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!

View this document on Scribd
View this document on Scribd


Jonathan Smalter, Bookseller, ABAA, ILAB, IOBA
Yesterday’s Muse Books
32 W Main St Ste 1
Webster, NY 14580


Yesterday’s Muse Books is beginning a new program designed with
our customers in mind.

Now along with our used book deals and
hand-made greeting cards from local artists we offer
new books 25% cheaper than you can get them at Barnes & Noble!

Order or pre-order that popular title through Yesterday’s Muse Books and save.

Popular Titles for Order Soon*

Big Books on Sale:

Resilience (9780767931366) by Elizabeth Edwards goes on sale today.
Wicked Prey (9780399155673) by John Sandford goes on sale on May 12th.
Cemetery Dance (9780446580298) by Douglas Preston goes on sale on the 12th.
Road Dogs (9780061733147) by Elmore Leonard goes on sale on the 12th.
Assegai (9780312567248) by Wilbur Smith goes on sale on the 12th.
Down Home with the Neelys (9780307269942) by Gina Neely goes on sale on the 12th.
Gone Tomorrow (9780385340571) by Lee Child goes on sale on May 19th.
The Sign (9780525950974) by Raymond Khoury goes on sale on the 19th.
Lost Boy (9780767931779) by Brent Jeffs goes on sale on the 19th.

As Seen On Television:

Monday’s Today Show was crammed full of authors.  Those making appearances included:
Michelle Callahan, author of Ms. Typed (9780307408006)
Robyn O’Brien, author of Unhealthy Truth (9780767930710).  O’Brien was on the View on the 8th.
Richard Haass, author of War of Necessity, War of Choice (9781416569893).  Haas was on Meet the Press on the 3rd.
Ricki Lake, author of Your Best Birth (9780446538138).
Elizabeth Hasselbeck, author of The G-Free Diet (9781599951881), and James Carville, author of 40 More Years (9781416569893), had separate segments on Monday’s GMA.  Carville was on Talk of the Nation on the 7th.
Monday’s Charlie Rose featured an interview with Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine (9780312427993).
Thomas Cahill, author of A Saint on Death Row (9780385520195), was on Monday’s Tavis Smiley Show.
Emeril Lagasse, author of Emeril at the Grill (9780061742743)
Kathy Freston, author of Quantum Wellness Cleanse (9781602860919)
Whoopi Goldberg, author of Sugar Plum Ballerinas (9780786852611)
The View hosted Donald Trump, author of Think Like a Champion (9781593155308), on Tuesday morning.
Bobby Flay created dishes from Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries, & Shakes (9780307460639) on The Early Show on the 5th.
Tuesday’s Tavis Smiley Show included an appearance by the author of Promises I Made My Mother (9780345506559), Sam Haskell.
Fareed Zakaria, author of The Post-American World (9780393334807), was on The Daily Show on the 5th.
The Colbert Report on the 5th included an interview with Cliff Sloan, co-author of The Great Decision (9781586484262).
Michael J. Fox, author of Always Looking Up (9781401303389), was on GMA on Wednesday and The View on Thursday.
The Early Show on Wednesday had a segment with Chris Cleave, author of Little Bee (9781416589631).
Laurie Garrett, author of The Coming Plague (9780140250916), was on The Colbert Report on Wednesday.
The Tavis Smiley Show on the 6th included an interview with Daryl Strawberry, author of Straw: Finding My Way (9780061704208).
Newt Gingrich, author of 5 Principles for a Successful Life (9780307462329), Nancy Snyderman, author of Diet Myths That Keep Us Fat (9780307406156)
Leeza Gibbons, author of Take Your Oxygen First (9781934184202), all had segments on Thursday’s Today Show.
GMA had a feature on the upcoming HBO project adapted from John Hoffman’s The Alzheimer’s Project (9781586487560) on Thursday.
Larry King hosted Marlee Matlin, author of I’ll Scream Later (9781439102855), on his talk show on Thursday.
ABC’s Primetime on Thursday did a feature on Michael Gill’s How Starbucks Saved My Life (9781592404049).
Thursday’s Tavis Smiley Show had a segment with Patti Davis, author of The Lives Our Mothers Leave Us (9781401921620)
Walter Earl Fluker, author of Ethical Leadership (9780800663490).
Ayelet Waldman, author of Bad Mother (9780385527934), was on The Today Show this morning.  Waldman was on Talk of the Nation on the 4th and Fresh Air on the 5th.
Maria Helm Sinskey, author of The Williams-Sonoma Family Meals (9780848732639)
Michio Kaku, author of Physics of the Impossible (9780307278821), is to be on the same show.
The View hosts Alyse Myers, author of Who Do You Think You Are? (9781416543060), on this morning’s show.
Adam Perry Lang, author of Serious Barbecue (9781401323066), is booked on Oprah for today.  Lang was on The Today Show on Thursday.
Cheryl Saban, author of What Is Your Self-Worth? (97814019239521), is booked on Charlie Rose for this evening.

