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If Rumors Were Horses

by | Jan 29, 2021 | 0 comments


Hello everyone!  Happy New Year!  This is the very last ATG issue that will be totally in print!  See our letter from the editor (p.6) that will explain what’s happening with us at Charleston Hub!  Here’s hoping it’s a great new year for each and every one of us!  We are planning lots of good changes!

Each print issue of ATG in 2021 will be 64 pages only.  We will experiment with what should be in the 64 pages.  Please let me know if you want to nominate something for print.  All issues of ATG will be delivered online but the first 64 print issue pages will be embargoed for 6 months.  We know that most of you prefer online so this is an experiment and we will see how it turns out!  Thanks for your perseverance and patience with us!

Saw the post that unit sales of print books rose 8.2% in 2020 over 2019 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan.  I think that this is great news

So very sad to learn that the smiling, affable John Laraway born Nov. 1, 1940 in Grand Rapids, MI, passed away January 2 of cancer.  After he served in the U.S. Navy, John finished college and began an almost 50-year career in the book business selling to College and University Libraries in the U.S.  In 1968, on a blind date he met the “light of his life,” Mariann, and they married on July 4, 1968.  They were together for over 52 years.  John took up jogging at 40 to lose weight he had gained after quitting smoking.  It became a long-time avocation.  He ran for almost 30 years without missing a day, all outside in all type of weather.  Favorite places were alongside water, whether it be lakes, rivers or oceans.  Running alongside the Atlantic in Key West will always standout as a number one favorite.  He also enjoyed going to sons and grandkids various sporting events and other activities.  Upon moving to south Florida in 1981, he became a big Miami Hurricane fan along with his sons. https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/fort-lauderdale-fl/john-laraway-9983221

Like a lot of you, I have been spending quite a bit of time reading books that I never got around to reading.  Viz — Tom Leonhardt’s column this time about finally reading Ulysses, p.44.

I have loved reading David Worlock’s book, Facing Up to Father, the pleasures and pains of a Cotswold childhood.  It is a delightful book!  Did you see the article by Richard Charkin about it in Publishing Perspectives

My husband’s grandfather for many years managed one of the Rockefeller estates in Fayetteville NC.  It was sold to the Army ten years ago, but in our early married life we spent some wonderful times at Overhills.  It was isolated and wonderfully quiet.  My husband Bruce enjoyed growing up riding horses and witnessing fox hunts — many topics that are covered in Facing up to Father.  It was a different time.  The book doesn’t talk about David’s amazing career in publishing.  I hope that he will write a memoir about that as well.  Still, we do have David Worlock.com his wonderful blog which is chock full of all kinds of fascinating information!

Continuing with my reading, Cross of Snow: A Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is by Nicholas Basbanes who has written many library-related books that have been frequently discussed at the Charleston Conference and on the pages of Against the Grain.  Anyway, there are several relevant “tidbits” from the book.  Here’s one. “…Obadiah Rich, an expatriate bookseller credited by the bibliographer Nicholas Trübner with having single-handedly created the field of Americana in many stateside libraries; most spectacularly those of James Lenox in New York whose fabulous holdings became the core collection of the New York Public Library… (p.45).”  There are many tidbits like this in Cross of Snow (Knopf, 2020).

Heard from Rick Anderson!  He was asking about Charleston 2021 and if we had plans!?  Of course!  We are planning to do both in person AND virtual!  The 2020 Charleston Virtual Conference was hugely successful (more attendees than ever!)!  We can’t give it up!  But who knows what the vaccine future holds!  Rick was proposing a debate which sounds great!  We will do a debate online and hopefully in person.  Time will tell!  BTW the 2021 Charleston Conference will be November 1-5.  Mark your calendars!  And be sure and take the vaccine!

Speaking of which, lovely Ann Okerson posted a Facebook picture of her getting the vaccine.  Bruce and I are scheduled to get the vaccine in February.  My son-in-law and daughter have already gotten both shots because they are medical personnel.  Bruce and I are classified in the “old” category.  Oh well. 

