Yesterday’s Muse Books Best of 2013 Catalog

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Published in: on December 9, 2013 at 11:35 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Holiday Book Drive and Christmas 2013 Catalog

We have been hard at work putting together what we think will be a great program for this holiday season. Partnering with several local charitable organizations, we will be hosting a holiday book drive to collect books for donation to those less fortunate. Interested in participating? It’s simple. If you have new or gently used books you would like to donate, please contact us or drop by our store with them. If you would like to buy books for the purpose of donating them, you can purchase from us and receive a gift certificate towards your next visit, or you can purchase elsewhere and drop them off to us.

We want to make this easy – the idea is to make books available to those who might not otherwise have access to them. We want to promote literacy, and spread a little holiday cheer at the same time. We understand not everyone has the financial ability to offer donations. If you cannot personally contribute, please consider sharing the information about our book drive program with friends and family. The more people who know about it, the more successful it will be.

Interested in contributing, but not sure what to donate? We’ve put together a catalog of holiday titles that will be sure to put smiles on the faces of those who receive them as gifts. Make sure to check out the book drive flyer and catalog below! Please feel free to contact us with any questions about the book drive program. Happy holidays!

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Jonathan Smalter, Bookseller, ABAA, ILAB, IOBA
Yesterday’s Muse Books
32 W Main St Ste 1
Webster, NY 14580
585-265-9295
www.websterbookstore.com
musebooks.wordpress.com
www.facebook.com/yesterdaysmuse
www.twitter.com/ymbookseller
http://pinterest.com/yesterdaysmuse/
www.linkedin.com/in/yesterdaysmuse/

September 2013 Newsletter

For those not on our mailing list, here is a look at our latest newsletter. We’ve also embedded our latest new acquisitions list at the end of the post:

 

Another month has come and gone, and as always we have been busy booksellers. This past weekend we exhibited at the 41st Annual Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair. We had more dealers than usual this year, and enjoyed a record turnout of browsers and bibliophiles. Everyone seemed very pleased with the Main Street Armory, the new venue for this year’s event. Here is a photo taken by one of our colleagues of myself and my fiancee Kristine:

Booths were bustling with activity throughout the day as customers inquired about books on display, or asked questions about their own collections. We purchased a number of items ourselves, including a first American edition of George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, a set of Shakespeare’s works in an attractive silk-lined publisher’s case, and a small collection of travel literature featuring decorative cover designs by A. & C. Black publishers.

Watch for these, and a number of interesting and scarce items acquired at the end of August, in next month’s newsletter. But first, have a look at what we have been working on for the last month:

New Acquisitions – Highlights

New Acquisitions – Complete

See a few things you like? Enter coupon code S10TWO013 during checkout, and when you buy three books you get another FREE! (Please make sure you have at least four books in your shopping cart, or the discount won’t work.)

Below is one of our favorites from this month’s acquisitions, a limited edition of Shakespeare’s complete works inspired by the famous Shakespeare Head Press edition printed in his hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon (commonly known as the Stratford Town Shakespeare).

The Works of William Shakespeare, in Ten Volumes – Shakespeare Head Press Limited Edition, #585 of 1000

 

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August Newsletter

I thought followers of this blog might enjoy seeing our monthly newsletter, so I have copied our August issue below in its entirety, and embedded a PDF of our most recent highlights catalog. Those interested in receiving our newsletter monthly, please visit our website at www.websterbookstore.com and complete the web form on the homepage.

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Before I get to the usual fix for our loyal bibliophiles, I have some news to announce:

I have officially been accepted as one of the newest members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA). This is a respected trade organization which promotes professional and ethical bookselling, and sponsors several of the largest, most respected book fairs in the world. This is a big step in my career, and a bright spot in the history of Yesterday’s Muse Books. Big thanks go out to those who encouraged me to pursue membership, and to the other booksellers who were kind enough to give their time to be my sponsors during the application process.
And now to the rest of this month’s news:

The sidewalk sale we launched last month is going strong – thank you to everyone who has stopped out for great deals. For those who have not heard about the sidewalk sale – every Friday and Saturday through the middle of August, we will be offering bargain books outside our shop. All books are $1 each, or you can fill one of our bags for $8.

