The History of a Family Bookstore
The culture shifts that parallel our 90-year bookselling journey are quite dramatic. Founder Gustav Weller would hardly recognize the contemporary environment of our industry. His era of bookselling occurred after the industrial/capitalist revolution permitted the growth of an educated middle class, after we discovered how to make cheaper wood-pulp paper from trees with machines and long after we automated the printing press, but before television had mesmerized and dulled our senses. Despite these luxuries, Gustav’s term was burdened by the Great Depression. Sam and Lila Weller would have different experiences.
by Tony Weller
My father Sam Weller’s methods of teaching were momentary. He was a man of action and I took as much knowledge from him as he offered me. I had assisted him with house calls to buy book collections since childhood and one day in the late 1980s, without fanfare, he said, ‘I think you’re ready to make book deals without my help now.’ Wow, did persons who know so little really get to do this stuff?
by Tony Weller
Last month, Scott Renshaw invited me to share thoughts about New Year’s Resolutions with City Weekly readers. I’m not qualified to make resolutions for others but I can share some suggestions and thoughts about getting more from books and reading. Here are eight ways to improve one’s relationships with books.
America: The Farewell Tour Chris Hedges
Simon & Schuster
Reviewed by Tony Weller
Sam Weller started passing me used book buying advice when I was a working kid so I learned some before the slightly more deliberate, but more focused, tutorials that would begin in the 1980s. By the late 1980s, I was buying and pricing used and rare books for the bookstore.
Bookstores are hubs of culture. Humanity crosses chasms of time, geography and language with bridges made of books. Cities and towns used to be more thickly populated with independent bookstores. Stock-empowered corporations thinned our numbers in the Nineties but curious thinkers, intellectual explorers, community builders, revolutionists, dreamers and romantics cannot be fully oppressed.
Happy New Year everyone! I wish I could make it a magic spell. What will it take to achieve a Happy 2018? Booksellers are merchants of dreams and knowledge; and readers’ minds are made of what they choose. I have found durable wisdom in books of widely varied topics, and from every geographic region or era. No one person, or period or culture has all answers, and none has none.