Sunday, April 30, 2017

May the Fourth Be with You

Greetings and salutations! Here's the newest information from Harbor House:

Please note that we are currently closed for drop-in times and are meeting clients ONLY by appointment only through May 12.

STAR WARS and literary geeks, come on by on May the 4th, 6-8 p.m. We'll be reading a tad from William Shakespeare's STAR WARS: Verily, a New Hope by Portland Oregon's Ian Doescher. (It really is quite amusing.) Wear your fan wear if you like. We'll have snacks.

Beginning May 15, we'll be back to our regular winter/spring daily operating hours of 9 a.m. until noon. That's Monday through Friday; we're closed weekends. There will be no workshops in May.

Monday, May 15th is our monthly (third Monday of the month) WRITERS' FELLOWSHIP meeting. We begin at 6 p.m. and finish at 8 p.m. All writers are welcome. This is NOT a critique group, but we do share our work and talk about the craft.

We will be closed Monday, May 29 for Memorial Day.

SUMMER HOURS: begin Tuesday, May 30 and run through Thursday, August 31. Hours TBA; open Monday through Thursday; closed Friday through Sunday except for announced workshops (which we are currently working on for June). It's always best to follow our Facebook page for up-to-date information and last minute closures.

And finally, we hope to have our new bookstore (Harbor BOOKS & Gifts) open by August 1, but cannot promise a date at this time. Keep yer eyes peeled for details.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Party at a Bookstore Near You

Independent Bookstore Day is this Saturday, April 29th. Please remember to visit the local bookstore nearest you and buy some books! Better yet, buy a book from an indie author!

Many bookstores will have refreshments and be giving away swag, too. So it's a good time to hang out with other readers and browse and, well, buy a book.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Let's Talk Story with a Little Fish

Photo source: Talk Story website.
So, my wife Ruth and I recently had the privilege to visit Talk Story, the western-most bookstore in the United States. It was a privilege for a number of reasons. The first being that very distinction, the second being that it is on the island of Kaua'i, Hawai'i (nice). But there are other reasons as well.

It was also a sincere pleasure to meet co-owner Cynthia Justus, and speak with her about books, bookstores and the book business. She was knowledgable and friendly and so willing to share, transparently, her passionate feelings about business, bookselling, indie publishing, and customer service. She can be frank, even bawdy at times, but you know she's shooting straight from the hip.

Photo source: Talk Story website.
When we told her that we were interested in opening a bookstore ourselves (coming to Harbor House this fall)  she was so forthright and helpful, it was like getting a college course in "how to run a bookstore" in thirty minutes. Justus not only shared with us then and there, but said she is happy to help with advice in the future.

The successful (eleven years running) multiple award-winning bookstore, tucked into charming Old Town Hanapepe, Kaua'i isn't very pretty on the outside (the building is more than70 years old), but inside it is a sparkling treasure trove of new, used and rare books, plus much more. The selection of more than 100,000 books was great and the store was well organized. They move about 3,000 books a month!

And Celeste, the cat, was friendly, too. (I do wish I'd have met Cynthia's husband Ed, from this video he seems like he's got a great sense of humor.) Video source: YouTube.

Photo source: Talk Story website.
Justus was quite candid (blunt even) about indie authors (even though she knew I was one of them). She said that most of the indie titles that local authors bring into the store don't sell. "I can't give them away," she said, "they are so bad." She showed us the stack; they screamed amature indie all over. The covers were awful, the writing generally dull and poorly edited, sometimes the formatting inside was off as well. She said no one ever asks a bookstore owner how to put a cover together that will sell. She wasn't being mean, she wanted to sell indie books and willingly carries them.

One piece of advice she offered was don't sell coffee and books in the same shop (and gave several practical reasons why it wasn't good business). Well, I love coffee and books so...

Little Fish Coffee, Hanapepe, Kaua'i, Hawai'i
photo by Gregory E. Zschomler
It should be noted that just down the street is Little Fish Coffee, one of the best coffee shops in the U.S. (and you know I've visited quite a few from the Big Apple to the Big Easy and all along the western coffee coast, so I'm really saying something here).

The quaint and quirky shop serves 100% Hawaiian-grown coffee and it's delish. [Note: We also got to visit Kaua'i Coffee Co.'s plantation and visitor's center, but that's another fascinating story.] Little Fish also serves a nice selection of food items including bagels with NYC-style schmears (flavored cream cheese spreads)--which is something you can't get just anywhere.

Cynthia and Ed Justus, photo source:
Anyway, it's a great place to savor a cup while enjoying the book you just bought from Talk Story. These two wonderful businesses (not to mention the warm weather, delightful beaches and breathtaking vistas) are just a few of the great reasons to visit the Garden Isle of Kaua'i.