Friday, July 21, 2006

I'm off

I'm off for the next two weeks to enjoy time with our kids (and grandkid) and the great outdoors.

I just checked the conditions on the trail, and here is what they say:

July 21, 2006: The Border Route Trail and the Kekekabic Trail have been closed (because they go through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness). There continue to be no fire restrictions or travel bans on the Superior Hiking Trail.

July 18, 2006: The fires burning in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness do not affect the Superior Hiking Trail in any way. There are no fires near the trail and there are no burning restrictions or bans on the trail. However, it is extremely dry so use extreme caution if you do make a fire.

July 13, 2006: LOW WATER ADVISORY: There has been no rain to speak of for many weeks so expect small creeks and streams to be dry. So if your campsite water souce for the night (listed in The Guide to the Superior Hiking Trail) is a small creek or stream you might want to get your water from a lake, pond or river as you hike along.

So, we make sure we have plenty of water before we stop each night and we will be fine.

No more posts for about 16 days! But, to make sure I still have a job when I get back, make sure you buy lots of books from Eisenbrauns while I am gone :)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

UBS sale

Eisenbrauns is running a 2 week sale on selected UBS (United Bible Societies) texts. Anywhere from 35-55% off on Greek, Hebrew, Latin and Syriac texts and lexical aids, plus other resources. Just go here and enjoy the savings!

What's on sale? Here's partial list, since there are 45 titles on sale, I won't list them all, just highlight some.

Almost all fascicles of BHS are on sale at 40% off, I think only 12 & 13 are missing.

Other Hebrew Bible texts:
Edited by Norman Henry Snaith
American Bible Society, Cloth. Hebrew.
ISBN: 0564000299
List Price: $32.99 Your Price: $18.14

"Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: Paperback Edition"
Edited by K. Elliger and W. Rudolph
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, Paper. Hebrew.
ISBN: 3438052229
List Price: $34.99 Your Price: $20.99

"Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: Small format"
Edited by K. Elliger and W. Rudolph
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, Cloth. Hebrew.
ISBN: 3438052199
List Price: $69.99 Your Price: $41.99

"Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: Large Format"
Edited by K. Elliger and W. Rudolph
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, Cloth. Hebrew.
ISBN: 3438052180
List Price: $79.99 Your Price: $47.99

The first BHQ fascicle, at 45% off:
"General Introduction and Megilloth: Biblia Hebraica Quinta"
Edited by Adrian Schenker, et al.
Biblia Hebraica Quinta - BHQ 18
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, Paper. Hebrew.
ISBN: 3438052784
List Price: $98.00 Your Price: $53.90

Greek Texts:
Most all USB4 and NA27 texts: 40-50% off.

I really like this volume, which I have been using for the last year. Very easy on the eyes, the size is the same as the large BHS:
"Novum Testamentum Graece--Large Print edition"
Edited by Eberhard Nestle, Barbara Aland, and Kurt Aland
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, Cloth. Greek.
ISBN: 3438051036
List Price: $69.99 Your Price: $41.99

Other Greek texts/tools:
Edited by Alfred Rahlfs
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, Cloth. Greek.
ISBN: 3438051214
List Price: $71.99 Your Price: $43.19

"The Letters of Peter: Catholic Letters,
Installment 2, Parts 1 and 2"
Edited by Barbara Aland, et al.
Novum Testamentum Graecum, Editio Critica Maior - NTGECM 4
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, Paper.
ISBN: 3438056011
List Price: $49.99 Your Price: $25.00 (50%)

"A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament"
by Bruce M. Metzger
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, Cloth. English.
ISBN: 3438060108
List Price: $37.99 Your Price: $22.79

"Greek-English New Testament: NA 27 and RSV"
Edited by Eberhard Nestle, Barbara Aland, and Kurt Aland
German Bible Society, Cloth. English and Greek.
ISBN: 3438054086
List Price: $59.99 Your Price: $32.99

"Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine"
Edited by Eberhard Nestle, Barbara Aland, and Kurt Aland
German Bible Society, Cloth. Greek and Latin.
ISBN: 343805409
List Price: $59.99 Your Price: $35.99

"Novum Testamentum Latine"
Edited by Barbara Aland and Kurt Aland
German Bible Society, Cloth. Latin.
ISBN: 3438053004
List Price: $39.99 Your Price: $21.99

"Biblia Sacra Vulgata: Latin Vulgate"
by Robertus Weber
United Bible Societies, Cloth. Latin.
ISBN: 3438053039
List Price: $84.99 Your Price: $46.74

