Tag Archive 'wood thrush books'

Feb 25 2017

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A Growing Book Biz

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As most of you know, Wood Thrush Books is an on-line bookselling business in addition to being a small press. If you go to the WTB website, you can find over 200 used books on nature-related themes, along with the titles that I publish. But I have also listed nearly 2,000 titles at Amazon on a wide variety of subjects.

Visit the Wood Thrush Books storefront to check out some of the books I have for sale at Amazon. I offer a little bit of everything. There’s a heavy emphasis on history, politics, philosophy, religion, literature, and natural science in my inventory because, well, that’s what I know. As far as children’s books, cookbooks or any kind of mass market fiction goes, I’m pretty much clueless.

When Judy and I moved into our new home last June, I was able to dedicate an entire room to WTB inventory. I built 16 shelves right before we moved in, and nearly filled them by Christmas. Since then I have built an additional 6 shelves. That means I have space enough now for 3,000 books, in addition to my publisher’s inventory. Plenty of room to grow.

To be honest, I don’t make much money as a writer, publisher and online bookseller, but I thoroughly enjoy the work. The only thing I enjoy more is being in the woods. My plan this coming year is to keep growing the book biz while getting outdoors as much as possible. A good plan, don’t you think? I’ll let you know how it goes.



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Nov 16 2015

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Building a Book Business

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home bookstoreFive months ago, I stopped working a regular job and put all my time and energy into building an online bookselling business. My wife Judy and I agreed that I would go gangbusters for four months then we’d reassess the situation. Well, when October rolled around the business looked good so I’ve continued doing it. It’s an unconventional way to make a living, no doubt, but I’m having a great time.

During the past five months I have driven thousands of miles, hunting down all sorts of books at library sales, church sales, and thrift shops. The bookshelves that I built in my office are packed from floor to ceiling. I buy books, list them at Amazon, and ship five/six days a week. It’s a hustle that suits my temperament well.

I didn’t get out and hike as much as I wanted this summer and fall, but I figure there will be plenty of time for that in the years ahead. As for writing and publishing, I’ve done a little of that lately and hope to do more this coming winter. But building the business remains my top priority, even as the library sales taper off.

Now comes phase two. With Judy’s assistance, I am revamping the Wood Thrush Books website to make it more user friendly. Soon I’ll be offering secondhand books on a variety of nature-related subjects for sale there, in addition to the ones I publish. Some of you might remember my dalliance with online bookselling a decade ago. Well, this time I’m doing it right.

Once the new WTB website is fully operational, I’ll send out word to all of you. That will probably happen in January. In the meantime I’ll keep listing books at Amazon and writing blurbs for the nature books to come. It’s keeping me busy, that’s for sure.


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Jun 16 2015

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A Major Lifestyle Change

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BooksAmMktTwo weeks ago, I did something I have been dreaming about doing for years. I stopped working for other people and got back into the bookselling business.

It began innocently enough. In April I posted several of my older books to Amazon.com, thereby making them available to a lot more readers. Go to Amazon, punch in my name, and most of my published work will come up now.

That in itself felt like a major accomplishment – something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. Then I took things a step further. I posted a bunch of other books to Amazon Marketplace, just to see if I could sell them that way. When orders started coming in, I was beside myself. I started buying and posting more and more books. Then two weeks ago, everything changed. That’s when I lost my job at the UPS Store. That’s when Judy suggested I take the next four months to focus on building the online bookselling business instead of looking for another job. I said we should sleep on it. When I got up the next morning, Judy gave me the high sign. Then I set to work like a man possessed.

For quite some time now, Judy and I have been toying with the idea of having a retail operation in our latter years. But the more we looked into it, the less a bricks-and-mortar store appealed to us. Online seems a better way to go.

I love books. I like reading, writing and publishing them. And yes, even selling them. Some of you will remember when I had a store full of used books. That was back in the 80s. Well, it looks like things have come full circle.

Naturally I favor outdoor/nature books, but I’m trading in a little bit of everything these days. Eventually, Judy and I will rebuild the Wood Thrush Books website so that we can sell new, used and remaindered books by other publishers there along with the titles that I publish. All nature-related stuff, of course. Stay tuned for that. In the meantime, I’m hustling to make this business fly. Wish me luck.


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Jan 17 2013

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Call of the Wood Thrush

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In the summer of 1980, on the second day of a solo trek into Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, I stopped for lunch. A wood thrush landed in nearby bushes and began singing its flute-like song. Intoxicated by that melody, I left the trail shortly thereafter and wandered for hours through alpine meadows before making camp for the night. And there I stayed for two days, grooving on wild nature in what felt like the lap of God.

That same year I self-published my first chapbook. Five years later I started up Wood Thrush Books, naming it after the bird that has called out during so many of my deep woods excursions. As I see things, the wood thrush symbolizes life and hope and joy and beauty. Its song is mystical. It is nothing less than the call of the wild.

As any one who has attempted it knows, running a small press is a kind of holy madness. It’s a lot of work, plenty of frustration, very little recognition, and even less money. To call it a business is to miss the mark. To call it a hobby is to insult the publisher. Those who have done it as long as I have know it’s more than an occupation or a pastime – much more. It’s a vocation.

Last year was a dangerous year for WTB. I came close to calling it quits. Then I realized that I could no more give up publishing than I could writing or woods wandering. Together these three activities make me what I am, for better or worse.

Thirty-three years later, I still hear that divine, flute-like song. I hear it even when I am stuck in the developed lowlands, doing mundane work, trying to navigate the matrix that we call the modern world. I just cleaned out my office – WTB world headquarters – and am ready to take on a whole new set of challenges. Even now, in my late fifties, I still heed the call.


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Nov 17 2011

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The Wildness Beyond

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There are as many different ways to experience the wild as there are people to experience it. That’s the premise behind the latest anthology that I have put together and published through my small press, Wood Thrush Books. And I’m quite pleased with this one, despite all the delays that kept it from reaching print until now.

The Wildness Beyond is a collection of poems, essays, and short narratives as diverse as wild nature itself.  I doubt that any reader but me will like all the pieces is this anthology, but I’m sure that no one will set it aside saying it’s the same old thing. I tried to be as open-minded as possible when putting this book together, while still including some of my favorite writers hard at work in the small press world. If nothing else, this is a good sampler of the kind of cutting-edge nature writing being done today.

The Wildness Beyond showcases writers familiar to all you staunch WTB supporters out there: Walt Franklin, Benjamin Green, and Rob Faivre to name a few. It also includes work by Marianne Boruch, David Budbill, Scott King, Neil Shepard and others. Altogether there are twenty-one contributors in this slender volume, including something by yours truly. Yes, I was brash enough to include one of my own essays. Why not?

Sorry folks. You can’t buy this one with a click or two at either the Barnes and Noble or the Amazon websites. If you want a copy, you’ll have to go to all the trouble to send a check to me via snail mail. To find out more about this book and how to get one, go to woodthrushbooks.com. Or you can go elsewhere and order something much more predictable. It’s up to you.


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