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Half a Year in Review

19 June, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

It's been approximately half a year since I've posted and a lot sure has happened in that time. Let me get you up to speed... 
  
In November 2013, ReAuthored was in the Rock N' Roll Craft Show in St. Louis. It was my first craft show and I was thrilled with the whole experience. Being only 10 years old, this show was relatively new to the scene and it puts a little spin on the traditional craft show. There are no booths or vendors. In fact, aside from working a 2 hour shift over a 3 day span, the crafters themselves were not present to sell their items. Rather, all items were displayed together in the form of a department store, making it more shopper-friendly and attracting a crowd that may not necessarily venture into the traditional craft show but who could certainly appreciate handmade and unique items, especially when it was combined with rock n' roll music in the basement of a beautiful cathedral. 

 

Just a few weeks later, I headed off to Chicago for the Renegade Craft Show. This was more of the traditional craft show and it couldn't have attracted a more eclectic and amazing collection of people. With tens of thousands of shoppers in just 2 days, and some of the most unique and talented crafters from around the nation, this was a bit of an overwhelming experience that afforded me much to grow on. I am so glad that I participated and super flattered to have been accepted after seeing the competition. 
  
We made it to Chicago! 
 The ReAuthored booth started out looking like this... 

 Renegade Craft Show

 ...but ended up looking like this! 

Renegade Craft Show

There was a snag when I realized that the key for the lockbox fell out and was nowhere to be found...I found it on the floor in my family room 2 days later. Thank goodness for my wonderful friend Ashley who took it to a locksmith and got it unlocked for me! 

Renegade Craft Show

 There were a LOT of people!

 Help from a dear friend (thank you Ashley!!)

 Manning my booth :) 

 

The Renegade Craft show was immediately followed by Christmas and then a new year! With the new year came a new last name (officially single!), full ownership of ReAuthored, and a lot of change. Unfortunately, I found myself in need of a steady income while I worked through some of the changes and so I studied hard, got my insurance license, and began working for a fantastic State Farm agent named Justin Hahn. The company was great, insurance was pretty fascinating, and my boss was one of the best I've ever had...but the day to day operations of insurance sales were a stark contrast to working on ReAuthored and the transition was tough. I went from doing something that I felt [sometimes overly] passionate about to something that just didn't get me all that excited. I was, once again, reminded that money does not motivate me and that I have to do something I love to feel fulfilled. After 5 months of office work with 4 great co-workers, I got just the nudge I needed to focus my attention back on ReAuthored (and it couldn't have come at a better time)! 

 

Me and my State Farm family :) 

 

What was that nudge, you ask? Well... a tech company out of the UK called Eye-D Creative contacted me to purchase 52 tablet cases. They were presenting new software to 52 potential investors and they were interested in using my cases as the vehicle to deliver their software (which was programmed into a device). Upon reading their first email, I was speechless (and incredibly flattered). After much discussion, a preliminary case, a presentation from them that included my case, and much waiting, Eye-D Creative received final approval to move forward with the order and I was able to earn the funds I needed to to step away from my desk job, allowing me to focus on the thing I love to do the most...ReAuthored! 

 

In May, I jumped right back in to ReAuthored with the Tower Grove Better Block Festival in St. Louis. They couldn't have given me a better display area for my products and my boyfriend, Sean, and I had a fabulous weekend in St. Louis. It felt so good to get my work in front of real people again. 

Sean showing off my wares

And within all of the madness, my sweet babe turned 4 years old. How? I have no idea but we definitely enjoyed his gymnastics party and the special request strawberry shortcake Emmett insisted on (I sure love that kid...I mean, what 3 year old boy asks for a strawberry shortcake for his birthday? Mine!). 

 

Emmett and his cousin, Julianne, munching on bday snacks :) 

 

So what's in store now? Hopefully lots and lots of forward motion for ReAuthored. I am listing cases like crazy in my Etsy shop, updating my website and Etsy pages, and organizing as much as I can when I'm not waiting tables. I am thrilled to be back and I hope that you are too! I will be working on a Kickstarter campaign in the coming months and your support would mean the world to me as I pursue a meaningful profession that makes a positive impact. Don't hesitate to contact me with any suggestions, questions, comments, or observations. Your input makes ReAuthored what it is. 