Lexical tools:
"Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament
Based on Semantic Domains"
Edited by Johannes P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida
United Bible Societies, Cloth. English.
ISBN: 0826703437
List Price: $59.99 Your Price: $35.99

"Greek English Dictionary of New Testament"
by Barclay M., Jr. Newman
German Bible Society, Cloth. English and Greek.
ISBN: 343860086
List Price: $29.99 Your Price: $16.49

"A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint, part 2: K-U"
by J. Lust, Erik Eynikel, and K. Hauspie
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, Paper. English.
ISBN: 3438051265
List Price: $41.99 Your Price: $18.90 (55% off)

"Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint"
Edited by J. Lust, Erik Eynikel, and K. Hauspie
American Bible Society, Hard cover. English and Greek.
ISBN: 3438051249
List Price: $119.99 Your Price: $71.99

"Syriac New Testament with Psalms"
American Bible Society, Cloth. Syriac.
ISBN: 090018549X
List Price: $16.99 Your Price: $10.19

"Syriac Hardcover Bible with Apocrypha:
Peshitta Version from the S. Lee Ed."
American Bible Society, Cloth. Syriac.
ISBN: 090018552X
List Price: $33.99 Your Price: $20.39

Both Hebrew & Greek:
"Biblia Sacra Utriusque Testamenti: Editio Hebraica et Graeca"
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, Cloth. Greek and Hebrew.
ISBN: 3438052504
List Price: $139.99 Your Price: $76.99

Gospel Synopses:
"Synopsis Quattuor Evangeliorum"
by Kurt Aland
United Bible Societies, Cloth. Greek.
ISBN: 104004
List Price: $89.99 Your Price: $49.49

"Synopsis of the Four Gospels: Greek-English edition of
the Synopsis Quattuor Evangeliorum"
by Kurt Aland
United Bible Societies, Cloth. Greek and English.
List Price: $129.99 Your Price: $77.99

"Synopsis of the Four Gospels : English edition"
Edited by Kurt Aland
United Bible Societies, Cloth. English.
ISBN: 0826705006
List Price: $21.99 Your Price: $12.09

"Tubinger Bibelatlas / Tubingen Bible Atlas"
Edited by Siegfried Mittmann and Gotz Schmitt
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, Cloth. German and English.
ISBN: 3438060221
List Price: $150.00 Your Price: $97.50 (35%)


I just heard that the IAA is putting together a book on the Megiddo prison "prayer room" discovered last year. I will post more details as I have them. It should be ready before ASOR in November.


Tomorrow after work we leave for the great frozen north! Actually, given that the predicted high temperature today in Minneapolis is higher than for Indiana, that is quite untrue :) But, it sounds good.

I will not have Internet access, with a possible 1-2 day exception, for the whole time. Because of the spam comments that have a nasty tendency to show up, I have turned comment moderation on. All that means is that if you post a comment after today, it won't show up until August 7. I hope it isn't anything urgent!

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Thought for the day

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God...

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

“Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny." — Matthew 5:9, 14-26.

<idle musing>
Seems especially appropriate given the world situation right now. We certainly could use a few more peacemakers. Remember, shalom means more than the absence of war...
</idle musing>

The Boundary Waters are burning

We are getting ready to go on vacation. We will be visiting our daughter, son-in-law and grandson in Grand Marais, Minnesota and our son in Shakopee, MN. While we are there, Ryan (our son) and I are planning on spending a few days backpacking along the Superior Hiking Trail (eat your heart out, Joe!).

Today, my son calls me and says that there is a fire in the Boundary Waters, see the picture below. So far, it is far up the Gunflint trail, so we can still backpack, but we will probably smell it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Continuing down the Long Tail

I finished the book The Long Tail: The Radical New Shape of Culture And Commerce. There is lots to mull over, but I think he is right about most of it. Knowing quite a bit about the insides of some of the things he talks about, I can say he oversimplifies a lot. But, that is to be expected in a popular book.

So, how does Eisenbrauns fit in the long tail? Well, last week I posted the results of why people shop at Eisenbrauns. This week I am posting the answers to the second question, "How did you find the books you bought?"

