Monday, October 31, 2005

E-mail fora (forums?)

We are toying with adding several mailing lists, but don't know what the response would be. We would split the current BookNews e-mail list into 4 options:
1) Keep the same (text)
3) New and noteworthy only
4) Sales only
(I guess that is really 6, since 3 & 4 could be text or HTML.)

And, we are toying with the idea of hosting a beginning Hebrew e-mail forum. We have a recently retired Hebrew professor who is willing to "moderate" it. But, is there enough interest? And how do you launch something like that? Perhaps with every beginning Hebrew grammar we send out include a blurb about it?

ETS/AAR/SBL/ASOR crush time

This is the week when all the convention stuff has to be done. We are madly scrambling to get the order forms done and duplicated. Price checking takes the most time, and then highlighting the new books, making sure that none are missed, deleting the older ones that we aren't taking...all so you can get the best deal on the newest titles. The AAR/SBL shipment leaves next Monday, which means we have to have it packed and ready by Friday.

I just hope the shipment that is stuck in customs gets delivered in time to make the shipment.

Joe Cathey's take on Jim West's Copenhagen trip

I meant to post this Friday, but forgot. Joe Cathey has a very funny take on Jim West's recent trip to Copenhagen. In the frequently acerbic interchange between "minimalists" and "maximalists" their exchanges are refreshing. Here is the link

Friday, October 28, 2005

Computer and AAR/SBL update

Well, the computer hasn't locked up on me yet since I took the modem out. I have almost everything back to normal on my profile (thanks, Dave!) and am cranking away on the AAR/SBL order forms. I only have one left to do, and it's the easiest of them.

Now I have to decide how many of everything to take along. The trick is to take enough, but not too many. As an exhibitor, you pay for freight and a handling charge by the convention people both ways. So, if it doesn't sell, you pay freight and handling twice, not a nice situation. But, if you don't take enough you lose sales.

As usual of late, we are offering the titles we publish at 50% off, and distributed books at 15-50% off, depending on the publisher. That's if you buy them on site. If you order them, you pay freight and only get 15-35% off, again, depending on the publisher.

I'll list more specials a bit later. Got to get the next order form done.

Average? day

What does the average day of an Internet bookseller look like?

Well, I wouldn't call yesterday average, but it will give you an idea.

around 7:00 AM -- fire up laptop to check e-mail before meeting. Modem doesn't work. Oh well :(

7:30-9:30 AM Management meeting, brainstorming session. It was a worthwhile session, now to follow-up on everything :)

9:30-10:00 AM briefly scan e-mail

10:00-10:30 Short pre-AAR/SBL meeting to make sure everything will be ready to go on time. Everything is in good shape, except my stuff... got to get those order forms done. First, better call Dell to get this laptop running correctly. I figured they would do some short diagnostics and send out a new modem.

10:30-12:30 On the phone with Dell tech support--just look at the previous post to get an idea of what happened

12:30-1:00 Try to log back on as myself and nothing works right, new profile, lost all settings.

1:00-2:00 Go to lunch to get some perspective. Spent the hour reading a bit, praying a lot and taking a short nap.

2:00-3:00 Work on getting stuff accessible again on my computer

3:00-3:30 Delivery of 3 skids of books from a new distribution deal. Got to get them all checked in before November 4th. There are about 2500 books.

3:30-5:30 Work on getting the computer back together enough so that I can work on the order forms. I got three of the five done, well one was already done, I just needed to print it out.

This morning, I fired up the computer and it locked up after 3 minutes. So, I took the modem out. We'll see if that fixes it. Of course, now I don't have a way of calling from home..."average" day :)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Continuing computer woes

So, yesterday the computer works fine after a few lock-ups. I checked the Dell website and there are 8 days left in my extended warranty. This morning, I fired it up at home and the modem is missing again, but it didn't lock-up.

I roll into work, start it up and -- Bang! it locks up again. Intermittent problems are a pain to troubleshoot, and with ETS and AAR/SBL coming up, the last thing I need is for my computer to fail.

With 7 days left in the warranty, we extended it for another 2 years, so that pressure is off my back. Now for the SBL and ETS order forms...

Updated, 2:00 PM.
Well, the order forms are still waiting. I called tech suppport and spent 2.5 hours on the phone with them. He had me trying everything, but nothing worked. Finally, he said, "Well, the next step is to re-install the operating system." No way! So, I now have lost my original profile and settings (they are there, just not accessible) and my whole morning. And the modem is still not fixed.

