EUREKA BOOKS (est. 1987)

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Eureka Books December Arts Alive Celebration

December 4th, 2013  |  by  |  published in Arts Alive, Feature, Local Authors, New Arrivals

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Eureka Books’ Annual Celebration of Local Writers! Humboldt County is in for a treat on December 7 during Arts Alive. Eight local authors will be at Eureka Books.

December Arts Alive Schedule
6-7 p.m.: Alex Service and Susan O’Hara, Northwestern Pacific Railroad Eureka to Willits, and Wendy Lestina, Our Story: The Ferndale Museum Collected Issues Vol XXXII to XXXIV May 2010 – December 2012.
7-8 p.m.: Michael Kauffmann, Conifer Country and Conifers of the Pacific Slope, and Peter Hannaford, Presidential Retreats:  Where the Presidents Went and Why They Went There and Reagan’s Roots.
8-9 p.m.: Joan Dunning, Secrets of the Nest and Seabird in the Forest, Scott H. Brown, Eureka (Then and Now), and Michael Kauffmann.

Two new local history books, Northwestern Pacific Railroad Eureka to Willits by Alex Service and Susan O’Hara, and Our Story, edited by Wendy Lestina, will be featured at the event.

The centennial of the completion of the northern branch of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad (NWP) is October 24, 2014.  This momentous anniversary inspired Service and O’Hara to explore the history of the railroad.  “With the question of whether Humboldt’s rail connection can be restored, and dreams of building a new railroad now being hotly debated issues in this county, it seemed a perfect time to take a look back at the railroad’s beginning here, and the vital roles that NWP played in Humboldt County for most of the 20th century,” Service explained.

Our Story is 268 pages of anecdotes, news clippings, photographs, diaries, and other personal accounts of the history of the Eel River Valley.  The stories include, “Corona” Chris Christensen, an old bachelor who had arrived in Eureka on wrecked ship Corona, was told he should marry, he said, “I don’t need any curtains on my windows.” He changed his mind when he was 74.

Joan Dunning will be signing her books Secrets of the Nest and Seabird in the Forest, which features her art work.  “Years ago, while I was researching From the Redwood Forest, I learned how to climb the tall redwoods in my backyard in preparation for climbing almost two hundred feet up into the canopy of the ancient redwood forest (imagine climbing up the outside of a twenty story building), to interview Julia Butterfly Hill,” said Dunning.

Michael Kauffmann, author of Conifer Country and Conifers of the Pacific Slope, explained “these books celebrate our exceptional western landscape, home to the highest conifer diversity in North America, by opening a window into wild places and the natural history found there.” Scott H. Brown continues to show us the history of Humboldt County through his photographs of “then and now.”  He will be at Eureka Books to discuss and sign his book, Eureka (Then and Now), which shows changes of Eureka by comparing historic photographs with current photographs taken by Brown.  Peter Hannaford will be signing his books Presidential Retreats:  Where the Presidents Went and Why They Went There and Reagan’s Roots.


Cool Stuff from Serendipity

November 19th, 2013  |  by  |  published in Blogs, Feature 3, New Arrivals, Serendipity

yumyum-smSince the story ran in the Tri-City Weekly, we’ve had a lot of requests about what we brought back from Serendipity Books, in Berkeley. I have to say, the interest caught us a bit unprepared. But we’re making an effort to pull some of the cool and interesting stuff out of boxes and to put it in the shop. Here’s the first bit: R. Crumb’s 1975 Yum Yum Book, a full-color graphic novel retelling of the Grimms fairy tale about the girl who kissed a frog that turned into a prince. The cheapest copies online are selling for $25. We just opened a box, still sealed from the printer after 38 years! and are selling them for just $12.48.


Autumn in Old Town

November 15th, 2013  |  by  |  published in Bookstore, Feature 2, Feature 3

Fall colors are spilling along the street outside Eureka Books.