Until next time, 

Maha Libdeh

The Book Thief

03 October, 2013 0 comments Leave a comment

Cover of 'The Book Thief' by Mark Zusak - photo courtesy of http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/

"I guess humans like to watch a little destruction. Sand castles, houses of cards, that's where they begin. Their great skill is their capacity to escalate” -Death

Set in WWII Germany, The Book Thief transports you to a dark sliver of time many of us try to avoid. With incredible detail and unique descriptive technique, Markus Zusak (@Markus_Zusak) does a wonderful job of really making you feel the world around you...both the gravity of the Holocaust, and the human ability to survive, will envelope you as Leisl and Death guide the way. With vibrant colors and cleverly-worded imagery, Death shows us what it really means to collect souls in a country ravaged by hatred, power and fear. I found myself entranced with the way Death looked at life and God and humanity...the indiscriminate nature of death was chilling at times.

“I'll never forget the first day in Auschwitz, the first time in Mauthausen. At that second place as time wore on, I also picked them up from the bottom of the great cliff, when their escapes fell awfully awry. There were broken bodies and dead, sweet hearts. Still, it was better than the gas. Some of them I caught when they were only halfway down. Saved you, I'd think, holding their souls in midair as the rest of their being – their physical sheels – plummeted to the earth. All of them were light, like the cases of empty walnuts. Smoky sky in those places. The smell like a stove, but still so cold.” -Death

In a time so heavy, it is incredible the ways in which we persevere. Leisl shows us this through her journey with the Hubermanns as her relationships with both Rosa and Hans blossom into true testaments of love and family. Her relationship with Rudy helps to put into perspective that Leisl is, in fact, just a child and her close bond with Max brought tears to my eyes as I watched him help fill the void of her own brother. Many times, when I think of a time as dark as the Holocaust, I have a hard time remembering that there was still love and humanity underneath all of the horror. Zusak couldn't have done a better job of incorporating both to show what everyday life was probably like for many Germans. I felt a wide range of emotions throughout this book and I can honestly say it's one of the best I've read in quite some time. I very highly recommend it and I look forward to future books by Markus Zusak.

Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain.” -Death
 

 

 

 

8 Places You Can Feel Good Supporting

20 August, 2013 0 comments Leave a comment

As a local business owner who makes all of my products by hand, it should be no surprise that I go out of my way to support other local and/or handmade companies. Voting with my dollars is something I take a lot of pride in...even on those days when I know a trip to Walmart would be easier. Over the years, I've discovered a wonderful array of people and business to support. Here are 8 of my favorites...

10 Reasons (I Think) You Need an eReader

14 August, 2013 0 comments Leave a comment

 

kindle paperwhite in ReAuthored case I know, I know...you don't want an eReader. You LOVE physical books. Going to the library is super special for you. There's something about flipping a real piece of paper to turn the page that lets you know that all is right in the world. I get it. In fact, three years ago, I was you. I used all of the above excuses the first time my sister showed me her eReader. I swore I would never join the bandwagon. I loved physical books and that was all I needed to know...or so I thought. It wasn't until I bought my first Kindle (the keyboard version...still my #2 favorite eReader, after the Kindle Paperwhite) that I realized how magical these pieces of technology are. Don't get me wrong...I still LOVE physical books...that's why I only use my ReAuthored cases for my multitude of devices. In my opinion, the only thing better than a physical book is an eReader inside a physical book!

 

1. You can read totally embarrassing books in public

Dying to read '50 Shades of Gray' but don't want people to know? They don't have to when you own an eReader. Stock your device with as many trashy romance novels and borderline X-rated books as you want...or, in my case, with super cliché, PG-rated. young adult dystopias that I'm embarrassed to tell people I'm reading :)

2. They are tiny

This is obvious but I never really considered what it meant. Have you ever hauled around a copy of Twilight or Harry Potter? Those things are huge and it makes them so uncomfortable to read. Ereaders, on the other hand, are tiny and can fit every Harry Potter book ever written for a tiny fraction of the size or the hassle (or the cost if you check the ebooks out from the library!)

