Happy New Year’s, bookies! Once your bleary eyes get focused, stand by for news and comment.

First, I want to thank all of you who have read this bit of doggerel throughout this blog’s first year. I have asked before that if you wish to see anything in particular, just let me know and I’ll do what I can to make it so.

I’ve never written a daily blog before so it’s been a pretty steep learning curve. I usually start in the morning during my second cup of coffee, when the neural synapses are beginning to fire but before they tire. It’s fun, it’s keeping me up to date with my industry and it’s allowing me to maybe do a little educating, too. But without loyal readers it’s nothing but narcissism, so to each and every one of you, thanks.

*** Ebay’s year in review is given a pretty good treatment by e-commerce, touching on the low-lights of a dying company. No need for me to say more, read as you wish.

The Year Ebay became terminally ill

*** By and large your friendly neighborhood bookseller does not highlight articles about mega-booksellers, dealing in millions of books that are usually badly described or outright deceptive. However, this particular article seemed interesting, because while I’m not personally familiar with the seller, a lot of other sellers are. He seems to illustrate both the best and worst of booksellers, a ‘book person’ who has now warehoused his operations, uses automated pricing that is almost never correct, hires people who don’t know books and pretty much fits perfectly with sellers who cater to people who don’t care about the books they receive as long as they are cheap. But for buyers who DO care that what they are getting is what they thought they were getting, he seems to be in that classification known as ‘mega-seller’, those who employ people who don’t know or care about books, they only know how to stuff things into the mailbox.

Or, put another way, we are we and they are them.

A perfect example

*** Paul Hoffman has died, aged 96. If you never heard of him, click the link and read a little. He was a fascinating man, most known for this travel books, although by the time he wrote them he had already lived a full life.

Paul Hoffman

*** For someone like me, what could be better than a book about books? Of course, it’s a collecting sub-genre all its own, one I have, thankfully, not yet set my mind to collecting, but who wouldn’t like to spend a few hours studying one of the great book collections in the world via a book of photographs?

The Princeton University website puts it this way: “A new book, “Biblio” by photographer Natasha D’Schommer, offers a rare close-up look at many of the exceptional books and manuscripts that belong to the Scheide Library, one of the most significant private book collections in the United States, which is housed in Princeton’s Firestone Library. “

See, while I hate cold weather with a passion, good lighting, a roaring fire and a book such as this makes winter almost bearable.

A rare delight

*** I have met a knight. I didn’t know it at the time, and neither did he, but it’s true nonetheless. Terry Pratchett is on the list to be knighted and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. I guess everyone knows he is battling early onset Alzheimer’s, doing so in a very public way, but this will no doubt bring even more publicity to his battle and the need to do everything possible to find at least an effective treatment.

It won’t hurt Discworld sales, either, and with a series as brilliant and innovative as this, well, that’s all to the good. I know I’ve told the story before, but for those who missed it, Sir Terry was Guest of Honor at Midsouthcon a few years back and I attended to get some books signed. I waited in line for almost 3 hours, but before he got to me he had to attend a panel. I was told to return that night to get my allotment (2 books per person) signed. I did and he did. He looked exhausted. It wasn’t much after this that he was given his diagnosis. I got lucky.

The First Knight (that I’ve met)