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Serendipity Sale Parking Update

November 6th, 2013  |  by  |  published in Serendipity

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NOVEMBER 15 UPDATE: SALE IS OVER. ALL MERCHANDISE IS SOLD

Parking will be tight at Serendipity during the sale. The store in on the edge of a residential parking zone, but if you stay to the east of the shop, you should be fine parking in the neighborhoods (but read the signs carefully).

There is a parking lot on-site, but it will be for loading and unloading only. So drop off your bags and boxes, find a parking place, and walk in.

Due to the expected volume of sales, we cannot store books over night. Please have a plan to remove all books by the end of the day.

The sale opens to the public on Saturday at 10 am.

Saturday, Nov. 9, 10-6
Sunday, Nov. 10, 10-6
Monday, Nov. 11, 10-6

More info on Berkeley parking regulations can be found here: http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/Public_Works/Transportation/Parking_RPPMap.aspx

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Serendipity Sale Schedule Update

November 4th, 2013  |  by  |  published in Serendipity

NOVEMBER 15 UPDATE: SALE IS OVER. ALL MERCHANDISE IS SOLD

The schedule of the sale (accurate as of 11/4/13; subject to revision):

For the most up-to-date information, follow the sale on Facebook.

All posts about the sale are here.

ALL SALES ARE FINAL. No returns or refunds.


Breaking the Bad News

November 3rd, 2013  |  by  |  published in Serendipity

Anyone who has been a bookseller longer than five minutes has had to find a way to break the bad news that someone’s family heirlooms have no value.

Among Peter Howard’s files at Serendipity Books, I found this priceless letter from Peter to an insurance company. A family in Berkeley had a water leak and claimed $20,000 in damages to their library. Peter was called in to appraise the damaged goods. Since he was working for the insurance company, he could be blunt in the way all booksellers would like to be, but often can’t, out of respect for the feelings of the owner of the books.

Peter writes:

The Smiths [a pseudonym] own a fine and valuable home in a nice part of town. The home is well and expensively furnished (the dining room set alone cost $20,000 or more, apparently). Objects d’art abound, particularly glassware. The Smiths are very nice, agreeable and well-spoken people. They have a daughter at UC Berkeley, entering her sophomore year.

However, their books, basically, are worthless. They may have taste, education, discretion, and character, but they are not bookmen. They did not ever buy fine, valuable or resalable books. Such books as they did buy–almost all from book clubs, subscriptions, or by second-hand acquisition–have insignificant or NO RESALE VALUE (emphasis in the original). In all honesty, I would say they have NO RESALE VALUE AT ALL.

I have attempted to put the kindest interpretation imaginable on this business. Mrs. Smith is very nice and wise and experienced, and her husband, who said nothing, seemed a gentle soul. $1250 would be charity. More would be a distinct disservice to your employers.

Yrs. faithfully,

Peter B. Howard

NOVEMBER 15 UPDATE: SALE IS OVER. ALL MERCHANDISE IS SOLD

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BRIDE OF FIELD NOTES: Barry Evans will sign his new book at Arts Alive

October 28th, 2013  |  by  |  published in Events, Feature 2

BrideoffieldnotesLocal author and columnist, Barry Evans will celebrate the publication of his new book Bride of Field Notes during the November 2nd Arts Alive at Eureka Books.  The book is the third compendium of essays published in his Field Notes series.  Topics range from science, nature, linguistics, and philosophy.

“I’m often told that what people like about the essays is the surprise factor – they never know what’s coming.  Bride of Field Notes reflects this with lots of variety in 500 word chunks,” Evans said.

Evans has been writing articles and essays on scientific topics since 1986 when he wrote about the return of Hailey’s Comet, resulting in the publication of The Wrong-Way Comet and Other Mysteries of Our Solar System.  His second book, Everyday Wonders:  Encounters with the Astonishing World Around Us netted him a four-year position as a commentator on National Public Radio.

Through his writings, Evans is able to explain complex topics in a manner that is approachable to the general public.  His eclectic topics range from the big bang theory, the periodic table, and the arrival of the first people to the Americas.