Kindle Paperwhite vs. Lord of the Rings softcover book

3. You can change the size of the font

I didn't understand the appeal to this until I started utilizing it. I'll even share with you the embarrassing truth as to how I figured this out. Well...here goes...you ready? I...um...well...I like to eat in bed while reading. There, I said it. My ideal day ends with eating a snack, while reading a book, while sitting in bed. Because the snack usually occupies my lap, I typically have to lay the book down next to me on the bed. With a physical book, the distance is too much for my eyes to overcome. Everything is a little blurry and I can't keep track of the words (I should note that reading WHILE eating the snack is the key for me...I can't do one and then the other. They must be done simultaneously). With my eReader, I change that font to something huge and I'm reading and eating like a champ.

5. Reading in bed!

This time I'm actually talking about just reading in bed, no eating. After I'm done snacking and reading, I move on to just reading. For those that read in bed, you know that reading on your side is a huge pain when you're using a physical book. Having to reposition the book every time to move from the left page to the right page is annoying and becomes harder and harder to do with each page. The beauty of the eReader? There is only 1 page! No need to flip from side to side. An added perk with ReAuthored cases? You can flip the device around if you want to read on your right side or leave it in it's appropriate position if you want to read on your left side. For me, I prop the device side of the book up on a pillow and then I don't even need to hold it while I'm reading. Being lazy while reading has never been so easy!

ReAuthored Kindle Paperwhite case with device upside down and dinosaur reading

6. Some of them glow in the dark

Yep, I said it...the newest eReaders out there (the Kindle Paperwhite and the Nook Simple Touch with Glolight), glow when the lights are out. This is helpful in soooo many situations. Here are just a few examples... 1) Reading in the car after the sun has set (this is assuming you are not driving...please do not ever read while driving) 2) Reading in bed while your significant other or your child is next to you 3) Reading at a guest's house when there is not an accessible lamp nearby (I hate reading before bed with harsh overhead lighting!) 4) Reading outside at night time without attracting the bugs! I can sit on my front porch, after the sun has set, and read a book without having to turn on a light and attract the bugs. In my personal experience, the glow from my Kindle Paperwhite is not the type that attracts the creepy crawlers which allows me to read in peace, at night, outside.

Kindle Paperwhite in the dark with Elephant reading

7. The magic is in the words

Before getting an eReader, I was convinced the physical books played a part in my love for them. That, somehow, the book would mean less if I read it electronically than it would if I got the printed version. Nothing could be further from the truth. Now, let me be clear, the feel of a book is very important to me (if it wasn't, then I started the wrong business!). However, owning or checking out every single physical book that I want to read is not important to me as long as what I'm reading on feels like a book (which, in my case, is always true since my cases are made from real books). The magic of books doesn't come from the physical turning of pages or the cover of the book...it comes from the words that you are reading. It's easy to think this is somehow lost when using an eReader but I assure you it is not. Some of my favorite books were read on an eReader...others were read in physical format. And no matter the vehicle that delivers the words to my eyes, the words are what matter.

"Only on paper has humanity yet achieved glory, beauty, truth, knowledge, virtue, and abiding love." - George Bernard Shaw 

 

8. Less waste

Again, I love physical books. I am surrounded by them every single day and I wouldn't have it any other way. Want to know what else I love to be surrounded by? Trees! Prior to eReaders, cutting down trees to print books was a necessity. However, that is no longer the case and I sure do love trees and what they offer us...shade, carbon dioxide, habitats for so many animals, etc. Trees are a vital form of life and I would love to preserve as many of them as possible. With that being said, I don't know much about the technology that goes into making eReaders so I can't say, definitively, that making eReaders does not harm the Earth. However, I can say that trees are awesome and I am all for keeping more of them around.