A big project we just began work on last month is the Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair, which I am co-organizing this year along with Franlee Frank from Greenwood Books. This year it will be held on Saturday, September 7th at the Main Street Armory. Check out the fair’s Facebook page for more details:

Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair

While you’re at it, drop by the store’s Facebook page to view our This Just In album – check it out regularly to find the latest deals.

Speaking of deals, in addition to the usual in-store coupon we include with our newsletters, here is a coupon for use this month on our website:

Enter coupon code A8TWO013 during checkout, and when you buy three books you get another FREE! (Please make sure you have at least four books in your shopping cart, or the discount won’t work.)

Here are links to our usual new acquisitions lists:

New Acquisitions – Highlights

New Acquisitions – Complete

This month we were lucky enough to acquire a signed first edition of Ayn Rand’s masterpiece Atlas Shrugged, as well as a sumptuously bound copy of Thomas A Kempis’s Of the Imitation of Christ. We also cataloged a few examples of early stock market material, a set of Theodore Roosevelt’s works, numerous books dealing with book arts and decorative arts, and a science fiction serial featuring the first appearance of Orson Scott Card’s Hugo Award winning Ender’s Game.

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Below is the full highlights list:

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This Just In – Hand-Painted Chinese Portraits; Marie Bonaparte’s Five Copy Books; Etc.

Here is today’s crop of new books, which includes two very interesting items – if you’d like any of these, comment to claim them! Prices and other details are listed in the captions – click the image to zoom.

The first image shows some of our usual bargain fare. The sets of pictures following it are of two particularly interesting items, just acquired today.

The first is a set of Marie Bonaparte’s Five Copy Books, a scarce collection of facsimiles of the notebooks of a ten-year-old girl, originally discovered in her father’s files. She was a contemporary of Freud, and these formed the basis of some of her psychoanalytical studies of girlhood. Our price is $325.

The second is a collection of hand-painted portraits of Chinese women, some notable historical figures, others noted for their beauty. They are excellent examples of Chinese art, all done on fine silk mounted on sturdier backings and bound in the accordion style popular for collections of eastern art. The covers are wood, with a carved emblem on the front board. Our price is $300.

 

Jonathan Smalter, Bookseller
President, Yesterday’s Muse Books
Vice President, IOBA
Sellers of fine books in all categories, with specialties in:
Castles & Military Fortifications; Dystopian Literature
32 W Main St Ste 1
Webster, NY 14580
Phone: (585) 265-9295
www.websterbookstore.com
https://musebooks.wordpress.com
www.facebook.com/yesterdaysmuse
www.twitter.com/ymbookseller
http://pinterest.com/yesterdaysmuse/
www.linkedin.com/in/yesterdaysmuse/

 

$5 each (buy 2 get 1 free)

$5 each (buy 2 get 1 free)

Photo Jul 12, 3 42 41 PM

Page from Marie Bonaparte’s Five Copy Books

 

Page from Marie Bonaparte's Five Copy Books

Page from Marie Bonaparte’s Five Copy Books

Photo Jul 12, 3 41 33 PM

Marie Bonaparte’s Five Copy Books, shown with publisher’s slipcase

Photo Jul 12, 3 41 45 PM

Page from Marie Bonaparte’s Five Copy Books

 

Page from Famous & Beautiful Chinese Ladies

Page from Famous & Beautiful Chinese Ladies

Page from Famous & Beautiful Chinese Ladies

Page from Famous & Beautiful Chinese Ladies

Page from Famous & Beautiful Chinese Ladies

Page from Famous & Beautiful Chinese Ladies

Cover of Famous & Beautiful Chinese Ladies

Cover of Famous & Beautiful Chinese Ladies

This Just In

Here is today’s crop of new books (lots today!) – if you’d like any of these, comment to claim them! Prices and other details are listed in the captions – click the image to zoom.

