Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lied about any good books lately?

Nearly half of all men and one-third of women have lied about what they have read to try to impress friends or potential partners, a British survey suggests.

Men were most likely to do this to appear intellectual or romantic.

About four in 10 of the 1,500 people surveyed said they had lied about what they had read to impress friends or potential partners - 46% of men and 33% of women.

Among teenagers, the figure rose to 74%.

74%! The old saying was "never trust anyone over thirty." But when it comes to reading, "never trust anyone under 20" is closer to the mark.

All this lying must mean, in England at least, people still think that reading is important. After all, you don't lie about something you don't care about.

Well, its back to the final volume of "Remembrance of Things Past" for me. Only 20 pages to go before I'm finished. What an amazing novel! (As I'm sure you'll agree..).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A quote whose time has come (back)?

"Wear the old coat and buy the new book."
--Austin Phelps, 1820-1890, a Congregational minister and educator from New England.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Subtitle this story the Subtitles You Regret.

Using the example of A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win by Shelby Steele, which was published by the Free Press late last year, the New York Times notes that "many an author has come to incorrect conclusions, but only a few have had the courage to make a prediction in a title that could be directly contradicted."

Steele told the Times, "My feeling is that I stand by every word of the analysis--what is between the covers of the book." He chose the subtitle, he said, when Obama was trailing Hillary Clinton in the polls.

The subtitle will change when the book appears in paperback.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Regulator gets crafty (and foodie!) with our LOCAL CRAFTS AND FOODS WEEKENDS

Every weekend from November 22 until Christmas local craftspeople and artisan food makers will be exhibiting and selling their wares in our old cafe space downstairs. We're hoping we can support our local craft and food makers, while making it all the easier for our customers to Shop Local First! this holiday season. Of course we won't object if people want to buy a book along with their chocolate, cheese, pottery, or jewelry...

Here's the schedule of the folks that will be in the bookshop during these special weekends.

NOON - 5:00 P.M.

-Dolly Mama Handmade Chocolates
-Jewelry by Hendey Designs
-Molloy Rogers, Bull City Fiber Loft
(with spinning demonstration)
-Dolly Mama Handmade Chocolates
-Jewelry by Hendey Designs
-Kat Benz

-Chapel Hill Creamery
-Jewelry by Kate Loughlin
-Molloy Rogers, Bull City Fiber Loft
(with spinning demonstration)
-George Danser
(fused glass art sculptures, bowls, jewelry)
-Molloy Rogers, Bull City Fiber Loft (with spinning demonstration)
-Jewelry by Kate Loughlin

-Chapel Hill Creamery
-Julie Olson, White Oak Pottery
-Karen Casey Fused Glass Designs
-George Danser
(fused glass art sculptures, bowls, jewelry)
-Julie Olson, White Oak Pottery
-Karen Casey Fused Glass Designs

-Chapel Hill Creamery
-Ninth St. Bakery
-Artisan Cupcakes
-Dolly Mama Handmade Chocolates
-George Danser
(fused glass sculpture, bowls, jewelry)
-Ninth St. Bakery

-Dolly Mama Handmade Chocolates
-Julie Olson, White Oak Pottery
-Cecilia Henaine de Davis, Beadazzled
(beaded jewelry)
-Dolly Mama Handmade Chocolates
-Julie Olson, White Oak Pottery
-Cecilia Henaine de Davis, Beadazzled
(beaded jewelry)

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Ten Percent Solution

We've sent this out in an email, and we started handing it out in the store on Saturday. After mulling it over for a couple of days, the stock market responded today with its biggest one day rise ever. Who know we had so much power?

Now is the time for all good men, women, children, dogs and cats to come to the aid of their local economy!

These are the times that try men's (women's, children's etc) souls. And pocketbooks.

But we say it is a time for change! Change--that will create 800 new jobs in Durham! Change--that will add more than $20 million a year in wages and contribute more than $60 million a year in total, positive economic impact for Durham County! Change--that will improve our whole community!

No, we're not mixing up business and fantasy, like those folks up on Wall Street have been doing. We're talking about a simple plan for a better local economy. We call it:

The Ten Percent Solution
If there was just a 10% shift from shopping at chain and on-line stores to shopping at locally owned, independent businesses, Durham would get those 800 new jobs and tens of millions of dollars in increased economic activity.*


Because a lot more of the money you spend at a locally owned business stays (and re-circulates) in the local community.
Take The Regulator for example. All of our employees live here. Our back office is in the back of the store, not in New York or New Delhi. We buy almost all of our supplies locally. Most of the taxes we pay stay in Durham and North Carolina. We bank locally. And we don't send dividend checks or inflated CEO salaries off to another state, where they're likely to end up invested in risky "new financial instruments" (a.k.a. play money).