8. You can sample books

Ever been curious about a book but not quite sure you want to read it? With an eReader, you can download a sample of any book you want for free. Most samples allow you to read 1-3 chapters of the book before committing to read the rest and I utilize this feature often. It's even saved me some money by weeding out less interesting books and giving me the motivation I need to purchase others. Don't be shy...sample as many as you need or want to. But be careful...if you like a book, it's hard to stop 2 chapters in so you better be prepared to buy the whole book or find out if it's available at your library beforehand. If there's a wait and I really want to get started on the book, I'll put it on hold at the library and start it using the sample feature.

 

9. They're getting cheaper and cheaper

The original Kindle came out in 2007 for $399. I bought my Kindle Keyboard in 2011 for ~$150. Now you can get the Kindle 4 (with 5-way controller) for $69. This is a steal and well worth the cost!

10. You can check ebooks out from the library

Yes, you heard me right...you can check out ebooks, for free, from your local library (well...from most local libraries). I love going to the library as much as anyone. In fact, I probably spent half of my youth in a library. The smell, the feel, the quiet, the books...it brings me a serene peace that only a good yoga instructor can. The downside? Sometimes I just don't have time to go to the library. Sometimes I just need a book and I need it now and I don't want to pay for it. This is where checking out ebooks online is a lifesaver. Going on a big trip? My library lets me download up to 7 ebooks at a time. Sunday at 9 pm and all I want is to curl up with a good book? Hello library website...don't mind if I do. In short, the ability to check out ebooks at any time, and from any place, is reason enough to own one of these eReaders.

DBRL ebook portal

 

So, there you have it. You may not need an eReader but you want one, whether you know it or not. And if none of those reasons appeal to you, I have a few hundred books I need to get rid of and I'd be happy to ship them directly to you :)

 

Me and Emmett - ReAuthored

Over and out,

Maha  

p.s. I'd like to credit my son's favorite stuffed animals for helping me out with the photos for this post. They were real troopers! 

 

ReAuthored is coming to Granny's!

05 August, 2013 0 comments Leave a comment

With all of the changes these past few months, I just can't help but make my life even more hectic by taking on more than any single person should. Tackling wholesale, consignment, and retail selling, while also making all products myself, may help me achieve something most of us never do...grey hair before the age of 30! And if I'm really lucky, ReAuthored might even pay all my bills this next year (I know, I know, don't get crazy, Maha...). My newest venture is one that I'm really excited about and I'm hoping it puts me just a little bit closer to my goal of paying my bills (going grey is happening regardless). Starting in September, ReAuthored will be at Granny's! 

Nestled on the river, in the tiny town of Rocheport, is a magical little place called Granny's Antiques. Don't be fooled, though...this is no place for walkers or unwanted furniture. In fact, quite the opposite. Designed to appeal to the multitude of tourists that come through Rocheport every year, Granny's carries some of the most unique and interesting items around. With sections devoted to children, Mizzou, wine, candles, and local artists, I think I could spend a week browsing and not get bored.

Owned by Diane, Granny's Antiques was once owned and operated by her granny. After passing to her Dad and then to Diane, this business is family-owned through and through. It is clear when you enter that Diane has an incredible eye for beauty. She also focuses on local and out-of-the norm and these are things I sure appreciate. With some of the most unique handmade bibs, oven door rags, cards, photography, and metal work, I will definitely be visiting again for Christmas gifts. I also feel confident that ReAuthored will fit in quite nicely at Granny's. I was thrilled when Diane agreed and I am working away on a variety of products to place there. I'll even be making some custom frames to showcase these incredible cards by Chris McGee ... 

Mother Teresa's DoorMother Teresa's Door description

'Mother Teresa's Door' - cards by Chris McGee - sold at Granny's Antiques in Rocheport, MO 

If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend checking out Granny's Antiques in Rocheport, MO. It is an incredible little town that is 10 miles and 100 years away from Columbia, MO. Eat lunch at the Rocheport General Store, shop at Granny's, drink some wine at Les Bourgeois winery, eat dinner at Abigail's, and stay at one of the many bed and breakfasts...all on the Missouri River. I promise you won't be disappointed. 