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

$5 each

$5 each

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

$3 each (front cover of Dubus volume creased)

$3 each (front cover of Dubus volume creased)

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

$5 each, or $50 for the stack

$5 each, or $50 for the stack

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

$30

$30 (signed)

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

Top two $3, others $5 each.

Top two $3, others $5 each.

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

Individually priced - please inquire for details.

Individually priced – please inquire for details.

July 2013 Newsletter

At Yesterday’s Muse Books, we are in the habit of releasing a monthly newsletter detailing goings-on at the shop, and highlighting our most recent acquisitions. Below is our most recent newsletter:

 

This month’s newsletter comes a bit later – we wanted to make sure everyone had the time to relax and enjoy the July 4th holiday weekend.

This has been a great month for us. We revived our Musings blog, acquired some exceptional and important first editions, and launched our local weekend sidewalk sale.

For those who have not heard about the sidewalk sale – every Friday and Saturday through the middle of August, we will be offering bargain books outside our shop. All books are $1 each, or you can fill one of our bags for $8.

Our commitment to better book images has paid off by allowing us to better promote our stock on social media, our blog, and through catalogs. If you have yet to see our This Just In album on Facebook, check it out to find the latest deals.

For those interested in collecting, and purchasing books online in general, we have posted a number of helpful resources on our blog:

Condition Definitions

Identification of First Editions

 

Here are our usual new acquisitions lists, followed by a few samples to whet your whistles:

New Acquisitions – Highlights

New Acquisitions – Complete

This month we were lucky enough to acquire first editions of the two books shown below – the first the very first book published by the inimitable Dr. Seuss; the second is is a Pulitzer Prize winning play that inspired an award winning Broadway production. We also cataloged a nice collection of Rockwell Kent titles, and close to a dozen Philo Vance mysteries by S.S. Van Dine (mostly first editions). Have a closer look at the lists, as there is far too much to enumerate here…

And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street First Edition

Death of a Salesman First Edition

 

Why Bookselling?

I opened my bookstore two and a half years ago (December 2008), right smack in the middle of the ‘economic downturn’. Since then, I have had a number of customers ask me how I’m doing, some with concern, others as an accusation that I had made a huge mistake (some seem almost angry, which I have yet to understand). The concern is well-placed, as there are far fewer shops peppering the American landscape than in previous decades, and more close each month. I generally explain my reasoning behind opening the shop, and stress the fact that I sell online as well, and these business models support one another, each serves different clientele, etc., etc…

The recurrence of the question, though, has led me to some reflection on the topic, and it turns out that having a shop has very little to do with a desire to be successful, but a lot to do with the desire to be happy and fulfilled. I enjoy interacting with customers, determining their needs, and finding the right books to fill them. Sometimes I am unable to help, but I always stand a better chance of being useful if I am able to have a conversation face to face. And as it turns out, I have made some friends here. I have also learned what it means to be considered part of the community. I believe this is something young people often struggle with (I’m 29), and eventually figure out once they have started families.

Could I make more money traveling from estate sale to estate sale, auction to private collection, and doing away with the shop? Maybe. In fact, probably. Do I want to give up my shop because of that? Definitely not. Let me give an example of why:

Last week, a woman came in, in response to a call I made informing her we had an 1831 Bible. She is an American Civil War re-enactor, and is always looking for items to use in her reenactments (i.e., things that would have existed back then). The shop wasn’t busy, so I took the time to compile a list of what he had available in terms of pre-Civil War material — turns out we had quite a lot. I printed the list, and highlighted what I thought would be the most useful selections. I mentioned one in particular, a biography of a gentleman born into slavery in Virginia, who escaped, lived in a Quaker community in Canada for 40 years. The biography was printed in Rochester — my store is in Webster, a suburb of Rochester. Of course she decided she absolutely had to have this. In the end, she walked out with that, the Bible, and 7 Louisa May Alcott hardcovers — she plans to begin a personal collection of these. She was delighted, we had a great conversation about the 150th anniversary activities, and, quite frankly, the whole experience made my week.

