Thanks for visiting I hope you bookmark and come back often, or else I'm just typing to myself!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holiday Greetings!

Here is our Christmas card this year! I hope the holidays find you well and happy and which ever holiday you celebrate, be sure to celebrate with those you love....

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holiday Sales

Well, it's been a surprisingly busy holiday, with the largest number of orders coming in on Thanksgiving day. It makes a nice ending to the slower than usual sales rate for November. Here's hoping that the orders continue to be strong for Cyber Monday.

Friday, November 28, 2008

condition report

Weather conditions: 39 degrees and dark way too early

Bookseller condition: sulking

(PBA auction house in San Francisco is having an auction of children's book on Dec 11 and I'm stuck on the wrong blasted coast)

Friday, November 21, 2008

2008 National Book Award - Young Adult

The ABA awards were announced on November 20th and the juvenile award went to What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell.

Taylor's Antique Mall Update

I thought I'd post an updated picture of my little book corner in the basement of Taylor's Antique Mall in Ellicott City.

I wanted a small space, where the books could be browsed, so the shelves are not arranged in any particular order and the books are a mixture of children's and adult titles, with some ephemera and childrens' magazines (Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill etc) tucked in the bin in the corner.

To keep the space easy to browse, I'm going to fill the remaining shelf space, but I probably will not add any more shelving. I may add a bit more lighting though and some more holiday decorations!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Helen Dore Boylston-Biblio Checklist

  • Sister: The War Diary of a Nurse. NY: Washburn, 1927 . 202pgs, 20cm.
  • Sue Barton, Student Nurse. Boston: Little, Brown, 1936. Illustrated by Forrest W. Orr. 244pgs, frontis, plates. 22cm.
  • Sue Barton, Senior Nurse. Boston: Little, Brown, 1937. Illustrated by Major Felten. xi, 220pgs, frontis, plates, 22cm.
  • Sue Barton, Visiting Nurse. Boston: Little, Brown, 1938. Illustrated by Major Felten. frontis, plates, 22cm.
  • Sue Barton, Rural Nurse. Boston: Little, Brown, 1939. Illustrated by Forrest W. Orr. 254pgs, 22cm.
  • Sue Barton, Superintendent of Nurses. Boston: Little, Brown, 1940. Illustrated by Forrest W. Orr. 239pgs, frontis, plates, 21 cm.
and then in a break from Sue there was:
  • Carol Goes Backstage. Boston: Little, Brown, 1941. Illustrated by Frederick E. Wallace. frontis, plates, 21 cm.
  • Carol Plays Summer Stock. Boston: Little, Brown, 1942. Illustrated by Major Felten. frontis, plates, 20 cm.
  • Carol on Broadway. Boston: Little, Brown, 1944. Illustrated by Major Felten. frontis, plates, 20cm.
  • Carol on Tour. Boston: Little, Brown, 1946. Illustrated by Major Felten. frontis, plates, 20cm.
  • Carol Goes On the Stage. London: John Lane, 1947. Illustrated by Frederick E. Wallace. 190pgs, frontis, plates, 19cm. This is the English edition of Carol Goes Backstage.
then back to Sue Barton with:
  • Sue Barton, Neighborhood Nurse. Boston: Little, Brown, 1949. Frontis by Major Felton. 236pgs, col frontis, 20cm.
and the final Sue Barton book:
  • Sue Barton, Staff Nurse. Boston: Little, Brown, 1952. Illustrated by Major Felten. 204pgs, 20cm.
  • Clara Barton: Founder of American Red Cross. NY: Random House, 1955. Illustrated by Paula Hutchison. 182pgs, 22cm.
author's final title:
  • Travels With Zenobia: Paris to Albania by Model T Ford (with Rose Wilder Lane). William Holtz (editor). Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1983. 117pgs, 22cm. ISBN: 0826203906.
I would include Boylston's Sue Barton and Carol books on my even as x-libris book list. (With my usual dust jacket caveat.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

oh bleh....

Well, I'm still working on the 2009 catalog, the first snail mail catalog in over a decade and I'm remembering very quickly the reasons why I was so very glad to give up issuing catalogs in the first place.

