have begun with John Dunton’s visit in 1685-86 where he is said to have sold a load of books to help cover some debts. He is said to have found the New England book buyers “‘smart’ customers and slow paymasters.”(Chambers 1832). This time line, however, concentrates on the 20th and 21st centuries for now. Chambers, R., 1832. The Book of Days:…