8.4% Left Blank
18.3% Search engine (e.g., Google, Yahoo, MSN...)
0.9% Froogle or other price-comparison search
10.4% Eisenbrauns Source Catalog
3.6% An Eisenbrauns catalog other than Scholar's Source
9.2% Word of mouth (includes blogs and message boards)
16.4% Book News Email
4.3% Other Email List
13.5% Browsing the Eisenbrauns website
0.9% I saw them at a conference I attended
14.3% Other Sources

Obviously, the long tail shows up in the 18% who found us via the various search engines. I have watched that percentage grow until now it surpasses BookNews, which initially was the largest category.

Now, we aren't going to do anything drastic based on these results—like stop going to conferences! This is a snapshot, not a year long study. But, it does confirm some of our long standing opinions, which can be good or bad :)

Monday, July 17, 2006

A tale of two booksellers

On a July day in 1975, a graduate student at the University of Michigan walked into an office and paid the fee to become a business. His desire was to make difficult to obtain non-domestic books available to students and scholars in biblical studies and ancient Near Eastern studies living in the US. He had no desire to get rich and no delusions of world domination :) His first "catalogs" were mimeographed sheets of paper. Gradually his reach spread; the catalogs became more professional, the number of titles more expansive. Eventually he began to publish, initially reprints, but then original works. The business became better known and scholars in biblical studies and ancient Near Eastern studies would drool over the catalogs, circling the items they wanted (I know I did!). Along came the Internet; it was an obvious move to create an online presence for the catalog business. Today it has a worldwide reach.

In late 1994, when the Internet was starting to become a hot item, another young man had an idea. This young man wasn't interested in serving the academic community, he worked for a hedge fund and was more interested in crunching numbers. He thought that there would be a potential for an Internet bookstore. He managed to convince investors and proceeded to lose more money in 3 years than the first person in our story had ever made in his life. Eventually, through selling at a loss, the Internet bookstore had a huge following. It expanded into other areas and patented an idea that didn't seem like it deserved a patent—one click ordering. Because of the millions of dollars that this company managed to lose, they became synonomous in many people's minds with books. People ceased to even think of other bookstores, it was as if they had disappeared from the planet. This company then raised their prices on all except hot sellers and began making money. But, people didn't notice that the prices had been raised. They started to treat this website as Book in Print. If it wasn't listed there, it didn't exist.

Meanwhile, the first person in our story continued to sell and publish books for the academic community. His prices for published books remained reasonable and all other books were sold at a fair price—a practice that is still going on today. He gets to attend academic conferences around the world and interact with other scholars. He is respected by the academic community and employs about 20 people, including me.

What is the moral of this story? I don't know if there is one. It is just the story of two people with entirely different dreams and purposes. Both have succeeded in doing what they set out to do. Of course, the question is, which would you rather support? That's your decision. I confess I occasionally buy from the other guy, some books are out of the ANE/biblical studies field and bookstores are few and far between in this town.

Science experiment?

It has been hot and humid here for about a week. How humid? Well, I wear a helmet when I ride my bicycle—I learned the hard way, 12 staples in the head makes one realize the value of a helmet. Anyway, because I sweat profusely, the straps get a good deal of salt on them and I am not the best about cleaning them off. They were getting quite a build up, having turned white instead of black. Last week I went to put the helmet on, and the straps were wet. I thought maybe Debbie had washed them for me, but no, she hadn't. The salt on the straps had acted as a wick for all the moisture in the air! Isn't that gross? But, that's how humid it has been, around 90%. This poor northern boy is melting in the Indiana sun.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Quote for the day

"Keep in mind that the carnal state is not reserved exclusively for those in whom there is no good. A man may be a preacher, evangelist, or Sunday school teacher, yet God may say to that man 'Are ye not carnal?' (I Cor 3:3). Yet in the end, does his work not produce the same restuls as it would if he were spiritual? No! He may help another to the Christian life, but the Christian life he helps him to is so disordered that it is feeble and does not stand. The man whose inner life is under the rule of the Spirit, who is himself spiritual will lead others to a truly spiritual life; he will impart the life of God in power."—Andrew Murray

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Musings on the L - O - N - G tail

<idle musing>
I have been reading quite a bit lately about the "long tail" of marketing (see sidebar for books being read). Briefly, the long tail is the shrinking part of the sales graph where an item sells 1-5 units per year. This is in distinction from the head of the chart—the hits—where the quantity sold in in the hundreds of thousands. The term is relatively new and the phenomenon has attracted attention recently because of the Internet and the availability of search engines. To get a better idea, either read the book or go here or here.

If ever there was a business that was in the long tail, it is Eisenbrauns. We are definitely a niche market. After all, how many Assyriologists live on your block? OK, we do sell biblical studies, too; but only academic books on biblical studies, which is a niche market. Anytime you can look through a catalog from a major Christian publisher and only find 1-2 books (sometimes less) worth listing, you know you're niche!