Now, more than ever, where you shop makes a difference. Strike a blow for independence! Support locally owned, independent businesses! You'll be supporting our local economy as well as our local culture and our whole sense of community.

Remember the Ten Percent Solution:
Keep Your Dough in Durham!

a not so modest proposal from The Regulator Bookshop

*(The figures quoted here come from a study done earlier this year for the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan by an economic consultant called Civic Economics. The results of that study have been adjusted to reflect Durham's lower population and average income. See for more).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Supporting Local Business: Give a Listen!

Last spring I was interviewed by a smart young teenager named Martin Krzywy about the joys, thrills, trials and tribulations of running an independent bookstore. Martin aired the interview on the Youth Noise Network (broadcast on WXDU, 88.7). The interview is now available on the web at You can find it by scrolling down a little way on the site to “Supporting Local Business by Martin Krzywy.”
It doesn’t last long....

Tom Campbell

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Beyond the usual suspects

It was about 8:30 on a recent Wednesday night. The woman in the store was on the young end of middle age. She said she used to live in Durham, had moved to D.C. But she still made a point of coming into The Regulator every time she was in town. She especially loved getting book recommendations from us. We always directed her to such good reading.

So Dave Felton, Elliot and I were on the spot. We picked up Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Lee Smith's On Agate Hill, and Haven Kimmel's The Used World. The woman listened to our spiels with interest, but then, one at a time, she put each of the books back on the shelves. These all sound quite good, she said, but I would probably come across them at a number of other bookstores. I'm looking for some books that I'm only going to find out about at The Regulator.

Well. All right. A reader with a sense of adventure! She walked out of the store with Zeroville by Steve Erickson, The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall, and The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill. Thinking later about other "well below the radar" titles I could have recommended, I came up with Jon McGregor's If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things and John Crowley's underground masterpiece, Little, Big.

Looking for adventure? Pick up any of these titles, or ask a Regulator for a recommendation. This kind of thing is fun!


Friday, August 1, 2008

Destroying Books?

If you like reading books, you might also enjoy recycled book art. Check out these cool cutouts by Jennifer Khoshbin.

Monday, June 30, 2008

"Great bookshops are..."

"Great bookshops are the heart of every literary culture, the chambers where life-giving material is exchanged and where writers and readers deposit and find their secrets. . . . The greatest bookshops set up a trade in books and passions, in the interplay of inquiring minds and the search for values. And so, the best bookshops in the world become centres of a way of life . . . because there is so little else around now that is like them. Independence is their creed but also their character: they seek to know what they are selling and to sell it with feeling."--Andrew O'Hagan describing "the perfect bookshop" in Britain's Guardian newspaper.

(This was emailed to us by a customer, who was kind enough to say that she "immediately thought of Durham's own great bookshop when I read it and wanted to pass it on.").

Friday, June 27, 2008

Is J.K. Rowling better than Milton, Shakespeare, William Gibson...?

Has J.K. Rowling lost her perspective on her Harry Potter creation? In a lawsuit heard in April (but yet to be decided at this writing) J.K. sued the author of a "Harry Potter Lexicon" for copyright infringement. The lexicon was to be a guide to the words peculiar to the Harry Potter books--words like Quidditch and Hogwarts. Lots of people took a dim view of Ms Rowling's lawsuit, including this most literary criticism from the Times of London, in an editorial entitled "J.K. Rowling may own Harry's world, but we own her words now."

"A generation has now grown up besotted (©Milton) with Quidditch and Hogwarts. However, it is not astonishing that J.K. Rowling is using a court case to remind the writers of a zany (©Shakespeare) Harry Potter lexicon, now making the jump from cyberspace (©William Gibson) to print, that it is not common property and she did invent it all. She may succeed in persuading the court that her copyright is violated by some parts of the proposed encyclopedia. Indeed, she may have a respectable commercial case, but not much of a cultural one. However, unless she employs a mole (©le CarrĂ©) to oversee our every conversation and written exchange, she should not try to suppress a collection of her invented words. For Voldemort, Muggles, Horcruxes and all Rowling's other serendipitous (©Walpole) coinages are ours now; it would be pig-headed (©Jonson) not to let us use them as we wish.