Evans, who lives in Eureka, continues to share his admiration and wonder of the world through journal articles and essays.  Evans will be signing and answering questions about his books at Eureka Books on Saturday, November 2nd from 6-9 p.m.


Serendipity Books Sale Schedule

October 26th, 2013  |  by  |  published in Bookselling, Serendipity

NOVEMBER 15 UPDATE: SALE IS OVER. ALL MERCHANDISE IS SOLD

Eureka Books  has acquired the closing inventory of Serendipity Books, in Berkeley. Serendipity was one of the great antiquarian bookstore on the West Coast for 50 years (established in 1963) [read the New York Times' obit for the store]. Over five weekends in November and December, we will be selling the remaining books – at least 60,000 titles left over from countless great libraries.

Serendipity specialized in modern first editions – twentieth century literature – but bought good books in all fields. The late owner, Peter Howard, was a great supporter of booksellers and frequently gave them better discounts that anyone. While the final closing of this literary landmark is a sad event, we want to continue Peter’s generosity, by offering wonderful books at wonderful prices, starting at $5 per book and dropping from there.

[NOTE: The poetry, drama, and Canadian sections have been sold in their entirety]

Here’s what a professional book scout (someone who makes his living buying books to sell to other booksellers), who we enlisted to help organize the books, has to say about the books included in this sale:

“I’ve been helping out at Serendipity, sorting and offering opinion. I wish [people] would recognize that [Eureka Books] doesn’t have the time or space to cart away all the “good books”… There will be thousands of $100+ books, hundreds of authors’ first books, great bibliography, etc. at (at first) $5 a pop. There are great bargains to be had and anyone thinking that this is something other than an extraordinary buying opportunity is missing the boat.

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We will also be selling book cases, metal library shelving, desks, book ends, at least 100 pieces of art, prints, broadsides, ephemera (particularly related to printing and poetry), finely bound sets, reference books too numerous to count, rugs and carpets, etc.


Peter B. Howard on Bookselling

October 22nd, 2013  |  by  |  published in Bookselling, Serendipity

Peter Howard was one of the top antiquarian booksellers in the United States, with a heyday in the 1990s, when his firm, Serendipity Books in Berkeley, frequently grossed more than $2 million per year with just four or five employees. As we have been packing up the store, we have come across some of Peter’s observations on bookselling:

“There is no possible, rational prediction that a given used or antiquarian book will sell for a given or specific price in a specific period of time.”

“A large collection of used books is difficult and often impossible to sell at a predictable or desired price.”

“Booksellers are entrepreneurs. The success of their business depends primarily (or entirely?) upon acumen honed over time; their special knowledge (absorbed over years), and their force of will. None of these elements is transferable; none can be bought and sold; occasionally they can be hired. Such entrepreneurs are vulnerable to illness, uncontrollable social or personal vicissitudes, changes in economies of scale, and bad judgment.”

“In a downward, declining or changing market, ownership of one’s building is an absolute guarantee of survival… The book market place is changing utterly, more so than in any time in history, this hour, this day, this month, this year.”


Never Be a Bookseller

October 17th, 2013  |  by  |  published in Bookselling, Serendipity

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Perhaps my favorite book so far, found on the Serendipity shelves. Alfred Knopf published it in an edition of 2000 copies (none for sale) in 1929. This charming pamphlet begins: “Never try to write, but above all never have anything to do with publishing or the book trade”; this is the only parental advice I can remember.

Garnett, remembered perhaps most today for his novel Lady Into Fox, republished by McSweeney’s, also owned a second-hand and antiquarian book shop and was a partner in the Nonesuch Press.

Garnett concludes with advice for his sons, ” ‘Above all, never be a bookseller. That is the worst of all: the hardest work and the worst paid. ‘ Yet sometimes I wish I were back in the shop….”

For the complete Serendipity Chronicles, visit http://eurekabooksellers.com/serendipity/



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