This was driven home to me even more strongly in the last 6 weeks. We started doing a 2 question survey of customers on our website as they checked out. One of the questions is "Why Eisenbrauns?" While I would love to say that 50% of more answered "I always order from Eisenbrauns," that isn't the truth, only 8.46% did. Here is the actual breakdown:

8.46% Left Blank
8.46% I always order from Eisenbrauns
19.85% They have the best price on one or more of the books I'm ordering
2.21% They have cheap and fast shipping
25.00% They are the only place that sells one or more of the books I'm ordering
14.34% They are reliable and/or have good customer service
8.27% The books are on sale
13.42% Other

Obviously we need to do something about the shipping, which is why we are offering reduced/free shipping for July. Bear in mind that over a third of our customers are international, which isn't cheap to ship.

But, look at the number who say we are the only place that sells the book they need: 25%! If that isn't the long tail, nothing is. And, when you look at the detail on the "Other" category, a good number of those say we are the only place they could find the book(s), so the actual percentage is even higher.

How do we capitalize on this? Well, search engines help, as does word of mouth. So, if I could just get everyone to stop talking about that river in Brazil and start talking about the joys of buying from the ibex people...

That's your job, folks! Tell everyone why Eisenbrauns is the greatest thing to hit planet earth since sliced bread!

Oh, you say that's my job? Well, how do I do that? I have an idea, let's make a mug that only has cuneiform on it with a little Eisenbrauns tagline at the bottom. What do you think? Too niche even for our niche? I think I'll have a cup of tea while I consider it.
Enuma Elish cuneiform mug
</idle musing>

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Eisenbrauns hits the bigtime?

For the second year, Eisenbrauns is exhibiting at the largest Christian retail show, the International Christian Retail Show, formerly called Christian Booksellers Association. Seems like a strange venue for us, doesn't it? Well, we are there representing our good friends at Carta, Jerusalem. Here are a some pictures of the booth.
The booth, with a few of Carta's wall charts:

Leen Ritmeyer signing his newest book, The Quest. This book is so new we don't have it yet, Emanuel brought it directly from the press in Israel when he flew to Denver:

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A couple of "kid's" books

Ever notice how there is a shortage of good introductory books on the ancient Near East for kids? They seem to either be too elementary or else college level. Well, I have a new Oxford University Press sales rep and he mentioned that Oxford had some aimed at middle school to high school. I was skeptical, but told him to send me two different ones to look at.

I am skeptical no longer. The Pocket Timeline of Ancient Mesopotamia is really nice. The chart folds out to about 4 feet (they say 12 pages) and is full color with 32 pages of accompanying text. There is a whole series of them. Even though I have only seen this one, I assume they are all of the same high quality. Here are the others:

  • Pocket Timeline of Ancient Egypt

  • Pocket Timeline of Ancient Greece

  • Pocket Timeline of Ancient Rome

  • And, he sent me another one, The Ancient Near Eastern World, 176 pages long with full color pictures. There are three other ones in that series, also:

  • The Ancient Egyptian World

  • The Ancient Greek World

  • The Ancient Roman World

  • So, if you are looking for some good introductions for your kids/grandkids, these series seem to fit the bill very nicely.

    Monday, July 10, 2006

    International SBL meeting

    John got back on Saturday from the ISBL bringing pictures. (Jim went on to another conference in Germany). Here is the book table that Eisenbrauns had there:

    Friday, July 07, 2006

    Anybody notice?

    Last Monday (July 3) we started discounting all books published by Eisenbrauns by 10% if you bought them through our website. Did you notice?

    Just our way of saying thanks for buying from us. Kind of a thirty-first birthday present from us to you.

    The fountain of youth? part 2

    I promised an update on the Twinkie. Marti chose not to try it, but Andy, our webmaster, was a bit more adventurous. Here is what he reports (via e-mail):
    I felt adventurous. If Jim can try haggis for breakfast, I can try a geriatric Twinkie.

    The texture and taste reminds me strongly of flat, cold cornbread with butter frosting, and the filling has assumed a faint, tangy, chemical flavor. The cream filling flavor lingers for quite some time.

    I now feel a bit light-headed and a little unreal. It could be that I just need to go eat some real lunch.

    There's plenty of Twinkie left if anyone wishes to confirm my findings.

    No one did. Andy appears quite normal today, so the effects, if any, were limited.