Picking a theme and the books to go into the catalog is not a problem. The problems are with the actual formatting of the catalog. Decisions like whether the catalog will be full page or booklet size, items separated into sections and what those sections should be, what items are to be illustrated and whether the illustrations will be with the listing or in an insert. These are the decisions that just drive me crazy (crazier anyway).

I also think that when you make a living selling the bound and printed word, there is an extra pressure to not produce a crappy looking catalog. So it is always a balancing act between time and cost involved in producing and proofing a catalog and the need to get the blasted thing finished and mailed so it can pay for itself and move QUICKLY from an expense and into profit.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Catalog 2009 Childrens Illustrated and Award Winners

Well it's official; there is a blue moon coming, hell has frozen over and I've started compiling my first snail mail catalog in over 10 years.

I'm working on having the catalog ready January 2009 and if you would like to be put on the mailing list please send me an e-mail at:

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Full Circle

I started selling books by catalog in 1993 and joyfully migrated to Internet sales in 1996. In the early days of bookselling on the internet, I sold books through Interloc, Abebooks and Bibliofind. I even sold books to Amazon when their out of print department consisted of someone calling on the phone and asking if a book was available and then sending you the payment, PRIOR to shipping the book.

Flash forward to present: Interloc is now Alibris, Bibliofind was bought by Amazon, neglected to death and then shut down, and in this year alone, Abebooks bought Chrislands (which hosts my bookstore site) and less than 2 months later, ABE itself was bought by Amazon.

And me? I will be publishing my first print catalog since 1995, which will hopefully be mailed out in January 2009.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

2008 Edgar Award Winners- Juvenile and Young Adult

In the category of better late than never, (the awards were announced on May 1st) these are the books which won the Edgar Allen Poe Award for best Juvenile and Young Adult Mystery Novel for 2008.

The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh published by Hyperion.

Ratt Life by Tedd Arnold, published by Dial Books.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Market Research and Buying New Stock

The in-print portion of an out of print and collectible book business is the speculative portion. If you can discover the new Harry Potter before everyone else, guess correctly on the next Caledecott or Newbery winner, or develop a mad passion for a new author well before the public discovers them-there is the potential to realize a large profit. Even though you are making a guess, the trick is to make it an educated guess, or you will be paying at or near full retail for stock which may never sell for retail again.

Routinely peruse Publisher's Weekly magazine and see what books are going to be published, (or as is the case with many children's titles, re-published). You can get a good feeling not only for trends but also how much marketing money/buzz a publisher is putting into a title or an author.

Also, for children's books, The Horn Book Review is a great way to identify interesting titles or upcoming authors and illustrators. A dealer specializing in in-print titles, no matter what the genre, should be studying both these publications as well as individual publisher's catalogs. Even for an out of print dealer, these magazines can help you determine which titles are generating buzz, and also ones are going to have a large initial print run and therefore would be wiser, to wait a bit and not pay full retail price.

Catalogs are great, but display is better, so I try to get to the in-print bookstores, chain and independent, at least 2 to 3 times a month. I'm also lucky enough to live close to a remainder warehouse, which I try to visit at least once a month, so I can also see which titles are on the way out of print. In some cases I'm able to purchase books I'm interested in, at a decent price, BEFORE they are attacked by the dreaded black marker.

To be totally honest, some of these recommendations are things that I SHOULD routinely be doing and don't; in part because I don't have the manpower, time, organization, or discipline.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Series Books

Collectors of series books, bless their hearts, are a passionate and dedicated group. Anytime that I get a good series title in and list it in my inventory I can count on calls from collectors not just for the title listed, but for other titles in the series that I might have stashed away or may find in the future.

The problem is that I have over 13,000 children's books online, at any given time maybe 10 of them are series titles. I've found that serious collectors of series books are not usually interested in collecting other genres, and to specialize in series books as a dealer takes a major commitment in time, reference material, and most importantly space.

I never mind getting a call from collectors wanting to talk books, I always come away learning something, like the last book of most series is the most valuable etc. Kind of like the market research coming to me. But it does get frustrated at times to get calls that can't turn into sales.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Little Mental Health Break

Well I just got back from a 3 day mini-break, I did not go far but spent the 3 days reading, sleeping and NOT WATCHING THE NEWS!

Now rested and ready for (hopefully) the start of the holiday season.