Moving right along, recently got an Epistemology column installment from the tireless Scott PlutchakScott and Lynn are fine but the vaccine distribution in Alabama is slow going so they are staying home and practicing patience.  Their granddaughter had a brief and mild COVID case last month, but all is well now.  The Epistemology column is a review of Fred Dylla’s recently published book of short essays.  Coming soon!  Oh!  Scott’s letter to the editor in this issue gives a shout out to the Charleston Hub team.  It has been a huge project by a wonderful team including John LavenderLeah Hinds, Joshua Dickard, Caroline Goldsmith, Toni Nix, Tom Gilson and Kent Anderson!! charleston-hub.com/

We were telling you that we are hoping/keeping our fingers crossed for an “in person” 2021 Charleston Conference!  So — I was interested to see in Trip Advisor that The French Quarter Inn in Charleston, SC was listed.  Plus we are signing our usual contracts with Charleston Hotels including the Francis Marion, The Marriott Courtyard, and many others.  We are all so ready to see each other! 

The law firm that successfully sued Apple and five major publishers for colluding to fix eBook prices in 2011 has now filed a class action suit against Amazon, accusing the company of colluding with the Big Five publishers to eliminate price competition in the eBook market.  The suit, filed in the Southern District of New York on January 14 by Seattle-based firm Hagens Berman, comes a day after a Wall Street Journal article disclosed that Amazon was under investigation in Connecticut for potentially anti-competitive behavior in the eBook market.



Have had several ongoing conversations with Bob Holley about the rare book market.  (See Random Ramblings — The Used Book Market: Changes for Libraries, in this issue, p.65.)  I believe I have told y’all that my son, Raymond Walser is a rare and used book freak.  He wrote some questions for Bob to answer.  Watch for the interview on Charleston Hub soon!  charleston-hub.com

Talk about voice from the past!  Got an email from the awesome Helmut Schwarzer (remember him back from the YBP Library Service days and his newsletter DIALOGUE?)  Helmut wrote to ask if we had written about Scott A. Smith’s death in March of 2018.  Well, I have tried to search the ATG archive and haven’t found anything yet.  I know we never got an obit which I generally try to get.  I do remember Scott and his Timberline Conference well.  Scott and I visited with his mother in Ohio several years ago.  I am sorry that I can’t find anything now, but I can’t believe that I didn’t mention his death in Rumors?!  Could this be?  Many thanks to Helmut for pointing this out.  Helmut says he is reasonably well at 82 and enjoying his (late) autumn years in New Hampshire!

And — The Acquisitions Institute at Timberline Lodge (Mt. Hood, Oregon, a breathtakingplace!) began in 2000 to provide an opportunity for acquisitions and collections librarians to meet and discuss pertinent trends and issues was canceled in 2020 but is hoping for an Institute in 2021!  Acquisitionsinstitute.org

According to BusinessWire, Wattpad Board of Directors has approved an  Agreement to be acquired by Naver, the South Korean Internet Conglomerate and Home of WEBTOON, a Leading Global Digital Comics Platform.  The acquisition will align Wattpad and WEBTOON, two leading comics, entertainment, and storytelling companies, with a combined global monthly audience of 160M people.  The cash and stock transaction valued at more than an estimated USD $600 million will fuel continued global growth for Wattpad.  The company will remain headquartered in Canada under the continued leadership of founders Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen.



This is from Choice Academic publishing weekly — Streaming video usage saw a huge uptick last year, and not just on NetflixKanopy, a streaming service for libraries, released a report with over 700 librarians detailing their institutions’ usage, trends, and spending choices.  Almost 50 percent of participants said “streaming video budgets will increase in 2021 and 71 percent expect an increase over the next three years.”  Almost 60 percent said that patrons used streaming not just for entertainment, “but for other purposes such as personal enrichment and class assignments.”  As virtual learning appears here to stay in 2021, experts expect the demand for streaming options to only continue.  https://choice360.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=11f1458611be04f9d5f1e4a10&id=4b9e355e52&e=83a938bbbf

The Great Gatsby has officially entered public domain, already spawning a flurry of new editions and adaptations.  The 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald classic is slated to be reimagined as a graphic novel, refitted with new illustrations, and reinterpreted as, what else, a zombie-story.  One adaptation that’s garnered some buzz is Nick from Little, Brown and Company, an exploration of the narrator pre-Jay Gatsby.  Often interpreted as a stark look at the “American Dream,” the book, with its Roaring 20s opulence and tragedy (spoiler-alert), clearly still strikes a chord today.