As Heard On NPR:

Doug Rothbart, author of Requiem for a Paper Bag (9781416560548), was on last Saturday’s Weekend Edition.
Saturday’s All Things Considered aired an interview with John Harley Warner, author of Dissection (9780922233342).
Sunday’s Weekend Edition examined the new book, Who Is Mark Twain? (9780061735004).
Colm Toibin, author of Brooklyn (9781439138311), was interviewed on Sunday’s All Things Considered and had his book reviewed on Thursday’s Fresh Air.
Monday’s Morning Edition included an interview with Neil MacFarquhar, author of The Media Relations Department of Hezbollah…(9781586486358).
Monday’s Diane Rehm Show hosted Frank Portnoy, author of The Match King (9781586487430).
Malina Saval, author of The Secret Lives of Boys (9780465002542), was on Monday’s Fresh Air and Talk of the Nation.
All Things Considered’s “You Must Read This” segment on Monday featured Halldor Laxness’ Independent People (9780679767923).
John Barry, author of The Great Influenza (9780143036494), was on Morning Edition on Tuesday.
Tuesday’s Diane Rehm Show hosted Rita Dove, author of Sonata Mulattica (9780393070088).
Leonore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids (9780470471944), had a segment on Talk of the Nation on the 5th.
All Things Considered on Tuesday aired an interview with the author of Annie’s Ghost (9781401322472), Steve Luxenberg.
Steve Miller, author of The Turnaround Kid (9780061251276)
Daniyal Muennuddin, author of In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (9780393068009)
Ali Sethi, author of The Wish Maker (9781594488757).  Please note the this title goes on sale on June 11th.
Joshua Cooper Ramo, author of The Age of the Unthinkable (9780316118088), was on Wednesday’s Diane Rehm Show.
On Point on the 6th welcomed Ruth Reichl, author of Not Becoming My Mother (9781594202162).
Jack Murningham, author of the forthcoming Beowulf on the Beach (9780307409577), selected the following for his “3 Books” segment on Wednesday’s All Things Considered:
Moby Dick (9780142000083) by Herman Melville
Ulysses (9780679722762) by James Joyce
The Sound and the Fury (9780679732242) by William Faulkner
Thursday’s Morning Edition included interviews with Huston Smith, author of Tales of Wonder (9780061154263), and with Larry Tye, author of Rising from the Rails (9780805078503).
Elizabeth Strout, author of Olive Kitteridge (9780812971835), was interviewed on Thursday’s On Point.
Talk of the Nation had a segment with Amy Dickinson, author of The Mighty Queens of Freeville (9781401322854), on the 7th.
Mark Reiter & Richard Sandomir, authors of The Final Four of Everything (9781439126080), were on All Things Considered on Thursday.

Visit Our Website, Call or Email with questions, orders, and comments.

And remember, Feed Your Need to Read with Yesterday’s Muse Books.

* Pending availability from our supplier

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, 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.”

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

Our Next Event


My name is Kristine, although I don’t think I’ve been properly introduced yet. I’m Jonathan’s girlfriend and I’ll be writing on occasion to let people know what has been going on with us and what events the store has planned. I am 19 and also have a love of the written word (hence my current profession.) I was attending Nazareth College for English education and now work full time in the bookstore.

