Friday, September 30, 2011

My Oh Mylar!

from the bowels of the Booksmith, another installment of life in the Used Book Cellar

Thursday was a quiet, rainy day in the Booksmith, and my colleague Carl found a treasure while digging around in our overstock space: a box of MYLAR! For those that don't know the technical term, you definitely know what Mylar is, I promise. Mylar is the plastic wrap that folds around the dust jacket of a hardcover book. Libraries use it like gangbusters to protect dust jackets for the ages, and now that we've found a grip of it ourselves, we'll be using it to fancy up books in the UBC.

But I thought you didn't buy used hardcovers? you might ask. WELL. That is mostly true. Typically, hardcover books don't fly off our shelves once the paperback is available, so by-and-large we don't buy a large amount. However, there are exceptions to every rule, and in this case, there are exactly three reasons we'll consider buying a hardcover:

1) It's a super-hot title (think, Dance of Dragons by George R. R. Martin) that is only currently available in hardcover, we'll consider it based on condition.

2) It's a classic or super-interesting book--with a dust jacket--that readers might want to have in their collections (think Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë).

3) It's a cookbook or art book, which are frequently printed only in hardcover.

So now, for those rare, interesting, beautiful, unique, quasi-collectible books, we can fancy them up with mylar covers. Carl and I spent the quiet, rainy morning mylar-ing a stack of books, and these treasures now have a new lease on life! They feel nice and new, they're protected from aging (the mylar comes with an acid-free, archival backing) and they are shiny! And whom among us does not love shiny things?!

I've posted a photo of one example, Here is New York by E. B. White. A classic essay on the Big Apple by one of America's treasures was already a cool find, but now it shines like the city herself! But a photograph can't do these books justice, you gotta feel how slick these things are! Come in and check 'em out!

To add a human element to this gripping tale, your used book buyers, Carl and Natasha (that's me!) used some of the excess mylar backing to offer you a chance to get to know us. Following are the transcripts of the question-and-answer session we scrawled Kerouac-style on these fancy scrolls.

Natasha's survey for Carl:
N: What did gas cost when you started at the Booksmith?
C: $2.75
[Carl's been with us since May 2000! --Ed.]

N: Unicorns or zombies?
C: I have nothing funny to say here

N: How do you say "Happy Birthday" in Japanese?
C: Happy Birthday in Japanese

N: Draw a bunny
C: [see image. the bunny is eating a carrot. --Ed.]

N: Can you make a book without using scissors?
C: Yep. Also without hands.
[Carl runs his own literary press! Check out Greying Ghost here! --Ed.]

N: Is there anything you can't do?
C: Lay off the sweets

N: Who would win in a fight: Henry Miller or Norman Mailer?
C: Are they nude? If so, I'd say Kerouac.
[We mylared Mailer today! --Ed.]

N: Any advice for the youth of today?
C: Be kind and rewind. Unless you're using DVDs. In that case, don't scratch 'em up. They're technically not mine.

Carl's survey for Natasha:
C: If Sartre went to an AC/DC show, would he be miserable or relish in the ambiance?
N: He'd stand in the corner derisively. And bum smokes from the roadies.
[Carl likes classic rock and I majored in Philosophy as an undergrad. --Ed.]

C: Do you have Focus on Grammar 4?
N: Yes!
[We got our shipment in! And we carry all kinds of books for Brookline Adult Education. --Ed.]

C: What is it like basking in my Greatness?
N: Every day is like eating marshmallows covered in sprinkles while petting bunnies.
[Fun Fact, my favorite animal is a bunny! --Ed.]

C: What gets your Goat?
N: usually a tin can

C: Have you seen my house keys? I sort of need them.
N: Did you check near the recycling?

C: Philosophy--powerful motivational tool or a bunch of Mumbo-Jumbo?
N: depends on whether it's American or French.

C: Did you take your funny pills today? Cuz you are OD'ing.
N: Today is somehow different? I'm always losin' it...

Thanks for reading, kids! Now that you know all about us and our awesome, newly mylared books, stop in and say hi and check out our wares! Or sell us more! Wednesdays through Saturdays, 10 AM to 4 PM. Though seriously, we ARE selective about hardcovers. E-mail us questions at

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