From Infodocket — “In a historic and unprecedented maneuver for a group of independent universities, the University Library Deans and Directors of the BigTen Academic Alliance (BTAA) have committed to managing the separate collections of Big Ten university libraries as a single collection.  “The objective of the BIG Collection is to create an environment for Big Ten faculty, staff and students in which content will be universally available to all without regard to which institution produced or purchased the resources and materials.  The BIG Collection will be supported by interoperable services and system.”


Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. and Max Planck Digital Library have entered into a three-year Read & Publish Agreement.  Covering all Mary Ann Leibert, Inc. journals previously subscribed, the transformative agreement covers the cost for open access publishing of all articles by corresponding authors affiliated with the Max Planck Society, eliminating APCs (Article Processing Charges) for authors.  In addition, researchers at all Max Planck Institutes will have full access to licensed Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. journal content.  The Read & Publish agreement with the Max Planck Society is the first transformative open access agreement for Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


Even though the 2020 Charleston Conference was virtual, we had fun anyway!  Beth Bernhardt’s Trivia Night was a huge success.  Don’t miss it next year! 

Also attendees who visited the Charleston Vendor Showcase exhibits could get points and win prizes!  Our Grand Prize winner was Judy Lee, LRC Director at St. Paul’s School of Nursing.  Our 2nd Runner Up was Scott Pope, Continuing Resources Librarian at Texas State University.  And our 3rd Runner Up was Michele Gibney, Head of Publishing & Scholarship Support at the University of the Pacific.  Honorable mentions go to Edward Lener (Virginia Tech), and Tamara Bozich (UC San Diego Geisel Library).  Congrats to all of you, and thanks for playing!  Pictures are here https://2021charlestonconference.pathable.co/game.

Lorcan Dempsey <[email protected]> sends word that beloved Portland indie bookseller Powell’s Books is selling a unisex fragrance that smells like a bookstore.



If you can’t get your hands on Powell’s scent, you have other options.  Demeter makes a fragrance called Paperback that’s available in a variety of formats (cologne, shower gel, diffuser oil).  Visit https://demeterfragrance.com/paperback.html.  And Christopher Brosius offers a scent called In The Library in his shop — visit https://www.cbihateperfume.com/shop-vpwdj (via moss & fog), or https://mossandfog.com/powells-books-captures-the-essence-of-a-bookstore-and-bottles-it.

Laura Dawson says that Etsy also has a large range of candles scented to resemble libraries, headmaster’s office, etc.  Loads of bibliophile scents available there.

And!!  Attention!!!  RED ALERT!!  Attention 2020 Charleston Conference Attendees:  Remember that you have access to the full conference event website for one year, through the end of October 2021.  Watch video recordings with transcripts (located in the “Files” tab) for all conference sessions.  Browse the vendor showcase booths with videos, downloadable materials, and more.  Send chat messages to other attendees, ask vendor reps questions, and contact speakers for more information on their presentations.  Be sure to check out the recordings of the Vendor Info Sessions for the latest offerings of new products and services.  Look through the posters and watch the video presentations on the Morressier platform, which is linked on the top navigation menu on the conference site.  You can also find open access full issues from Against the Grain, The Charleston Advisor, and The Charleston Report linked on the front page.  There’s a whole lot of content and functionality here that lasts the whole year long, not just the week of the conference!

And Vendor Showcase Participants:  Remember that you can make updates and additions to your virtual booths and interact with conference attendees all year long as well!  Visit https://2021charlestonconference.pathable.co/ and log in to access all of the 2020 Charleston Conference content and features.  Contact [email protected] with any questions.

Until next time … everyone stay healthy and be happy!  Yr. Ed.


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