I’ve been with Jonathan going on 2 years in August and working with him for about 5 years. How time flies when you’re having fun! And by ‘fun’ I mean working all the time. 😉

When we opened the store in December we were lucky to be able to have the children’s librarian from Webster Public Library available for storytelling.  It went very well — about 15 kids showed up.

GropinThis event coming up on April 18th is also a storytelling with Gardner J. Ryan — a local author & illustrator.  He involves the children with items that have been taken right out of the pages of his stories for them to hold. For his first visit to the store he will be reading ‘Gropin and the Magic Canes’ which is an adventure story full of thrills and adventure that takes place at Mendon Ponds Park.

It would be appropriate for ages 6-10 and Gardner will be returning monthly for a series of original tales featuring all of his hand-crafted characters. Children can feel free to bring pillows for the floor. Our storyteller will be here once a month on a designated Saturday afternoon so drop on in!

Anyway, I should probably actually start doing work.. although blogging makes me feel at least partially productive.

Have a wonderful rest of your week.

My first blog

This is my first foray into the world of blogging. I decided to start this blog as a way to organize my thoughts, share who I am and what I do, and provide myself with something to do when I need a quick break from work or life in general.

Before I dive into all that, though, I suppose it would be helpful if I introduced myself. My name is Jonathan Smalter. I’m 27, and I live and work in Webster, New York, which is just outside of Rochester on Lake Ontario (about midway between Buffalo and the Thousand Islands). I grew up here, went to college here (Nazareth College of Rochester, majored in philosophy), and I currently run my own business here. It’s called Yesterday’s Muse Books. We sell used and new books, both online and in a new storefront that just opened up in December of last year. I know what you’re thinking — how is he making that work, given the current economy? Well, that will probably be a blog entry unto itself. For now, I will just give a rough outline of what led up to it.

Way back when I was 17 (I can’t believe how long ago that was now…), I got a job at a local bookstore. I had been working at the Chinese food department of our local grocery store, washing dishes. A step up, I would say — books don’t leave one smelling like grease and soy sauce. Well, I ended up loving it. Seeing all the interesting titles come in, seeing people excited to buy them, learning what sold and what didn’t, and why… it was all fascinating to me. I had always loved books, something for which I owe my grandmother great thanks. Stay tuned for a separate blog tribute to her, as well — she was an amazing woman, and unfortunately passed away in 2007.

Fast forward a few years — I’m attending college at Nazareth. Originally I studied communications, with an intent to pursue a career as an editor, or perhaps a journalist. The draw of the complex ideas of philosophy, though, pulled me in, largely due to the efforts of a particularly skilled professor. Again, a blog for another time. In any event, the more I studied philosophy, the more I discovered about myself, and the more I realized that occupying a rung on someone else’s ladder wasn’t for me. I needed to build one of my own. Luckily, my years at the bookstore had already prepared me to do what I believe I was made to do. What was better, my degree in philosophy shaped my view of life in such a way that I knew exactly how I wanted to do it — I didn’t want to just sell books, I wanted to share ideas, and inspire new ones. At the risk of sounding repetitive… a blog for another time.

So, I started selling books online, literally out of my closet. I bought books at garage sales, estate sales, ongoing library sales… anywhere I could find them cheap. I bought a few supplies. I kept everything in the closet of my apartment, a pretty crummy one that I shared with three friends who also attended Nazareth. I was so wrapped up with the work, though, that I barely noticed. Since then, I have slowly grown my inventory, slowly improved the quality of books I sell, and slowly honed the way I sold them. In December of 2008, after almost 7 years of selling online, I opened a store in my hometown, right on Main Street in the heart of the village.

The front entrance of our store, decorated for Christmas.

The front entrance of our store, decorated for Christmas.

It’s been a crazy ride so far, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Along the way there have been ups and downs to say the least, and you’ll likely be able to read about most of them. I can’t find the quotation at the moment, but I vaguely remember reading somewhere that a man can’t truly write his autobiography until he is dead… probably Mark Twain or someone with a similar flair for the absurdity of life. Writing this, though, I have to say that while there is truth to that, I have also realized that writing about one’s life can play a great role in how it is lived, and how much it is appreciated.

I hope this hasn’t been too long-winded for the blog format. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, I would have written a shorter letter, but I didn’t have the time. All the best until next time.

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