Besos, 

Maha 

 

West Elm & Etsy choose ReAuthored

01 August, 2013 0 comments Leave a comment

West Elm St. Louis

Photo courtesy of the West Elm St. Louis Facebook page

Somewhere between an Ikea and a Pottery Barn, you will find West Elm. Owned and operated by Williams-Sonoma, this 10 year old company has made some serious waves with their contemporary furniture designs and complimentary housewares. I'm sure you can imagine my surprise and excitement when they contacted me to sell my products in their newest store, West Elm St. Louis

 West Elm St. Louis now open

Photo courtesy of Bangles and Bungalows

A little bit of background about West Elm and Etsy....turns out, they aren't just friends, they're friends with benefits. The benefit being that West Elm is now supporting Etsy artists at each new location by setting up small wholesale opportunities for these local Etsy sellers to sell their super unique products in their store. To find out more about this partnership venture, check out this article from Etsy... https://www.etsy.com/blog/news/2012/etsy-and-west-elm/. I am extra thankful to Etsy for 1) being so freaking awesome all of the time 2) for setting up such an amazing partnership and 3) for their unknowing help in getting me found by West Elm.  

 

With less than 2 weeks notice to make my products and deliver them in time for the grand opening, the timeline was short but my hopes were high. The store was frantic with worker bees when I dropped off my products so I didn't get a look at the finished product. Thanks to some awesome bloggers, though, I've been able to see my products at West Elm through their eyes. I'm really looking forward to going by next week while I'm in St. Louis to see it for myself! 

 

Photo courtesy of Bangles and Bungalows

Within the first week of the West Elm St. Louis grand opening, my West Elm contact sent me a blog about the new shop. My jaw practically hit the ground! Not only was the store gorgeous, but the blogger listed my line of products as her favorite Etsy product and her #1 gift option in the whole store...THE WHOLE STORE! I smiled so hard it hurt that day :) Check the blog out for yourself here... http://banglesandbungalows.blogspot.com/2013/07/get-reacquainted-with-west-elm-now-open.html

So...there it is. If you find yourself in St. Louis, stop by West Elm in the Galleria and check out ReAuthored in person. Who knows...you may even find yourself going home with a picture frame or 2 made using all discarded books. 

 

All my love, 

Maha 

 

 

ReAuthoring ReAuthored

30 July, 2013 0 comments Leave a comment

 

Re¹ - a prefix: occuring originally in loanwords from Latin, used with the meaning "again" or "again and again" to indicate repetition, or with the meaning "back" or "backwards" to indicate withdrawal or backword motion: regenerate; refurbish; retype; retrace; revert 

To author [aw-ther] ² - verb: to originate; create a design for: She authored a new system for teaching chemistry.

To ReAuthor [re-aw-ther] - verb: to take something that has been authored and give it new life, “again, and again." That discarded book was ReAuthored into a picture frame. 

 

 ReAuthored picture frames

Here at ReAuthored, I don't just make up my own words, I also put them to practice “again, and again.” Recently, I found out that books aren't the only things that can be reauthored...anything can be reauthored...including, believe it or not, ReAuthored itself! How, you ask? Read on and I shall show you the way...


The process of ReAuthoring ReAuthored began last January when JC received a job offer for an opportunity that was too 
perfect to pass up. At that time, we made the decision that ReAuthored would be my sole responsibility and JC would enter back into the workforce. This transition was really rather smooth. My first decision alone was to move away from making custom cases. I love getting to know my customers, and I've built relationships with many of them, but the time that goes into making custom products is too much to justify on my end and, if I priced them accordingly, it would be too much to justify on your end. The only way to increase efficiency was to take the reigns on what got made, when it got made, and how it got made. The first step of ReAuthoring ReAuthored? Doing away with custom orders.

