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  • Michael Krakovskiy 10:34 pm on June 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , Hardcover, , , , online ordering, , Paperback, Plonking, , , Rocketbook, , , , Strand bookstore, , , Web fiction   

    Memories of Obtaining Books 

    Early 1980s (Odessa, Soviet Union)

    Most of the walls of my parent’s apartment were lined with bookshelves. When bored, all I needed to do to get a good book to read was to climb the shelves, read the titles and colophons, and taked one. It was best to look in the areas that proved fruitful previously, mining the locations full of science fiction anthologies and historical prose. All that I needed to do was to replace the book when done and not let my father catch me leaving the book open face up or otherwise mistreating it.

    Mid 80s (Odessa, Soviet Union)

    I remember sitting in a public library while my father combed the bookshelves for something interesting. It always took him hours because 99 percent of the books contained political propaganda, speeches by various politburo members and turgid prose of social realists. The pickins were slim.

    Late 80s (Odessa, Soviet Union)

    Decent foreign and homegrown sci-fi books were available for purchase in an outdoor market. While pricey, my dad purchased everything good in sight. The home library was overflowing. This is also when I learned the meaning of arbitrage.

    Early 90s (New York City)

    I spent hours in the bowels of Strand Bookstore. My hands were plenty sore bringing home stacks of hardcovers and paperbacks that cost me from 25 cents to $3. I could not understand why anyone would want to spend more than 25 cents on a paperback. Besides Strand there were library sales – I once bought a dozen tete-beche pulps for a quarter each.

    Mid 90s (New York City)

    Besides raiding Strand, I would sometimes go to Barnes and Noble and splurge on paperbacks that I really wanted at $6.99 each or worse.

    Early 2000s. (New York City)

    My first job at a publishing company introduced me to free review books. My library swelled. I also purchased my first real ebook readers (reading on a Palm device does not count): a Softbook and a Rocketbook (at the time I worked at a company that produced both of them). Converting text files and web pages into .rb format was a pain in the ass, but these kinds of “books” were free. After reading a Rocketbook for a couple of hours in a dark bedroom I’d see the glow of its backlight for the next 15 minutes. The future of the book was freaky. The official ebook pricing for Rocketbook was the same as for hardcovers (if I remember this correctly) and seemed like an insane waste of money. Rocketbook died a slow death, so it actually was.

    2000s. (New York City)

    The online ordering of books at Amazon, ABEBooks and the like revolutionized book buying for me. Now I could get exactly what I wanted for a few bucks over what a paperback would cost me at Strand. An average price of a purchase was $3-$5. Sometimes I’d splurge on a rare or an autographed book (this is how I ended up with a $250 Cray at Chippewa Falls. More free books at work – working for publishing companies is awesome.

    Now (New York City)

    My home library is a drag: finding a book is hard, searching inside a book – well, impossible. Plonking down $13 on a Kindle copy does not seem like insanity any more: the book arrives in minutes and is completely searchable. But staring me in the face is a $2.99 paperback of the same book on Amazon. The cost of instant delivery, searchability and the cost of keeping the clutter down turns out to be about ten dollars. But what about books that are not available on Kindle and have a $2.99 used copy available? These are heartbreaking.

    I keep wondering about the fate of my library – should I purge it? Should I donate it? Should I have the nice people of Strand Bookstore drag it away completely? Should I put every book into a database and then pack everything away into plastic boxes and store in the basement?

    In the past I was usually heartbroken because I could not obtain a book at all, or could not afford it. The modern book buying heartbreak is of a very different type indeed.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 7:23 am on September 3, 2006 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Austin, Authors Harbourfront Centre, Authors Harbourfront Centre Toronto, , Barnes & Noble New York, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Booksmith, Burnside store, Denver, , Jessie Jessup Dallas, Ken Kalfus, KGB, KGB Bar, , Mark Z Danielewski, , Pasadena, , , , Strand bookstore, Tattered Cover Bookstore, Texas Book Festival Continental Club Gallery, University Book Store Seattle, University District store,   

    Mark Z Danielewski’s Signing 

    I am still trying to finish a few book reviews, but my mind is following associative paths a bit too freely these days, so they are coming out too wordy and confusing. Meanwhile, one of the authors that I am writing about, Mark Z Danielewski, came out with a new book, “Only Revolutions“. It has a cryptic flash website. I noticed that the two eyes comprise a stereo pair, if you look at them through a stereo viewer (or simpy coross-eyed) the pictures seem to float around.