Which brings me to my point; it is very easy with a home based business to always be at work and working, that way can lead to burnout ...however you choose to do it you need to find a way to take some time off.

Auction Price Realized- A WRINKLE IN TIME

A bit of old news now, but the following very hard to find Newbery was auctioned by PBA galleries in San Francisco in Aug and fetched a most respectable $10,800.

"First Edition of of the 1963 Newberry Medal winner, the 1965 Sequoyah Book Award, and the 1965 Lewis Carroll Shelf Award. The first in the author's series of novels for children of the Murry and O'Keefe families. Extremely rare in the first edition, According to ABPC no copies have appeared at auction in more than 15 years.
Very minor wear to jacket, primarily at spine ends, light browning to jacket edges and folds, small stain at foot of rear jacket panel; light wear to cloth at spine ends, faint stain on rear board corresponding with stain on jacket; small spot of foxing on front free endpaper; overall near fine in a like jacket."

Unconfirmed rumor sez that an bookseller had the winning bid....all I know is that it was not me :-(

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Auction Watch

The PBA galleries auction on Aug 21st is auctioning some very interesting children's books, the highlight being a first edition in dust jacket of Madeleine L'Engle's A WRINKLE IN TIME.

Their auction estimate is $5,000-8,000 but I would not be surprised if it sold for quite a bit more. This is a very, very scarce title that (so far) I've only had once. About 8 years ago I handled a consigned copy in the second state dust jacket which I sold overnight to another dealer for $3,000.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ooohh Lookit!

As an out of print bookseller you spend a lot of time handling and processing general stock books, nice solid inventory that you describe accurately and hopefully sell quickly. But every once in a blue moon you get a bragging book in, one that by rarity/condition/edition you just want to do a happy dance, blow a figurative raspberry at other dealers and say LOOKIT WHAT I'VE GOT!

Like this one :-)

MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN by Jean George. Published NY: Dutton, 1959. First edition, Fine in a Near Fine dust jacket. 1960 Newbery Honor book and in 15 years the FIRST time I've ever even had this book in first edition.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Booksellers Night Out

Tom and I went to a regional book auction last night, some interesting books, both children's titles and otherwise. Fun to see what sold and for what price, also who showed up and what they seemed to be buying.

Tom surprised me; even with all the years he has had to put up with stacks upon stacks of books and my total inability to organize my way out of a paper bag, I think that if he had had been holding the bid card we would have come home with a couple boxes of mixed lots. (Maybe I would have bid too if it weren't for the 6 boxes of books due to be delivered here tomorrow. Hopefully I will have all day to attempt to organize them before he gets home and sees that chaos has struck again. There can be distinct disadvantages to being a home based bookseller.)

A lot of absentee bids on items so there was more being sold than to the dealers and collectors in the room, but it struck me looking around that at 51 years old we had to be at least a decade younger than most everyone else there. I certainly hope that the absentee bidders were the younger collectors and dealers that just could not get away on a week day, cause we sure were a geriatric lot in the auction room.

Friday, April 4, 2008

A little ramble on writing...

One of my oldest friends is a natural born storyteller, she is funny, sometimes biting but always entertaining. It seems to me that for her writing is as effortless as breathing, and as someone who has to write 3 drafts to get one coherent, semi-grammatical paragraph, I admit to being pea green with envy.

I think that good writing is a lot like good singing; with some training and and a lot of practice you can learn to carry a tune, but very few people are born with a tuned ear and a true voice. So I practice, practice, practice....

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A little bit of perspective

It's more than a little humbling to google your own name and not come up until the 11th page. Especially since I've been online since 1996...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Another Image of Childhood- 1960's

A Happy Nursery Book PLAY, story and pictures by Virginia Parsons. NY: Doubleday and Co. 1963.

I dare you to look at this cover and not smile!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Auction Price Realized- Harold's Trip to the Sky Crockett Johnson

I usually don't report on Ebay auctions but the auction of a possible first of one of the Purple Crayon books by Crockett Johnson fetched a most reportable $565.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Dust jacket Art- Images from Childhood 1960's

Some examples of 3 color illustrated dj art from the 1960's taken from books in my inventory.

