What are my birthday plans for turning the big 3-0? Well, I'm too broke for a Vegas vacation, not big on surprise parties, and I couldn't convince my neighbor to let me rent out the WSU Koch arena for 5 on 5 basketball, pizza and Caddyshack on the big screen. Instead I'm looking forward to doing a bit of work, putting aside some time for writing in the afternoon, and spending the evening with Tarah at a new restaurant in town, where I'm sure I'll be craving the Surf N' Turf and a chocolate dessert of some sort. After that, I'll go over to Banana Republic to pick out a new sweater to add to the collection (I am the Mr. Rogers of sweaters) and cap the night off with a rousing excursion to Barnes and Noble for coffee and reading. I know what you're thinking- what a wild and crazy guy!
|The Young Baller in Training|
Although I do not have it all figured out yet, and probably never will, I am excited about the direction in which my life is headed. While I am sometimes afloat in a sea of spiritual limbo, I am blessed to have experienced God's grace and power in my life, and look forward to continuing on the path He has set out for me. If the first 29 years of my life was a period of receiving, and many times abusing, the gifts He has given me, my wish is that this decade is the beginning of a period of GIVING. I am on a little bit of a giving kick/cloud right now, mostly in part to devouring Seth Godin's Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? over the course of the last few nights.
The book talks about being an artist in your work (regardless of what it is that you do for a living) and the idea of giving gifts, whether they be superior hand-crafted products or genuine customer-centered service. I prefer this perspective of looking at my business and my writing, and have been brainstorming and getting inspired as to how I can give more of myself and my gifts to the people I love, the friends I want to entertain and the customers I serve. Thank you to all of you who have supported my book business and my blog through the years. I hope to continue serving each of you for many years to come.
I know this all sounds a bit canned, but I want you to know how genuine the feeling is, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to demonstrate that on a personal level. Sure babe, you can have a backrub...tomorrow (tonight is my turn haha). Sure fellow booksellers, I'd be happy to talk shop and share a few trade secrets that might help your business grow. Sure neighbors, I'll be glad to hook you up with some free kids books for the family library. Sure friends, we'd be glad to have you over for dinner (I know, we've been super busy the past few months and have lost touch with way too many of you). All you have to do is ask... Scratch that, you shouldn't even have to ask, I need to give anyways.
P.S. This doesn't mean I plan on being a doormat, it just means that I want to open myself up to the spirit of giving. Let's call it an experiment for now. Focusing on myself is so much easier, so here's to making a concentrated and conscious effort to becoming less selfish and using more of my gifts to benefit others.
Now, in the spirit of gift giving, I'd like to share with all of you some of my favorite ideas for giving to the Bibliophile in your life this Holiday season. Don't get me wrong, my rant above wasn't really just about giving in the sense which our consumer-oriented culture understand and promotes it, but it is the Holiday season, and some of us, myself included, still have some last minute shopping to do! It's not a secret that my favorite website for online shopping is Amazon, and I have included links to the products I've mentioned here for your convenience. Have no fear, most of these will arrive in plenty of time for Christmas if ordered soon, and will arrive in one or two business days with free shipping for members of Amazon Prime. I have also included several other "indispensable" and even one "indiespensable" gift for book sellers from other websites. And who can forget the old-fashioned hand picked gift of a real and tangible book purchased at your local independent bookseller (http://www.watermarkbooks.com/ for those of you in the Wichita area).
#1 The Amazon Gift Card- Although it may seem impersonal, it is also a no-brainer. In this day and age, you can't go wrong with $50 of store credit at Amazon, where the recipient can choose from just about anything they desire. Do one better and search for their Public Wishlist here,: (http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/search.html?ie=UTF8&type=wishlist)
#2 Twelve South BookBook for IPad or MacBook- Ok, so I don't own either a MacBook or an IPad, but if I did, I would surely want one of these to put it in. A computer case that looks like an antiquarian book. Yes Aaron, I have a case of Apple envy right about now.
3. Billy Baldwin Decorating Books- Here's an excerpt from the out-of-print and longtime cult-classic Billy Baldwin Decorates. (Holt, Rinehart & Winston Publishers, 1973, p. 177) "The best decoration in the world is a roomful of books. When I was young, I sued to find great pleasure in imagining myself sitting at the head of a great big double bed in the middle of a huge room, completely surrounded by books. Books are my constant companions and best friends. If I suddenly came into a lot of money, I think I would spend it on travel and books- books I've had my eye on but have considered extra luxurious, books to give as presents to my friends, and for my own old favorite books that are dog-eared and worn, brand-new bindings."
#4 BookThink's Premium Author Reports and Guide for Online Booksellers- I highly recommend these, and any other informational products from author Craig Stark, as a gift for the online bookseller in your life. Craig has compiled information that many of us have taken years of trial and error in the field to learn and included it in a variety of well-written manuals for the online bookseller. At one point, I thought I knew everything there was to know about online bookselling, but I continue to learn on a daily basis. You can shop for BookThink products here: http://www.bookthink.com/shoplst.htm#bgtob
#5 Firsts: The Book Collectors Magazine- I do a happy dance at the mailbox every time a new issue arrives. http://www.firsts.com/
#6 A LowestCostBooks.com Gift Card- For the collector who is looking for something unique and out of the ordinary. Feel free to Browse by Category or view my Featured Books here: http://www.lowestcostbooks.com/?page=shop/cname&cname=Featured+Books
#7 A Membership to Powell's Indiespensable Book Club: Hand-picked selections from the Powell's staff with free goodies included each month. http://www.powells.com/indiespensable/
#8 A Book from the Library of Author Anne Rice: No, I'm not kidding. You can purchase them through Powell's: http://www.powells.com/section/from-the-library-of-anne-rice/
I have already purchased several myself, including an annotated copy of her Bible and her personal copy of The Five People You Meet in Heaven, which I thought was kind of an interesting find.
#9 Conceal Bookshelf- I actually have 3 of these around my house, and yes, it does look like the books are floating in thin air. Easy to install.
#10 ABC for Book Collectors- A true and eternal classic in the field of book collecting and selling.
I hope this helps some of you last minute shoppers with gift ideas. Happy Holidays! Feel free to share in the comments section the best present you ever received. Besides an 88' Topps entire Wax Pack Box of Baseball Cards, I think it would probably have to be my first Nintendo. I know, not very bookish of me.