Newsletter for March 2016


Long-winded this month, sorry!


Saturday, April 2nd, at the Albany bookstore. Starting at 9:30 AM.

All books outside will be just 25 cents.

I’ve been packing most of the boxes myself, and there are 100-year old (or more!) vintage books, kids’ books, paperbacks in all genres, cookbooks, modern lit & classics, technical books and much more.

75% of all sales go to the Albany Public School Foundation! (If you’d like to make an additional donation, you’re welcome to!)


MINIMUM WAGE (Sorry this is long)

As many of you know, Oregon state legislature has passed a minimum wage increase that will not only outpace inflation but also give Oregon the country’s highest minimum wage.

Although I am not philosophically opposed to a higher minimum wage, I would have preferred a popular vote instead of a government mandate, but politics will be what they will be…

As a small bookshop owner, however, the minimum wage increase will be devastating. Although we have always tried to pay above minimum, there is no way we can keep up with the pace of the new law. I am in the midst of formulating a five-pronged attack to survive, but the bottom line is this: Browsers’ simply cannot continue to do business the way it has for fifteen years; and some painful decisions will have to be made.

Many larger companies, restaurant chains, etc., are switching to self-service and automation. Unfortunately, I don’t have the skills to make a bookselling robot, as cool as that would be…  And since we are pretty much a break-even operation there’s no big profit that we can slim down.

However, we have made it through the Recession, print-on-demand books, and ebooks. The Recession went away, POD books have poor quality with a high price, and sales of ebooks have decreased in the last year or two. We will figure out a way to work around the wage increase, too, but it won’t be a matter of simply waiting it out.

The good news about all of this is that even though it will mean a continual increase in expenditures over the next seven years, that money will go directly to our awesome employees. Although Browsers’ doesn’t exactly knock your socks off with masterful merchandising, there is considerable effort involved in keeping a quarter-million ever-changing books in enough order that we can quickly answer the question, “Do you have _____?” I’d like to pretend I do it all by myself, but the only thing I’m actually in charge of is pricing the CD’s.

All I can ask is that you please have patience with us as we work out a way to continue to offer great books at affordable prices.



A longer “Store News” section, so I’ll keep this one shorter.

OCEANOGRAPHY & PHYSICAL SCIENCES. The first of our big purchases mentioned last month came through a couple of weeks ago. Forty boxes, almost all of which will wind up in the Corvallis store. In order to make room, we’ve moved around a few of the sections in the three aisles labeled Travel, Nature, and Science. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please ask. Most $3-$20

Lord of the RingsLORD OF THE RINGS. J.R.R. Tolkien. Red leatherette omnibus in slipcase. Folding map at rear. $50







CADILLAC DESERT. Marc Reisner. First edition, fine in jacket. We’ve sold several of these in the past; it is one of those popular science books like Silent Spring that are important to our cultural understanding of this new world we’re living in. $50

KID CAMPING FROM AAAAIII! TO ZIP. Patrick McManus. Second book by the popular Northwest humorist. Hardcover in jacket, $5

ED GEIN CLIPPINGS. Ed Gein was a homicidal maniac (truly) known as the “Butcher-Slayer” and I really don’t want to go into any more details here. What is for sale is a folder of 1957 newspaper articles from several local (Wisconsin) papers, from discovery to further discoveries to trial to sentence.  $10

Here’s the weird thing about this archive. I dug this folder out of the basement in the Albany store, along with a bunch of other papers. Too squeamish to be very interested in true crime stories, I had never heard of this guy, and so was talking about it at the counter with Holly. Lo and behold, there was a customer wandering around in the store FROM WISCONSIN who knew all about Gein! What are the odds!?! He gave us a little history of Gein and how his (Gein’s not the customer’s) murders are actually the ones that inspired the book/movie “Psycho.”

Merry Go Round in OZMERRY-GO-ROUND IN OZ. [L. Frank Baum], Eloise Jarvis McGraw & Lauren McGraw Wagner, 1963. A late addition to the Oz canon, this one by popular Portland author Eloise Jarvis McGraw who inserts Oregon into Oziana by making the hero of this story from the fictional town of Cherryburg, OR. Now instead of saying “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore,” you can say Oregon! Ex-library but still in good condition with white pictorial boards. $35

Speaking of Oregon (but OSU, not Oz), here are a few uncommon items

CORVALLIS COLLEGE. John E. Smith, 1953. A history of the college, 60 pp. $10
SILVER JUBILEE HISTORY, CLASS OF 1902, OREGON AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE. Neat keepsake from 1927 with messages from VIPs, photographs, news, etc. $15

WildflowersWILD FLOWERS OF THE UNITED STATES. Rickett. Huge books with great illustrations, each 2 or 3 book set covers a different region. All in excellent condition. $30-$50



That’s enough for today. Be sure to come by and look at some cheapies on for the April 2nd sidewalk. Bring a friend!

Enjoy the browsing, in the store and on the sidewalk!

Scott Givens