    I checked Barnes & Noble’s website, and there seems to be indeed a reading and signing on September 25th at 7 PM at the store at 675 6th Avenue (I used to work just around the corner from there). If you want to meet up, shoot me an email or IM.

    For those of you in Ka-lee-fornia, Texachussets and other cromulent places, here’s the entire Only Revolutions tour:

    Sep 16 06 Skylight Books Los Angeles 7:30PM
    Sep 17 06 West Hollywood Book Fair multi-author panel, West Hollywood Park, West Hollywood 2:15PM
    Sep 18 06 University Book Store Seattle (University District store) 7PM
    Sep 19 06 Powell’s City of Books Portland (Burnside store) 7:30PM
    Sep 21 06 Bookshop Santa Cruz Santa Cruz 7:30PM
    Sep 22 06 M Is For Mystery San Mateo 2PM **signing only**
    Sep 22 06 Booksmith San Francisco 7PM
    Sep 24 06 KGB Bar New York 7PM with Ken Kalfus
    Sep 25 06 Barnes & Noble New York (6th Ave) 7PM
    Sep 26 06 Brookline Booksmith Brookline 7PM
    Sep 27 06 Books & Books Coral Gables 8PM
    Sep 29 06 Master’s Tea/Yale University 4PM

    Oct 10 06 Boulder Book Store Boulder 12PM (noon)
    Oct 10 06 Tattered Cover Bookstore Denver 7:30PM
    Oct 11 06 Bookslut Reading Series Hopleaf Bar, Chicago
    Oct 12 06 Borders Books Madison 7PM
    Oct 14 06 Twin Cities Book Festival Minneapolis
    Oct 15 06 Prairie Lights Books Iowa City 1PM **check for webcast details**
    Oct 17 06 Borders Books Los Angeles (Westwood) 7PM
    Oct 18 06 Book Soup Los Angeles (Sunset) 7PM
    Oct 20 06 International Festival of Authors Harbourfront Centre Toronto
    Oct 22 06 Strand Bookstore New York 5PM
    Oct 23 06 New Haven Public Library New Haven 6:30PM
    Oct 24 06 Collegiate School Book Festival New York 6PM
    Oct 25 06 Vroman’s | store link Pasadena 7PM
    Oct 26 06 KDGE interview with DJ Jessie Jessup Dallas 2PM-6PM
    Oct 28 06 Texas Book Festival Continental Club Gallery Austin 9PM

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 3:06 am on November 9, 2002 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bill Clinton, , , , , Interdimentional police, interdimentional travel, Jerry Seinfeld, , Sock, , Strand bookstore,   

    Meanwhile, in the Butter Dimention 3 

    I truly believe in parallel dimensions. Come on, how else can we explain the great missing sock mystery? Subjected to about 100 G in your washing machine, socks, being one of the smallest articles of clothing, simply disappear from our dimension and drift into another.

    Jerry Seinfeld has an alternative theory involving a dryer: “The dryer is their only chance to escape and they all know it. They plan it in the hamper the night before. “Tomorrow, the dryer. I’m going”” I don’t buy that , because it implies that socks are sentient.

    Socks may be the most common interdimentional travelers, but other objects can disappear and reappear under normal conditions.

    Interdimentional police is looking for the following items on my request.

    • A book “Barbarians Led By Gates”. I’ve read half of it, and then it disappeared into the Ether. Damn, it’s a good book. I’ll have to order another one.
    • My titanium wedding band. I am not sure about interdimentional travel here because a) I’ve lost a lot of weight and it could have slipped of my now thinner finger on a fishing trip or b) the cat could have eaten it.
    • A book of Russian translations of Japanese science fiction writers. Disappeared years ago. I was in the middle of an interesting story.
    • A book about fishing in the Black Sea (also in Russian)
    • “Harvey Wang’s New York”. Black and white photo book purchased in Strand bookstore.

    I think that books and rings possess a special shape, which encounters the least resistance slipping into interdimentional space. Donuts probably too. I’ve seen three dozen Krispy Kremes disappear in under a minute.

     
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