Don't you just love computers :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


It took the blog comment spammers exactly 2 days to find my blog. I was forced to turn on word verification on comments, I hated to do that, but it helps to keep the spam down.

Thoughts about 1491

I have been reading 1491 for about a week now on my lunch breaks. It is an interesting book, the main thesis is that the population of the Americas was decimated by diseases that were brought by the Europeans. Further, there were thriving civilizations here long before most textbooks allow which had learned to work with nature and manipulate their environment. Fascinating, and, to my view, sustainable thesis with ramifications for how we act as good stewards of God's creation.

Now the question is, how do we apply this? Or do we simply add it to our mass of knowledge with no practical application?

Computer fun

Last night I fire up my laptop (I had to leave work early for a Physical Therapist appointment--related to the bicycle-truck accident), dial up to check e-mail and the computer freezes up. Hard reboot, try re-dialing, the computer says modem not found. Great, reboot, same response. I figured I would wait and try it in the morning, still no modem. Further, it is now starting to randomly lock up. I quickly make sure that I back up everything (don't ask how long it had been since I did that).

Here it is one month from AAR/SBL and my computer decides to go wacko on me...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Monthly web sale ideas

One of the joys of the month end is trying to decide what to put on sale the following month. You want to make it something that people want and need, but you don't want to put the same things on sale too often. Of course, you need to make money to stay in business, also. So, as November bears down on me, with multiple conferences where we offer deep discounts, the task is more complicated.

Naturally, I always welcome suggestions from customers. But, generally the response rate when I mention it in BookNews is pretty poor. Maybe bloggers are more responsive? Maybe nobody reads this (that is entirely likely, since I haven't told anyone it exists)?

New Bicycle

Since I didn't make a big deal about it, some background:
I was hit by a truck on my bicycle on August 23, T-boned. Wrecked my bicycle (didn't exactly do me any good either).

The insurance money came last Friday, so I ordered a new bike last Saturday. Very nice, 2005 Specialized Allez Elite with all Ultegra. The 2006 bikes have aluminum frames and are overpriced because of the 10 speed Shimano. This one is steel with 9 speed Ultegra. I like the ride of a steel bike better than aluminum or even (surprise) carbon.

I ride about 3000 miles per year, so the carbon fork and seatpost will be a nice feature. Hopefully the weather will stay warm long enough to enjoy it a bit this fall :)

Monday, October 24, 2005

New books from Eisenbrauns

Seeking Out the Wisdom of the Ancients:

Seeking Out the Wisdom of the Ancients:
Essays Offered to Honor Michael V. Fox on the Occasion of His Sixty-Fifth Birthday
Edited by Ronald L. Troxel, Kelvin G. Friebel, and Dennis R. Magary
Eisenbrauns, 2005
xxviii + 507 pages, English
ISBN: 1575061058
Your Price: $59.50

The Historical Jesus in Recent Research

The Historical Jesus in Recent Research
Sources for Biblical and Theological Study - SBTS 10
Edited by James D. G. Dunn and Scot McKnight
Eisenbrauns, 2005
xiv + 618 pp., English
ISBN: 1575061007
Your Price: $42.95

Canaan in the Second Millennium B.C.E.

Canaan in the Second Millennium B.C.E.
Collected Essays, volume 2
by Nadav Na'aman
Eisenbrauns, 2005
xiv + 410 pages, English
6 x 9, ISBN: 1575061139
Your Price: $49.50

RSS aggregators or aggrevators?

I have been playing with RSS aggregators in the last day or so. Frustrating, to say the least. Ah, for Evolution on Linux again, even 3 years ago they had it done right. RSS feeds showed up on your daily summary page (equivalent to Outlook Today page). The two I tried that supposedly worked inside of Outlook didn’t allow me to easily add feeds outside their presets. The ones I tried that were standalone were clunky. I ended up just going back to the Firefox RSS bookmark function.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Deciding what to take to these larger conferences is never easy. You have an obligation to the distributed publishers to display their books, but we also want to display our own. Which creates the issue of space. At ETS I only have a 10 x 10 foot booth, so how many to take. Additionally, we haven’t been there for 4 years, so all the backlist is eligible.