Tag Archives: classics

Video Contest and a Reward for People who Support Independent Authors

VIDEO CONTEST

Please help judge these videos!

Eight creative geniuses created videos about Classics Books. They are competing for prizes. Please check them out at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQEC6b-tb4KIB6VEXeSbCkw under the CONTEST playlist and “like” the ones you like. The video with the most likes (on the Classics channel) wins prizes!

INDEPENDENT AUTHORS

Help Classics support local authors!  Buy 4 books by Classics authors from Classics in 2017 and get a $20 gift certificate for used and rare books at Classics!  Reply to this email for a complete list.

Capital City Book Fair

Join us May 1 and 2nd for the Capital City Book Fair!

Features include

Book Market with 50+ authors, publishers and bookstores running along the street from Classics Books to Mill Hill Park. Chris Hedges on The Wages of Rebellion. Jenna Pizzi on her Pork Roll Cookbook. A screening of Standing on my Sister’s Shoulders about the Mississippi civil rights movement. Guerrilla haiku. Kimmie Carlos. Clifford Zink on the Roebling Legacy. Poetry slam. Scrabble. A film festival under the stars. Books and Barbeque. Writing workshop. Papermaking. Open Mic. Book repurposing. Step teams. A literary bike tour.

For times and specifics, visit the Book Fair web page at  https://www.facebook.com/events/805364449517346/?feed_story_type=17&pnref=story


Bookstore People: From the Night Kitchen

Bruce Bentzmann is a man of letters, in several sense of the word. His dream is to own a used bookstore where he doesn’t have to worry about the rent. He writes poetry, short stories and hand written letters to a number of friends. He writes essays for SnakeSkin Poetry which he has collected into a book called Selected Suburban Soliloquies (available at Classics).

Contrary to Classics orthodoxy, and the hard-charging bingoing of his wife Barbara Keogh, Bruce cannot stand playing Scrabble. His argument is that Scrabble is a game that disrespects words. He is bothered that a real working vocabulary isn’t as important as memorizing the list of words that are so esoteric that they are almost only used in on the Scrabble board—“qat,” “za,” “ourie.”

When you visit Classics you will find Bruce behind the counter, talking about anything that crosses his mind–from the latest book he is reading to fountain pens to fortune cookies.

 

Bruce Bentzmann


Life in a Bookstore–December 2014

Leah Alabrè found a $20 bill inside a $6 Charles Dickens book at Classics Books last Saturday, making it undoubtedly the best value for your money. My theory? Some book-loving Willie Wonka is planting $20 golden tickets in various books at Classics for you to find.

Poet and activist Caitlin Fair is spearheading Books and Breakfast at Classics once a month, where free food and books are provided for all community members who would like to feed their mind and their stomach!

Barbara Keogh won the shortest game of Scrabble ever played at Classics. She played one word, for 100 points, and everybody else quit the game. The word? “quitted”


Print Books vs. EBooks–the Result

Three years ago, in 2011, I wrote a blog post about how independent bookstores were not going to be crushed by the eBook. Here’s the blog for proof. http://www.classicsusedbooks.com/?p=474

In the three years that passed, sales at independent bookstores (selling real physical books) grew about 8 percent a year for three years running while eBook sales have leveled off at about 33% off the market (outsold by both hard covers and paperbacks).

In that blog, I reasoned that cries of disaster were just Chicken Little alarms and listed the sorts of book lovers that would never leave real books for eBooks. Here’s that link again in case you forgot to check it out when I gave it to you in the first paragraph. http://www.classicsusedbooks.com/?p=474

In addition to the reasons I gave three years ago, here’s another reason eBooks have leveled off in their appeal. While they have some great things going for them (it’s easier to carry 150 books in digital format, for example), EBooks have turned out to be not as cheap as promised. First you aren’t going to buy a best seller for 99 cents. Second, the cost of the machine (and its upgrades) has to be factored into the cost. If you only read a handful of books a year, real books (especially used books) are far cheaper. If you read lots of books, you are more likely to fall into the categories of people who love physical books, like to browse books and like to belong to a community of readers—all people who love their real books.