"English is so full of the neologisms of authors that if we had to credit each one, we would assassinate (©Shakespeare) our prose, and make readers chortle (©Carroll) mightily. Without being didactic (©Milton), Rowling can be assured that she is in good company in contributing words, gratis, to the language. The best she should hope for is that her words become as widely adopted as those of other authors. Perhaps the highest honour has been bestowed on the quark (©Joyce), used as the name for a sub-atomic particle. As there are quarks across the Universe, Joyce may be our most disseminated author. Rowling should be proud if Doxies, Thestrals or Butterbeer make it as far as a lexicon."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Playing defense for the First Amendment

These are not good times for those of us who support the first amendment. In the world of literature, a new low may have been reached in November 2006, the 50th anniversary of the publication of Alan Ginsberg's Howl. Howl, of course, was the subject of a famous 1950's court case that sought--and failed--to bar its distribution on the grounds of indecency. But fifty years later, WBAI, the long-time progressive New York public radio station, had to call off their plans to air an anniversary reading of Ginsberg's amazing poem. WBAI was afraid of incurring a financially devastating fine from the FCC for putting indecent material on the air. It's back to the future--in all the wrong ways.

And the puritans remain on the attack. The American Booksellers Foundation for Freedom of Expression (ABFFE) has alerted us to a couple of especially disturbing new laws. In Oregon, a new statute makes it a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail to allow a minor under 13 to view or purchase a “sexually explicit” work. The law does not include a requirement that a book or magazine be judged as a whole in determining whether it is illegal; such a test may exempt works that contain only a few sexually explicit images or passages. In addition, there is no exemption for material that has serious literary artistic, political or scientific value for minors.

And a new Indiana law requires any store that sells even a single "sexually explicit" book, magazine, video or recording to register with the state and pay a $250 license fee. "Sexually explicit" is defined so broadly that the law could apply to bookstores that sell mainstream novels and other artistic works with sexual content as well as educational books about sexuality and sexual health.

ABFEE has joined groups including publishers, individual bookstores in each state, and the ACLU in filing suits opposing these laws.

The Regulator is proud to be a "dues paying, card-carrying" member of ABFEE (the back of the card says "In case of First Amendment Emergency call" and gives two phone numbers), and money you spend here helps to fund our ABFEE contribution. For more information see

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Not Our First Time...

You never know what you'll find when you google yourself. In order to see if this new blog of ours here at blogger would pop up on a google search I dutifully googled Regulator Bookshop. Strangely enough (probably not strange to those in the know re. how search engines work, but seemingly strange to one such as I who is way in the dark re. such complexities of modern life) this blog did not come up on the first two or three pages of hits. (Does anybody ever go beyond the 2nd or 3rd page of a search engine search?) But what did come up was an old blog of ours, which you can view here. I haven't had the chance to ask around amongst the staff to see who did that blog, but hopefully whoever did those posts back in September 2003 will be willing to write some over here at the new blog. We're still getting this going and so far I'm the only staff member blogging, but as time passes I know others will take turns putting their two cents in.
Looking at the old blog made me realize that I hadn't personally identified myself as the composer of our two previous posts. I'm most familiar with blogs that have one author, but here we will have multiple authors so we should each identify ourselves as we post. So, enough with the anonymity thing, my name is David Felton. I've been working at the shop since 1998. This year is my tenth here at The Regulator; how time flies when you're having fun. This week has been relatively quiet around here. We had Sarah Murray, author of MOVEABLE FEASTS, here last night, so if any of you missed her appearance and want to pick up a signed copy of her book just stop by and ask for one.
One of my favorite authors who calls Durham home, Haven Kimmel, stopped by the store last week and gave me an advance reader edition (AR for short in book biz lingo) of her forthcoming novel IODINE. Due out in August of this year IODINE is from the Simon & Schuster imprint Free Press. For a preview of the book check out what the Simon & Schuster website has to say here. Also new from Haven, and on shelves now, is her second book aimed at younger audiences (but well worth the time of all ages), KALINE KLATTERMASTER'S TREE HOUSE. For more on this title, also from Simon & Schuster, see here.
I'll wrap up this post now with a word of encouragement to any who read this to feel free to leave comments regarding what sorts of things you might want us to post about in the future, or anything else you have on your mind. Now is your chance to pick the brains of your friendly local booksellers. Thanks for stopping by, y'all come again.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Opened the doors in 1976. Beginning to blog in 2008.

Welcome to our brand new web log. We here at The Regulator Bookshop are starting this blog to give folks some more insight into the goings on here at the store.