Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cat haters need not read this post.

Seriously. The weather outside is so GROSS that all I want to do is go home, get into bed with a cup of tea and a glass of whiskey, pile the cats around me and read. Above is the scene on my bed when I left the house yesterday. Very cozy and my inspiration for this non-book related post. My office has no windows, which on days like this spares me from looking too forlornly at the torrents of rain coming down. But when I head out onto the sales floor, I can see that while it may actually be two in the afternoon, outside it looks like it is seven in the evening. Sigh.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Just a few articles of interest.

I actually meant to post one of these links last week. Here, you can read an article from the Boston Review that talks about what happens when a commodity (like books) become available through only one source (like Amazon). It is a very long article, but thoughtfully written and contains many valid points. The comments are almost as interesting as the article!

And then here, is a piece from today's New York Times about Google entering the ebook market. This is actually a good thing. When we start selling ebooks online (look for a complete website overhaul in mid-2011), we will be partnering with Google to do so. We are excited about these possibilities and look forward to being able to provide you, our loyal customers, with an independent ebook purchasing option!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cool stuff!

Look at these cool new shirts we just got in! Beth is modeling The Catcher in the Rye for you. These tees have covers of great books printed on them. Out of Print Clothing makes these and we are proud to carry them in the store. Come down and see our selection!

Other neat gift items - small sachets and zipper pouches from Moontea Artwork. These lovelies are crafted in Grand Ronde, OR - so just down the road!

We also have some new votive holders. These tall mercury glass bottles from ROOST are not only beautiful, but functional as well since they double as a hanging candle holder. The shorter colored glass votive holders would look lovely on any holiday table!

Come down and see what else we have!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The holidays are here!

With my favorite holiday out of the way, (who doesn't like to cook and eat all day with family and friends!) I can now concentrate on important stuff like: do we have enough mustache mugs in the store? What is a mustache mug you ask? Why it is a mug that depicts the hirsute upper lip of famous people. It is actually cooler than it sounds, and if my camera were working I would share a photo of it!

Questions about facebook. We are always wondering how many people get their news about the store from facebook. We seem to have about 390 friends (we'd always like more, nudge, nudge, wink, wink). Sometimes, people in the store make comments to us about our facebook postings, so I know that someone is reading it! What are your thoughts?

I shall endeavor to post some photos later this week...


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Literary Tattoos

This is not a post about encouraging tattoos (although anyone who knows me knows that I have no problem with them). It is just a reminder that some body art can be beautiful, especially when it combines ink with passion. In this story here on the Huffington Post, there is a lovely display of these tattoos, and a telling comment. "There are many personal anecdotes shared in "The Word Made Flesh," but not a single tattoo's origin story mentions words first read on a Kindle, iPhone or Nook -- at least none we've seen yet." writes the authors. I think that these tattoos are another way to promote the written word.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Banned Books

Read a banned book this week! Seems strange to celebrate something like Banned Books Week (September 25th - October 2nd). I like to think of it more as a reminder that there are still places in America where books like Harry Potter and The Lorax are banned. At Third Street Books, as long as we can get the book, we will order it for you. No censorship here! If you are interested in more information about Banned Books Week, I recommend you visit this website here. It belongs to the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, a truly noble cause.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Question - will the value of collectible books increase with the advent of e-books?

Don't know. My husband and I were pondering this the other day. It seems possible. As fewer hardback books are being printed and sold, and their availability becomes less accessible to people, their value should increase. I am thinking about this from the perspective of a collector. There are some authors and titles that I like to own in hardcover. Partially because of a love that I have for the book, and partially because of the investment in a "first edition". It is true that not all first editions have or gain value over time, but that is part of the fun.

So back to my thoughts. Say Jonathan Franzen's next book isn't published for ten years. At that point, publishers only do an initial print run of say, 5000 hardcovers for the most popular authors. Do those 5000 automatically become collectible? Does the price of a new hardcover increase so much that the cost of a paper edition is so significantly higher than an electronic edition only hardcore fans can afford it?

People always ask me how the store is doing with e-books lapping up a bit more of our sales every year. The store is doing fine. We just expanded so that we can stock more sale books and gift items. We are always evolving to keep ahead of the curve (at least we try). It is not a business anyone gets into for the money. I believe that there will always be a place for brick and mortar stores, just as I believe there will always be a place for technological advancements. E-books are not going away. In some fields, (especially academia), I can appreciate how electronic books mobilize information in a way that increases its accessibility. However, for most casual readers, traditional books are sufficient. The browser's experience in a store influences their purchases, and our job is to make that experience positive and educational. Stores that are able to do this well will thrive. Especially smaller, independent stores that have staff who are experienced and life-long readers. Generally, the big box retailers are not hiring "booksellers", they are hiring bodies. If you can push some buttons on a keyboard and point to a sign in the store and tell the customer "Mysteries are over there", you are hired. Smaller stores often offer more training and almost always offer better customer service; their livelihood depends on it. But I digress.