Here’s some other people’s thoughts on the subject:

Print Books vs. E Books

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/06/ebooks-print-books-outsold_n_5940654.html

Independent stores vs. Amazon

http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_edgy_optimist/2014/09/independent_bookstores_rising_they_can_t_compete_with_amazon_and_don_t_have.html

readin-in

readin-in


Neighborhood News: August 2014

Jaymin Barot, the new General Manager, has taken over at the Wyndham Hotel (1 West Lafayette). Drop in and wish him well!

Olugbala Sababu at the Big Easy (120 South Warren) began sidewalk service at lunch and dinner. He must be doing something right as lines are up the block at lunch.

Classics Books (4 West Lafayette)  has had a little facelift in the Young Reader’s section.

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The Cat in the Hat in the Box in the Bookstore

When I first opened the bookstore, I was adamant that it was going to be a store for readers, not collectors. I was not going to sell first editions; I was going to sell books for people who liked to read, I was a man of the people not a curator, blah blah blah. Then somebody brought in a first edition of War of the Worlds and, feeling that piece of history in my hands, it took me about 30 seconds to throw out my rule and carry some collectable books.

One busy Saturday, I had a line at the register and a woman came in with a box of books to donate to the store. I invited her to wait a moment and I would let her know how much credit I could give her, but she said not to worry about it—she had just tried to sell these books at a garage sale and she just wanted to get rid of them. On the side of the box read “Old Kids Books $1 Each.”

About a week later, one of the New Hope floods came and I had to pack up every book in the story. Martines (a restaurant across the street) let me pile up books on her tables (I would eat at a restaurant like that!), friends and customers loaded up their vans and cars and we emptied the store.

We already had a second store in Trenton, and we decided to close up the New Hope store and deliver all the books to Trenton. We still hadn’t opened that box of kids’ books.

It took us months to settle in to the Trenton store, unpacking, sorting and shelving all the books from New Hope. It was maybe six months later I opened the box of books.

It included a first edition early Maurice Sendak A Hole is the Dig ($150) and a first edition Tasha Tudor ($800). But the mind blowing book was a first edition (200/200 on the price tab of the flap) of The Cat in the Hat. It was in perfect condition, no single mark or scuff, no price clip. It looked unread. List price? $7,000. (We eventually sold it wholesale to another bookstore for about $2,000).

What an amazing collection of books, which had sat unwanted in a box at a garage sale for $1.

There is something essentially human about used books.  Life may leave us a little battered and worn, but we still have the capacity to inspire, to teach, to entertain, to love and be loved.

And no matter how unwanted we may feel at times, how neglected and overlooked, all it takes is the right person to open our covers and recognize us for the treasure we are.

Seuss-cat-hat[1]


Downtown News

The hotel across the street from the bookstore has its grand opening this week as a Wyndham! If you haven’t been inside the lobby it is very nice. Come down on a Friday night and take a look when you swing by the store.

Classics has begun to sell classic used games (Scrabble, Pictionary, Cranium, Mastermind, Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly, Outburst, Jenga). Come spice up family game night without spending $60 a game.

Photo: Who would you share this table with? Comment below and tell us! #Trenton


Fast Times and Good Finds

A guy comes into the bookstore and asks, “Do you have a paperback copy of Fast Times at Ridgemont High?”  I can’t remember ever having seen it, but we root around for a bit but can’t find it.

I thought that was weird since that movie came out 30 years ago, but whatever.

Two hours later, another guy comes in and asks for a Fast Times at Ridgemont High. And then another guy. And the next day a woman. I thought, “This is what going crazy feels like.”

The mystery was solved when we found turns out some Antiques Roadshow program mentioned that the paperback Fast Times at Ridgemont High was worth maybe $200 and bookstores often price is at $1 because it’s only a movie-tie in paperback.

You never know which book in the stacks has the golden ticket. Bookstores can’t be experts in every genre, so there’s always something that they missed.

I had a customer who grabbed a hardback Elizabeth Bowen off my shelves for $6 that turned out to be a first edition worth hundreds. After she bought the book, she gloated a bit—she knew what she had and that I had missed it.

The Bowen collector became a regular customer and a good friend. I like to think it was just the bookstore’s great selection of books and community involvement. But, at least part of it was the chance that she would find another overlooked first edition.

