September 11, 2006

New England Mobile Book Fair

Filed under: Business, Newton, Software Blog — marcstober @ 4:04 pm

We finally stopped into New England Mobile Book fair this past weekend. (Perhaps motivated by a comment I made about independent bookstores recently on another blog). I can’t believe I’ve never been in there before! (Admittedly, we just moved to the neighborhood.) It’s a typical old Boston sort of place: one part erudite, one part improvised, making you feel like you’re in college regardless of your age. Just stacks and stacks of unfinished wood shelves in which some sense of order had evolved, but not from any sort of master plan-o-gram.

I bought Jeff Nathan’s Family Suppers cookbook. I’m especially excited to try his recipe for cooking kielbasa and sauerkraut; hopefully it will be a good kosher way to keep alive the Polish-Catholic part of my heritage. I was also looking for Beyond Fear by Bruce Schneier, but couldn’t find it—they have a lot of books but not necessarily easy to find just one.

(You know what? I’m not going to link the above titles to pages or anywhere else. I gave you the author and title. That used to be enough—you can look it up yourself! Maybe even at the library.)

Anyways I wonder if these independent bookstores are doing themselves in. Most books here are 20% off. How do they handle that? By scanning the books and having the discount price display automatically? By have a “20% off” button on the register? No…the cashier has to look up the price for each book on a tiny little card that translates list prices to discount prices.

I still wonder if the store has anything to do with those mobile book fairs that would come to the school cafeteria a couple times a year when I was a kid.