Some books will never translate well to electronic media. Art monographs, children's picture books, some poetry (I wonder what an e.e.cummings poem looks like on an iPad?). I would be nervous cooking while using a Kindle (plus, you cannot notate the recipes!). So perhaps paper books, or at least hardcover books will become a more collectible item in the future. Maybe in ten years we will all wish we had held onto some "classics" in hardcover. Who knows.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Forgot this neat link...

In our e-newsletter the other day (what? you don't get our e-newsletter?) I listed a few links that I think are pretty neat. But I failed to include this one. If anyone out there should feel the sudden need to get me a gift, I am partial to these "bookshelves".

In case you didn't get the links to other neat book related sites, here they are. NorthWest Book Lovers is a site for, well, book lovers in the great Pacific Northwest! OK, if you live anywhere in the world, you too can enjoy this site, it just focuses on bookstores, authors and events in the Pacific Northwest.

This blog post is just a nice little grouping of photos that remind me how reading is something anyone can do anywhere!

Oh, and if you want to sign up to get out e-newsletter, just go to our website and send us your email address and we will add you to the list!



Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Nothing too exciting, but a nice essay.

The summer heat has us moving a bit slower. If we seem to have a vacant look in our eyes, it is likely that we are dreaming of sandy beaches with big umbrellas, drink in one hand a book in the other. There seems to be no shortage of activities in town during the summer. Turkeyrama, Starry Night, IPNC. Party over here, part over there. It is sort of nice.

I have two neat little essays to share with you. The first I read last night in the Book Review section of the New York Times. You can read it here. Gary Shteyngart's funny little love affair with his "iTelephone" and how it relates to actually conversing about books. The other article is from yesterday's Oregonian. Brian Doyle, essayist extraordinaire, has a lovely piece about the joys of reading in bed. Sadly, I am unable to find a link to it online, but go dig up the book section of the Oregonian from the recycling and give it a read. It is worth getting a little ink on the fingers. The timing was perfect. With the slightly cooler morning, I woke up to a snuggly cat (she really only likes my husband, not me) and a desire to read in bed a bit. Such a guilty pleasure, reading before the day starts, not at the end!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


No, we will not be blasting David Bowie in the store as a reminder to people that we moved things around a bit. I think that some of the changes we made will be obvious (big wall of sale books!) Others more subtle (I can't actually think of an example right now). We like to keep ourselves on our toes and shake it up a bit. We moved the cooking, gardening and crafts sections to some new bookcases along the front windows. We created the aforementioned wall of sale books, and we now have an entire bookcase at the beginning of lit dedicated to staff recommendations. So far, we like these changes. You?

Oh, New York and BEA was great. Met up with some old co-workers of mine, quite by accident! Attended a breakfast event that was moderated by Jon Stewart and hosted Condoleezza Rice, John Grisham and Mary Roach. It was a funny and irreverent way to start the day! Saw some great titles for this fall (I am reading a neat one about home canning at the moment) and walked, a lot! Will post more soon.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Buying for fall

I am in the process of ordering books for this fall. Usually it is especially hard to be thinking about Christmas in May because the weather is so gorgeous. This year, the stretch is not as hard to make. This chilly weather has been sending me to bed early, so I have been getting lots of reading done. Some of them are advanced copies of books that will be out this fall (look for Mr. Toppit!) others are just things that have been sitting in my pile for a long time. I am currently working my way through an advanced copy of the next Donna Leon, and Bill Bryson's new book. I recently read Chef - a thoughtful narrative about an chef who is an officer in the Indian army and the time he serves in Kashmir cooking for a general. I also finished the first two mysteries of a relatively new series A Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam and A Good Thief's Guide to Paris. Light, but not too fluffy books. I wish that they were a tad more atmospheric, but if that is as close to Amsterdam and Paris as I am going to get this year, I'll take it.

Next week I am off to New York City for Book Expo America. I will be wondering the long aisles of the Javits Convention Center in mid-town. My arms will be tired from lugging around galleys that publishers insist I must read. My feet will hurt because they just will. They hurt now just thinking about all the walking I will do. But I don't care because I will be in bookseller's lala-land, nirvana, heaven - surrounded by the written word, talking to passionate booksellers, publishers and authors. Can't wait!

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Passage, due out June 8th, is getting a lot of pre-publication buzz. I finished an advance copy yesterday and I have to say it was pretty good. I'm usually hesitant to read books that garner this much attention. Way back in 2007 the unfinished manuscript for this novel sold to a movie studio for a nice $1.75 million ( And there's lots of assumptions about how much Cronin sold The Passage and the two subsequent books in the series for. I have to admit though, in this case it may have been worth it.

It's almost impossible to distill this 750 page novel into a short review, but here is a bit of the story line. When a secret government experiment, titled Project NOAH, goes horribly wrong with the escape of twelve test subjects a horrific virus is set loose in the United States. The thirteenth test subject, a six-year-old girl named Amy, and the FBI agent who rescue her, flee to Oregon and take refuge in the mountains. The after effects of Project NOAH lead to a new United States which is ruled by fear and the need to survive.