Forgive a bit of a ramble there, but it goes to the point of this story, which is that this sort of interaction cannot be replicated digitally. Moreover, it is the sort of commerce I believe we have lost sight of in recent times, one which involved interpersonal relationships, trading and bartering, and a true sense that both parties were better off after the transaction. Sure, I am a merchant, and my customers are consumers, but what is more important than that to me is that we are all people. We are a community, and each of us have different skills, and the primary use of those skills, in my opinion, should be to better that community. This is not to say I don’t want to make money (Ayn Rand would get on my case!) — I also believe those who display the greatest ability in providing services to their community deserve the greatest rewards. But it is not all about how much money I make, or I might do it differently (see above).

This blog is my way of reaching out, in an attempt to develop the same sense of community with some of my fellow book-minded folks who may not live close enough that I can regularly enjoy their company. With luck, I will live a life surrounded by good friends who share my love of books, and happy customers to whom my reasons for opening a shop finally make sense.

Published in: on June 24, 2013 at 11:21 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Our Store in the Democrat and Chronicle

Our first major article has been printed and, lucky for us, it’s in the Democrat and Chronicle, which is widely read in the Rochester area. It’s going to be in the ‘Our Town’ insert which is found primarily in the Webster/Penfield copies. We’ve used the handy copy-and-paste feature so that everyone can read the article on here. If you’d like to share the article go to this link and click ‘share’ at the top to email it to your friends and family or put it on your facebook page! Here is the article:

Rare and used bookstore opens in Webster

“WEBSTER — Ask 27-year-old Jonathan Smalter what he’s most proud of in his bookstore, and he’ll probably lead you to the rare book room and point to a first-edition copy of The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

The book, priced at $3,500, is by far the most expensive item in Yesterday’s Muse.

Smalter’s used bookstore opened in December on West Main Street in the village of Webster. The store has several rare books and thousands of regular used books, from genre fiction to literary fiction to books on local history.

The store has the crisp feel of a new bookstore. Every book has a price tag. Tables of books are scattered throughout, and Smalter changes the theme of each table every couple of months.

In honor of spring, he now has tables for sports books, cookbooks, gardening books and Christian books (a nod to Easter).

Smalter’s girlfriend, Kristine Rinebold, handles data entry, promotions, customer inquiries and aspects of the store’s Web site. She also contributes to the bookstore’s blog.

“We’ll call her the Jill of all trades,” Smalter said. “She’s kind of amazing.”

The bookstore even has a resident tabby cat, Ophelia Paige, who recently wandered in as a stray.

While the physical incarnation of Yesterday’s Muse was born during a recession, Smalter has been building his bookselling career online for years. The Webster native started buying used books at garage sales and library sales when he was a philosophy major at Nazareth College. He began to learn what sorts of books would sell well on the Internet.

“I sold books out of my closet,” Smalter said. “I bought a ton of stuff and I was wrong about a lot of it.”

Some books sell quickly online for a decent profit; other titles have too many copies available on the Internet and are harder to sell, he says.

With time, Smalter has developed an eye for which titles are worth his while.

Smalter got into the book business as a teenager. The first job he ever held was unrelated: He worked as a dishwasher in the Chinese food department at Wegmans

ut Smalter’s mother encouraged him to find a job that wouldn’t send him home smelling like soy sauce and grease, and since he knew someone working at Webster Village Used Book Store, he applied for a data-entry position.

Store owner Tim Ryan hired Smalter, who was 17 at the time. He worked there for three years.

Then he sold books out of his closet for a time. And after graduating from Nazareth in 2003, he moved home and sold books out of his parents’ attic.