    Any takers on next year's tasting test? :)

    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    Fountain of Youth discovered at Eisenbrauns?

    We have an interesting and creative group of people working here at Eisenbrauns. This was driven home to me today when all employees received the following e-mail:

    Intrigued by the urban legend that Twinkies have a shelf life of 30 or 40 years and presented with an opportunity to (partially) test the theory when Dave put Twinkies in the break room on sale for $.10 last summer, I began my own version of myth busters. Not wanting to let an opportunity like this pass me by I put $.50 in the money box and secured 5 Twinkies. The stack of Twinkies was then put into the back of a desk drawer with a post it reminding me of the year I put it in the drawer and the date to take it out and test it eatableness--if that is even a word.

    One year later and the first Twinkie is ready to be tested. All I can say is that it sure doesn't *feel* like a Twinkie anymore. I am not sure I want to taste it. Feel free to stop by desk if you want to see what [a] one year old Twinkie looks like.

    The last Twinkie in the myth buster experiment is scheduled to be opened July 6, 2010.

    <idle musing>
    And you thought we only published and sold books!

    I felt the thing, it certainly doesn't feel spongy. It still looks like a Twinkie, though:

    Not sure if I would try it. I'll let you know if we have a sudden sickness in customer service, or–worse yet–a strange metamorphosis of an employee into some different life-form.
    </idle musing>

    Zealotry part 2

    Scot McKnight hits hard again. I'll quote the summary to whet your appetite:

    Zealotry, however, is afraid of freedom. Freedom opens the windows, tosses up the doors, and lets the winds blow in and the people go outside.

    Zealotry, at its bottom layer, is the unwillingness (1) to trust God to work in others, (2) to trust others to listen to God, and (3) to trust ourselves to do what God wants. The ambiguity created by freedom is fearful to many, so they make fences and laws — and in so doing, they create a bounded society of zealots who convince themselves that, even though the Bible does not say something, what they are saying is really what the Bible wanted after all.

    <idle musing>
    How dare he? Actually, how dare he not! It is about time someone with a wide listening audience attack the sacred cows of christianity in the U.S. Too often we allow our cultural lenses to influence our christian conduct.
    </idle musing>

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    Zealotry at Jesus Creed

    Never one to shy away from controversy, Scot McKnight is taking on zealotry here. Definitely worth the read, as I'm sure the whole series will be.

    One paragraph, to give you a taste:
    Trotting alongsie this zeal is a friend named immunity: Zealots think their zeal makes them immune to criticism because they are so zealous for God; their zeal never to get close to breaking any commandment makes them better than others. In other words, zeal shows just how deeply committed a person is to God and therefore immune to criticism. What, they reason to themselves, is wrong with doing more than the Bible? Does not God recognize our zeal?

    Monday, July 03, 2006

    Biblical Studies Carnival VII

    Wow, I never thought it would happen, but I made it into the Biblical Studies Carnival. Check it out here. Look for this:

    Archaeology in Pictures
    Check out the pictures from the Tell es-Safi/Gath Excavations.
    Ancient pottery inscriptions found in Indiana (pictures).
    The Tel Gezer Blog is replete with action shots.

    Of course, he is referring to my picture of the broken mugs. But, hey, it got me listed :)

    New browser

    I have been experimenting with a new web browser for the last few weeks: Flock. It is beta and based on the Mozilla engine that powers Firefox.

    I was not unhappy with Firefox, but there are some very nice features in Flock. Even though it is beta, it is stable. I haven't managed to crash it yet :) Of course, there are rough edges, like the tabbed browsing extension doesn't work right. But, that is minor compared to two really sweet features:

  • RSS reader built-in
  • Just push Ctl-Shift-N and up pops a tab with all your RSS feeds plus a "Home Page" with the unread items

  • "Blog this" feature
  • Highlight something on a webpage, right click and select "Blog this".
    I use this, but edit the source HTML and then paste it into the blogger "create post" window. But, you can publish directly if you wish.

    There are other features that seem interesting, but are largely irrelevant to me. Definitely worth a look and download. After all, it's open source and free.

    July special at Eisenbrauns

    For July we are offering Carta titles on sale at 15-25% off. I haven't run a Carta sale since November 2004. You can chase the sale down here.

    But, to make the summer more interesting, we are offering an additional July incentive:
    Order 2 or more books via our website during the month of July and get free shipping within the continental United States, or half price shipping outside the continental United States. This offer includes used books, books on sale, as well as regular books.