The Passage was outside the range of what I normally read, but the writing is excellent and the characters and plot line so well developed I kept expecting to look up from my reading and see an entirely new world outside my living room window.

If you need a good, long summer read I highly recommend this book. Look for it June 8th!

- Angela

Monday, March 8, 2010


Lately we have been receiving a fair amount of very nice publicity. A few weeks ago we won the McMinnville Downtown Association's Outstanding Business of 2009 Award. The News-Register did a lovely piece about us and all the other winners at that awards ceremony. Then this past weekend, News-Register writer Karl Klooster wrote about the events that we host at the bookstore. Walking through town these last few weeks, going about my regular routine, I have had many compliments about the bookstore. How deserving we were of the award. How great our events are. I just wanted to take a moment and say a few words. One: none of this would have happened without the great people who work at Third Street Books. I am very lucky to have such wonderful people working with me. Everyone brings a unique personal experience to the store that I think helps us become better booksellers for you. Two: none of this would have happened without the continued support of this community! Seriously! If you all stopped shopping here, we wouldn't be able to survive - so THANK YOU! I share all this kudos with you!


Friday, March 5, 2010

Barry Hannah, RIP

"Who?" you ask. While perhaps not popularly know, writer Barry Hannah was one of the great southern writers of our times. His recent death at 67 is a loss to the literary world. I have not read a lot of Barry Hannah, but I was deeply touched by his style. Yonder Stands Your Orphan is part literary mystery, part investigation in evil. The swamps of Mississippi never looked so bleak. His books are not for everyone, but if you are a fan of great writing and a dark tale, you should pick some Hannah up. Sadly, I can't even order some through our distributor right now. I am hoping that is because his death has sparked a renewed interest in this great American writer.

"One of those young writers who is brilliantly drunk with words and could at gunpoint write the life story of a telephone pole."--Jim Harrison on the late Barry Hannah. (from Shelf Awareness, Thursday, March 4th, 2010)


Monday, February 1, 2010

We will never do this to you . . .

In the battle of the e-readers, publishers have fallen to Amazon's mighty sword more often then they would like. Amazon has determined the price of e-books, (generally around $9.99) and wants publishers to play the game and lower their prices too. At the moment, Amazon is not making any money by selling e-books at such a low price, but if they have anything to say about it, that will soon change.

This past weekend, I was reading about deals between Amazon and Macmillan, and wondered who would prevail. It seems as if Macmillan came out on top, of only for a little while. Read this article here in today's New York Times for a bit more background. Basically, Amazon told Macmillan that if they didn't meet Amazon's price demands, Amazon would cease to sell any of their books, electronic or print editions. Starting last Friday, you could not buy anything published by Macmillan (while not the largest publisher out there, they are definitely part of the Big Six). This includes the most recent Man Booker Prize winner, "Wolf Hall" but Hilary Mantel.

After the "1984" debacle last summer you would have thought that Amazon had learned that playing big brother is not ok. But I guess if you are one of the largest retailers in the world, you get to play the game by any rules you want. At Third Street Books, we will never censor what you buy, not allow you to purchase a title because we have decided not to carry anything by that author or publisher, nor will we come into your homes and take back the book that you have already paid for.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

iPad? Tablet? Old-fashioned book?

I am really trying not to obsess too much about e-readers. At the same time, I don't want to be hit when I am already down and not anticipate a decline in sales at least partially due to electronic media. I really want to be realistic about my little store, but sometimes that is hard too.

At meetings with other booksellers, in conversations over coffee or beer, we speak about the e-reader and the future of our stores. I am concerned about my store, but more than that, I am concerned about the future of reading. Americans (honestly, probably all nationalities) read less and less these days. Newspapers are folding, publishing houses are limiting their print runs, and bookstores are closing. Someone tried to argue with me recently saying that blogs were perhaps filling the hole where newspapers once lived. I disagree. Most blogs that I read are fun and entertaining, but the quality of writing is poor. Anyone can start a blog (pot, meet kettle). It is free, no one rewrites or vetoes your stories. You don't even have to be a very good fact checker to claim something is true, or was written by you when it was clearly cut and paste from another source.

Several months ago, I had a chance to hear Tim Egan, author of The Big Burn and opinion writer for the New York Times. He spoke passionately about his love of independent bookstores. He best quote, which I may have written about before, was "You [referencing a room of independent bookstore owners] are the flu shot to active ignorance". I liked the metaphor. Today, Mr. Egan writes an article about Apple's latest instrument of technological prowess, the iPad. You can read it here. He doesn't come out and repeat his quote, but he does posit some good questions: if a bookstore is often considered the "living room" or "third place" of a community, what happens to a community when there is no such space?

Back to technology. I am trying to not spend so much time thinking about something over which I have no control. The future holds some kind of e-reader. I don't know which one. It is likely that when all the guns are out of ammo, there will only be one (maybe two) such technologies standing. When that happens, I will get on the bandwagon and stock those alongside the technology that has lasted generations, needs no batteries, and doesn't self-destruct if you spill coffee on it.