THE GALLOPING GOAT AND OTHER STORIES by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Illustrated by Robert L. Jefferson. NY: Abingdon, 1965.

MYSTERY ON A MINUS TIDE by Marg Nelson. Jacket design by Catherine Smolich. NY: Farrar, Straus & Co, 1964.

A PLACE BY THE FIRE by William MacKellar. Illustrated by Ursula Koering. NY: David McKay, 1966.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Dust jacket Art 1960's Juvenile Sports Books

Well, one of the advantages of spending most of your time uploading pictures of inventory is you get to see some neat books. Here are a few images of some juvenile sports books from the sixties that we currently have in stock.

Stepladder Steve Plays Basketball by C. Paul Jackson. Illustrated by Frank Kramer. NY Hastings House 1969.

Last Summer To Ride by Patricia Leitch. NY: Funk & Wagnalls, 1965. (First published in the U.K. in 1963 as: Janet, Young Rider.)

The Comeback Guy by C.H. Frick. NY: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1961.

Friday, February 8, 2008

I'd really rather be reading....

We've finally started the slow and tedious process of uploading images of our online listings. The process is slow because it is hard even with help to find the time take the blasted pictures and tedious because we are not only uploading them to our own store at windyhillbooks but are also sending them to a couple of the large book database sites.

I know we are late to the game getting pictures of our books online, but with over 12,000 books it was daunting even thinking about getting started. We finally started uploading on Feb 1st and have approximately 250 images to date, it will be interesting to see how long it is going to take to get this finished.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Pardon Me Have You Seen My Childhood?

A compendium:

"I remember a book I had when I was 4 or 5 or maybe 6

It was blue or green or maybe yellow

And had a picture of a duck or frog or puppy dog

The duck was lost but found his way home

The frog was bad but her family loved her anyway

And the puppy was hardly ever afraid of the dark or being alone.

It’s gone now, lost when we moved

or in the basement flood of '78

or the garage sale the year I left for college...

That’s the book I want to buy, do you have it?"

More Images of Childhood- Juvenile Dustjacket Art 1940's - 1950's

After a few years dealing with children's books a dealer can usually date a book (at least by decade) by illustrator art alone. Here are a few examples of 1940's and 50's dj cover art from books in my inventory.

Trudy Terrill Eighth Grader by Bernice Bryant. Dj by Alice Carsey. Published by Bobbs-Merrill, 1946.

Old Charlie by Clyde Robert Bulla. Illustrated by Paul Galdone. Published by Crowell, 1957.

That Jud! by Elspeth Bragdon, illustrated by Georges Schrieber. Published by Viking, 1957.

Monday, January 21, 2008

2008 Coretta Scott King Award

Again from the ALA website:

The 2008 Coretta Scott King Award for juvenile title went to Christopher Paul Curtis's Elijah of Buxton which also was a Newbery Honor book.
And the award for picture book went to Ashley Bryan's Let it Shine.

I'm going to upload better images for these titles shortly....

Monday, January 14, 2008

2008 Printz Award for Young Adult

also from the ALA site:

2008 Award Winner

The White Darkness

The White Darkness, by Geraldine McCaughrean, published by HarperTempest, an imprint of HarperCollins has won the 2008 Michael L. Printz Award. The award announcement was made during the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, January 11-16.

2008 Newbery and Caldecott Awards

From the ALA website:

2008 ALSC Literary and Related Award Winners

In order to post the winning information as expeditiously as possible, we are providing a straight list of 2008 ALSC award winners, including book title, author, and publisher. Additional information, including annotations and book cover images for each award-winning title, will be posted to the individual award pages as soon as possible.

John Newbery Medal

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz (Candlewick)

Newbery Honor Books

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis (Scholastic/Scholastic Press)
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt (Clarion)
Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson (Putnam/GP Putnam's Sons)

Randolph Caldecott Medal

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (Scholastic)

Caldecott Honor Books

Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, written by Ellen Levine (Scholastic/Scholastic Press)
First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Roaring Brook/Neal Porter)
The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtin by Peter Sís (Farrar/Frances Foster)
Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity by Mo Willems (Hyperion)

Phooey, with the exception of Hugo Cabret and Knuffle Bunny Too, I was not aware of any of these titles, ususally my award radar is better than that!