He had accounts with Amazon Marketplace and abebooks.com, among others. Eventually, he started Yesterday’s Muse as an online-only store.

Now he has a 15,000-book collection. About half of the books are displayed in his store; the rest are in storage. They’re almost all for sale online.

The trick to Smalter’s business, he says, is maximizing the different strengths of online and in-store sales. Books that don’t sell well on the Internet, such as popular fiction titles, fly out of his store.

Obscure titles might fetch a profit online, but could sit on a store shelf for months.

Gardner J. Ryan of Irondequoit was driving down Main Street a couple of months ago when he noticed the sign for Yesterday’s Muse.

“I thought, my goodness, there’s a bookstore I haven’t been in,” Ryan said.

Ryan says he’s impressed with the store’s clean layout. He’s also sold 12 boxes of books to Smalter. Ryan’s personal book collection once included about 3,000 titles, he said, though he has cut it by a third.

He’s told all his book friends about the store and has brought people in to see it, he said.

Trish Corcoran and her 4-year-old daughter, Eva Nielson, are two regular customers of Smalter’s store. Although they live in Ontario, Wayne County, they do a lot of shopping in Webster.

Corcoran was excited to discover Yesterday’s Muse.

“I was brokenhearted when Brown Bag (Book Shop) closed in the city,” she said, referring to the Monroe Avenue store that shut down last year.

Corcoran, who is in a book club, enjoys used bookstores because she can buy book club books that she may not normally have bought on her own, and she doesn’t have to spend a fortune.

She says she can afford to buy her children books more often at Yesterday’s Muse.

Her 12-year-old son, Bjarne Nielson, is also an avid reader.

And Corcoran enjoys getting store credit when she sells Smalter some of her own books.

“It’s nice to recycle your books,” she said.

“Books that I’ve enjoyed are going to another home rather than collecting dust on my shelves.”

STVEALE@DemocratandChronicle.com

Hope you enjoyed the article and to see you at the store sometime soon! Visit our website at www.yesterdaysmuse.com for information on how to contact us or to browse for a book or two.

Ophelia Paige’s Meet and Greet!

This is Ophelia Paige, our bookstore cat. Ophelia

A few weeks ago, probably 3 at this point, this sweet little cat wandered to our door. Jonathan was at the store alone for once and I was over at the apartment getting ready to have dinner with a friend. He calls me and says: ‘Kristine! There is a cat meowing at our door… what should I do?’ And of course I respond ‘Let it in! It’s freezing out!’ I brought food over for her but apparently by the time we had gotten off of the phone she was already gone, wandering off in search of other adventures.

Being the bleeding heart that I am I call my friend, Sam, and tell him that I needed to rescue a cat and was going to be late. He grudgingly understood  and Jonathan and I bundled up for the winter night and headed out in search of the elusive feline. Behind our bookstore is a construction site where they are building a new firehouse (yay!) and rolling around in the dirt is a shadowy figure who looks suspiciously like an adorable kitty.

We talk to her from where we stand and she meows back, almost as if to say ‘Hey, I was wondering when you’d get here. Can we go inside now?’
She allows Jon to pick her up and take her in where she explores the store fearlessly — eating her delicious canned food and indulging in some fresh water, content to finally be in a warm, safe place.

We took her to the vet in the following weeks after no one called us to claim her from the ads we posted.
She was not microchipped and was indeed a feral cat who had chosen the perfect home.

Ophelia Paige now enjoys the same creature comforts as every bookstore cat, such as never-ending attention, a soft cat bed, many mice toys, a gigantic cardboard box fort, and a boundless amount of love from all who meet her. Anyone interested in coming to meet her is welcome, though we can’t promise she won’t be sleeping in her favorite spot — a J. Jill paper shopping bag under the checkout counter.

Published in: on April 11, 2009 at 4:02 PM  Leave a Comment  
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