No custom orders - ReAuthored

After I did away with custom orders, the second step was clear...I had to pre-make products for my customers to purchase. This part was a little tricky because it required a lag in sales so that I could finish out my existing custom orders and then make enough new products to give people a nice variety of options on the website and in my Etsy shop. This part I'm still working on but I get more added each and every day. Right now, I have pre-made cases on my website for the 7” Kindle Fire HD and the Kindle Paperwhite. I will be listing lots more for the Kindle Paperwhite in the coming weeks, along with the Nexus 7, the iPad 2/3/4, the Nook Simple Touch, and the iPad mini. I will also be adding pre-made picture frames in both the 5x7 and the 8x10 sizes. I feel confident these will be some of my best sellers. Step 2 in ReAuthoring ReAuthored? Pre-making inventory for the website and Etsy shops.

pre-made cases - ReAuthored

What other steps could there be, you might ask. Well, along the way, there were some unexpected events that changed the course of things. In April, JC and I decided to go our separate ways and, after a couple months of deliberation and a brief break in operation, I took on full ownership of ReAuthored. JC moved back into the home that had become our work space and our work space moved into the home that Emmett and I currently live in. With thousands upon thousands of books, nine 7-foot steel bookshelves that had to be taken apart and put back together, multiple large table saws, and a 3000 lb machine, the move was daunting. For weeks, I sorted books, cut books, packed books, moved books, organized books, and even gave a thousand or so away to a great non-profit recycling center that also works as “an extended employment sheltered workshop.” Once all of that was taken care of and everything was packed, a local moving company came and moved all but the 3000 lb machine to my home. It was there that the process began again... but in reverse :) Step 3 of ReAuthoring ReAuthored? Spring cleaning and a new space. It wasn't expected but it was much needed.

Moving @ ReAuthored

After I got settled into the new work space (which is also my current living space), my top priority was getting the Etsy shop and the ReAuthored website back up and running. This also came with a great deal of time and effort as the business model was changing from custom to pre-made and I didn't have many pre-made products to list quite yet. I decided to work on both at the same time...I made new products whenever I could and I updated the Etsy shop and the website a little bit at a time until I felt comfortable taking them live. There's still a ton of work for me to do on both of them but I have made enough progress that I feel ok with having them up and running...not great, but ok. The coming months will allow me to really improve them and my inventory of products should grow exponentially before the holidays start up. Keep checking back to see what's new...it's only going to get better! Step 4 of ReAuthoring ReAuthored? Getting back on the interwebs.

The website is alive!

What's next? Moving that damn machine (who will hereafter be known by his proper name...”Paul”). This part of the process had me stuck. If I added up all the time I spent talking to random men about how to move a 3000 lb top-heavy machine, I bet it would add up to double digit days. Never did I think this part would be the part that would stump me but it sure did stop me in my tracks for a few months. After getting a quote to move it that was MORE than “Paul” himself cost, I had to get creative. Thanks to my wonderful CSA farmer, Liz Graznak (Happy Hollow Farms...best certified organic farm ever!), I was able to make some connections with some self-proclaimed “farm boys” who were all the more happy to move “Paul” for a fair price. Last Friday, old “Paul” was moved by those wonderful “farm boys” and they even built me a stand with wheels on it so that I never have to fret about moving this machine again. A million thanks goes out to Andy and Brian from Great Outdoors Landscaping for helping me achieve this difficult task...I'm not sure what I would have done without them! I sent them both home with cases and picture frames for them and their wives to show my appreciation. I can only hope they know how much their help meant to me. Step 5 of ReAuthoring ReAuthored? Getting Paul settled into his new home on his new throne.