Fast Times


Classics in the Trenton Times

Guest opinion column about the great things in downtown Trenton in the Trenton Times–including some nice thigns to say about Classics Books, by John P. Thurber

The Times’ editorial “A love of Trenton” (Feb. 23) invites readers to add their suggestions to the list of favorite things about our capital city. Ingrid Reed initiated this list with her guest opinion article “A valentine to the city of Trenton” (Feb. 14) by focusing on the city’s historic attractions, beautiful parks, graceful architecture and important nonprofits. Eliot and Patti Daley added several community organizations in their Feb. 18 letter to the editor.

It’s great that The Times has provided this opportunity to focus on the positive aspects of Trenton. The wonderful list that’s been generated is compelling but omits an important category: Trenton’s small businesses. Trenton continues to be home to many entrepreneurs and business owners who share the creativity, persistence and resilience that enable others in the capital city to be successful.

Many of these remarkable businesses are located in downtown Trenton, easily accessible to residents and those visiting from the suburbs. There are far too many favorites to mention, but a small sampling will suggest the range and distinctive qualities of these businesses. Few of them get the attention they deserve.

For example, one of the region’s best restaurants can be found in Trenton’s downtown. Settimo Cielo on Front Street is a gem of an Italian restaurant conveniently located across from a public parking garage. The manager, Henry Mendez, and his staff provide great service and the food is consistently outstanding.

Around the corner on Warren Street is the State Barber Shop, where Joe Festa has been cutting hair for 45 years. Joe is known as the honorary mayor of Warren Street and cares deeply about the city. He is not only a great barber but one of the most positive people you’ll ever meet. You’ll walk out of his shop in a better mood than when you walked in, and you’ll look better, too.

Warren Street hosts several restaurants that are local favorites, including Checkers, Hummingbird, Downtown Deli and Café Olé. Checkers owner Tom Fowler presides over his restaurant’s grill and ensures that every burger meets his high standards. Hummingbird offers authentic Jamaican food for either eat-in or take-out. Downtown Deli makes a great sandwich and offers delicious soup for a reasonable price. Café Olé is perhaps the best coffee house in Trenton and owner Kit Rivenburg serves a tasty breakfast and lunch as well.

Nearby on Lafayette Street is Classics Used and Rare Books, where owner Eric Maywar works on projects ranging from the distribution of free books to Trenton families, weekly Scrabble tournaments, author events and open mic nights. Eric loves books but is equally committed to strengthening Trenton’s social capital through his business. And he is making a real impact.

Trenton Kebab House on East State Street near City Hall is another favorite restaurant. Offering Middle Eastern, Turkish and Indian foods, this restaurant is a welcome alternative for lunch or dinner.

A short ride down Broad Street leads you to Trenton Social, a hip restaurant, bar and lounge located across the street from the Sun National Bank Center. The building was renovated by owner Roland Pott and his partners, who shared a vision that music, the arts and entertainment could be a catalyst for the revitalization for Trenton. Today, under the management of T.C. Nelson, Trenton Social attracts a diverse crowd of artists, musicians and young professionals. You won’t find anything like it outside of Trenton.

If you’re wondering where some of the best Italian restaurants in the area get their ingredients, you can find them at Porfirio’s, which is still located on Anderson Street in Chambersburg. In the 1950s, the Porfirios were pasta makers, specializing in ravioli and gnocchi.

Today, their wholesale and retail business provides a wide range of food products for more than 100 restaurants. Their fresh pasta (including at least 10 kinds of ravioli), sausage and marinara are incredible, and you won’t find better meatballs anywhere.

The home of Italian Peoples Bakery is located nearby on Butler Street in Chambersburg. Italian Peoples Bakery serves more than 450 supermarkets, restaurants and other outlets with their products. This business dates to 1936, when Pasquale Gervasio first started baking bread; his family continues the business. It’s well worth a visit to the birthplace of this renowned bakery and deli.

These and so many other small and independent businesses in Trenton provide great reasons to love our capital city.

Those mentioned here are just an arbitrary few. So many other small businesses throughout Trenton offer equally compelling reasons to seek them out.

Trenton’s small businesses provide jobs for many residents while serving the needs of the broader community. One of the best valentines we can give Trenton is to find more ways to patronize and support these small businesses. Go enjoy your own favorites and discover new ones.

John P. Thurber is vice president for public affairs at Thomas Edison State College, a board member of the Trenton Downtown Association and board chairman of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce.

http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/03/opinion_celebrating_trentons_small_businesses_that_make_the_capital_city_great.html?utm_source=TimesofTrenton&utm_medium=twitter


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