Harry Houdini (1874-1926), master magician and escape artist, wrote in A Magician Among the Sprits, (1924) that he had "accumulated one of the largest libraries in the world on psychic phenomena, Spiritualism, magic, witchcraft, demonology, evil spirits, etc., some of the material going back as far as 1489." In 1927, through Houdini's bequest, the Library received 3,988 volumes from his collection. While strongest in nineteenth and twentieth century publications on spiritualism- Houdini doubted "if any one in the world has so complete a library on modern Spiritualism: - the Houdini Collection contains a number of magic books inscribed or annotated by well-known magicians. Leonard N. Beck. discusses significant items in "Things Magical in the Collections of the Rare Book Division," QJLC, v. 31, October 1974, p. 208-234. Also in the collection are prints, playbills, printed ephemera, periodicals, and many volumes of pamphlets on such topics as card tricks, mediums, hypnotism, handcuff escape methods, and chalk-talking. Of special note are over one hundred unannotated scrapbooks containing theatre notices and news clippings on subjects of personal interest. Houdini's theatrical collection was sold after his death to Messmore Kendall and later donated to the University of Texas.
A world beyond Amazon
A nice overview of what’s happening in some of the online book space lately. Missing some of the most bleeding edge projects, but it catches most of the interesting released material in the past year.
Directed by D.W. Young. With Parker Posey, Fran Lebowitz, Gay Talese, Susan Benne. A behind-the-scenes look at the New York rare book world.
Independent booksellers are desperate for customers to return, and not just for an online reading.
Avid Bookshop in Athens, Ga., sends personalized URLs to customers with a list of handpicked recommendations. ❧
Perhaps if they went the step further to set up domains for their customers, they could ostensibly use them not only as book blogs, but also to replace their social media habits?
An IndieWeb friendly platform run by your local bookseller might be out of their wheelhouse, but it could potentially help solve their proximal problem while also solving one of society’s problems all while helping to build community.
Annotated on October 16, 2020 at 12:51PM
Take Vroman’s Bookstore, a 126-year-old institution in Pasadena, Calif. It has more than 200 employees, 20,000 square feet of space and the rent to go along with it. In a normal year, it hosts anywhere from 300 to 400 events, bringing in authors for readings and signings, along with customers who buy books and maybe a glass of wine from the bar. But none of that is happening this year. ❧
Coincidentally I bought two books at Vroman’s yesterday and it looked reasonably busy for mid-day. (Maybe because of this article?)
It’s a bit disingenuous to mention wine at their bar as their wine bar was only finally open for a minute before the pandemic shut everything down.
Annotated on October 16, 2020 at 12:54PM
Like many other stores, Vroman’s is hosting online events to promote new books, which can attract attendees from all over the country but generally bring in almost no money. ❧
Maybe they need a book paywall for admission into those events? Buy a book to get the zoom code to get into the event?
David Dylan Thomas essentially did this for his recent book launch.
Annotated on October 16, 2020 at 12:55PM
In the best of times, the margins at a bookstore are paper thin — traditionally, a successful shop hopes to make 2 percent in profits — but operating during a pandemic is even more expensive. ❧
Yes—they said paper thin…
Annotated on October 16, 2020 at 12:57PM
Helped a customer ship some books to a person in prison & I don’t know if folks who don’t work in bookstores/don’t have incarcerated friends/family are familiar with how difficult prisons make this process. So for Independent Bookstore Day, let’s walk through it.— liz (@eafreem) August 29, 2020
As readers, we love books. We also recognize that books are about more than the author’s name on the front cover. Books wouldn’t exist without authors, but so much goes into publishing your favorite titles. From publicity to copyediting and book design, the publishing world is vast and varied. Have you ever wondered how to find the editor of a book? It’s actually super easy most of the time.
In just a few minutes in a quick demo, I’ve been able to build a local website. This seems a bit easier than I had initially expected, but there’s still a way to go…
ISBNdb gathers data from hundreds of libraries, publishers, merchants and other sources around the globe to compile a vast collection of unique book data searchable by ISBN, title, author, or publisher. Get a FREE 7 day trial and get access to the full database of 24 + million books and all data points including title, author, publisher, publish date, binding, pages, list price, and more.
If you’ve ever talked to me about books and reading, then there’s chance that I’ve brought up GoodReads and how I’m pretty active there. I can’t claim so active that I’m updating daily. I do, however, make sure to keep my current book statuses accurate. On the flip-side, as highlighted b...
Andy Matuschak (@andy_matuschak), joins Erik on this episode. He is a technologist, designer and researcher. They discuss:
- The key thread throughout his work and what he’s trying to accomplish.
- Why people read books despite remembering little of what they read.
- What books should look like and the features they should have in the digital age.
- Why spaced repetition is so powerful.- His requests for startups in the space.
• Add books written by black, brown, and indigenous people. Try to add at least one book from an author of color for every book written by a White person that you buy this year.
• Purge books that are racist or written by problematic authors. The goal isn’t to run away from alternative viewpoints or ideas with which we disagree, but these should not be the dominant voices in your library. There are some beloved works that are racist trash and belong in university libraries (where they can be studied for the trash that they are) and not in our personal collections.
• Don’t pigeonhole authors of color. Black, brown, and indigenous people can do more than talk about race...pick books from your favorite genre written by authors of color.
• Don’t hold authors of color to a higher standard. Not every book written by a black, brown, or indigenous author will automatically be great and that’s 100% okay. If you have mediocre or crappy books written by white authors, you can also have some mediocre books from people of color on your shelves, too.
Helpdesk support back in the day of the middle age with English subtitles. Original taken from the show "Øystein og jeg" on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK)in 2001. With Øystein Backe (helper)and Rune Gokstad (desperate monk). Written by Knut Nærum.
Joel walks us through his 20+ year strong personal website, and digs into his frustrations with past versions, and how he's building the latest edition to generate both a website and a book.
Even for people who have lost jobs or income during the coronavirus epidemic, there are books and reading material available online for free.