The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New Uses for Books: Fallout Shelter

I attended an estate sale this past weekend in one of the grottiest and most mold-ridden houses I've ever been inside, but it was exciting because it featured my first fallout shelter! Everything in it was rusted out and damp (looking like something out of Tarkovsky's Stalker) but I managed to salvage this pamphlet.

Facts About Fallout Protection (Page: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) Sorry for the lack of a better nav bar. I'm html challenged.

Among the useful tips I found these:
If you're on the road "a culvert that can be blocked off at both ends will furnish protection. A trench or ditch will also protect you if it can be quickly covered with three feet of earth."

and for those in the trade "In a pinch...stacks of books, magazines, newspapers, or filing cabinets" can be "put between yourself and the fallout".

Try doing THAT with a Kindle.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bookselling Tools: Goodtodo

Mark Hurst of Good Experience recently relaunched his fantastic todo list tool, Goodtodo (formerly Gootodo) . He addressed some accumulated user feedback and did a spiffy intro/tour page but it basically operates the same as before--which is just fine because it remains clean, stripped down, and dead simple to use.

Here's his tour video:

The feature that I find particularly useful as a bookseller (and one that I believe is unique to Goodtodo) is the ability to forward emails to a particular date.

So say for instance I tell a customer that I'll hold a book for 2 weeks; instead of staring at that email every day--and trying to remember why I kept it--I can just forward it to Goodtodo dated for the day I want to end the hold (ex, Forward to: - Subject Line: "End hold on Baptism in Shame").

Voila! Unsightly email is gone until I NEED to think about it. It's also great for tracking booksales, bill payments, customer appointments and the like. When you have any todo items scheduled for a particular day, Goodtodo will email you a list on the morning.

Goodtodo has built in logic for parsing dates so it recognizes "March25" as this coming March 25th or "Wed"/ "Wednesday" at this coming Wednesday (and many other variations) so you don't need to overthink how you address the forward. It also stores the body of the email in a details field so you can easily keep track of the entire email exchange.

Also importantly Goodtodo also has a very clean, simple interface which loads quickly and plays well with your Iphone or smartphone.

Mark is a big proponent of inbox zero--which I like in theory but can't quite get there--and Goodtodo is the main tool in his arsenal. If you want to join him the good fight you can purchase his manifesto, Bit Literacy.

Goodtodo is available at a free/trial level (limited to 10 todos a day) and a full version for a nominal subscription fee ($3 per month). Give it a try and I'm sure you'll find it worth the subscription

Full disclosure: Mark is a friend whom I regularly trounce at Settlers of Cataan and Pirate's Cove.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Vote Batman!

While listing a pile of 60s gentleman's magazines (along the lines of Cavalcade and Bouncy Babe), I came across this "Eradicate Evil...Vote for Batman!" bumper sticker in two separate photo sets in different magazines.

(click through for full page in Even Less Work Safe Version)

The sensible side of me knows that the photographer worked for multiple magazines and reused the same props.

The fanciful side says that Batman ran a 1966, Giuliani-in-tights mayoral bid that only faltered when he engaged a Joker front company to handle his publicity.