Paul on his new throne - ReAuthored

The last and most important step is this one...telling you all what has happened, why it has happened, and what's happening in the future. I appreciate all who have stuck by me through these last few crazy months. It's been quite the journey and I'm sure it's not over yet. For those that are bummed that I won't be making custom cases anymore, my sincerest apologies. Unfortunately, ReAuthored cannot be sustained on custom work but I do feel confident that it can be sustained via the path I am taking and sustainability is definitely the most important thing right now. Step 6? Screaming it from the rooftops. “I'm back! I make great products! I pride myself on good customer service! Change is good! Give me a chance...you won't regret it! If you do regret it, I'll give you your money back, I promise!” And if that's not enough...here's a real cute picture of my kid...bibliophile in training ;) 

My beautiful son, Emmett...bibliophile in training - ReAuthored

 

If anyone has any questions, concerns, suggestions, advice, or just wants to say hello, please feel free to contact me anytime. You can reach me at contact@reauthored.com or 573-990-1031.

 

XOXO,

Maha 

 

¹http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/author?s=ts 

 

² http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/re?s=t

 

How to Recycle Hardback Books

23 October, 2012 2 comments Leave a comment

It's Important 

In today’s world, the importance of recycling is greater than ever. Unfortunately, finding out how to recycle some things is not as easy as it should be. This is especially true in the case of unwanted hardcover books. However, with a bit of research, it is possible to effectively and easily recycle a family’s unwanted hardback books, reducing the strain on landfills while recycling the material into products that are nearly as cool as our cases, picture frames, books safes..... you get the idea. 

Did you know that recycling one ton of paper....

Recycled Hardcover Books
  • Save enough energy to power the average American home for six months.
  • Save 7,000 gallons of water.
  • Save 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one metric ton of carbon equivalent (MTCE).
Source: EPA.gov

 

The Problems 

The primary difficulty in recycling hardbacks is their binding/covers. Many paper recycling processes require that the interior pages be removed from the binding before processing. However, this is a labor-intensive process and many recycling organizations will not accept hardbacks for this reason. 

Ask First 

If the book is in good condition and something that isn't completely outdated, I would suggest calling your library first. Libraries are most selective than charities, so they may not use all of your books, but even if they don't want your books, they will be able to tell you where to go. If the library has a relationship with a recycler, it may even be willing to let the owner drop off his or her hardbacks to be recycled along with the older library books. Finally, bookstores must dispose of large numbers of hardbacks every week and so may have a central recycling partner that handles both hardback and paperback books. Wherever you live, take a second to make a phone call, I promise you that there will be someone to point you in the right direction.  

Recycling in Bulk 

Have a whole load of hardcover books to get rid of? 

Call us, we'll even pay you for them! 573-990-1031

We are always looking for new and better sources for our books, so if you think you have something we could use, we would love to talk to you about it. If not, hopefully we can point you in the right direction. 

Sell Your Recycling

If no local group accepts hardbacks, then the owner can decide to prepare the hardback for recycling at a paper-recycling center. This process typically involves removing the cover and spine, and then recycling the internal pages of the book. In many cases, the recycling company may also accept the separated covers. Even if they do not, the amount of material that must be disposed of in the trash has been radically reduced. THEY WILL PAY YOU FOR IT. The recycling you're bringing in is a commodity with a value. Most recycling plants let you know up-front what they pay on clean paper recycling by the ton, but if not, ask. Prices vary depending on your location and the market, but its nice to get back even a little for all the hard work you put in. 

While recycling hardbacks may require a bit more effort than recycling other paper products, the rewards are well worth it. By recycling these books, we are reducing the amount of waste deposited into landfills. More importantly, by recycling these hardbacks, the material can be transformed into other useful products, art, and anything besides more trash.  
While recycling hardbacks may require a bit more effort than recycling other paper products, the rewards are well worth it. By recycling these books, we are reducing the amount of waste deposited into landfills. More importantly, by recycling these hardbacks, the material can be transformed into other useful products, art, and anything besides more trash. 

The myth and magic behind that old book smell

13 September, 2012 2 comments Leave a comment

The smell of old books is something that people around the world have found comforting and beautiful for centuries. I'll be the first to admit that there really is something special about the smell of a library, it calms me. That being said, there has been a lot of information spread around over the past few years about why old books smell that simply isn't true. 

The Myth

 It never fails that every few months I see some variant of the picture below about why books smell. 

Myth about why books smell - Lignin Lie

This photo, whether it be posted by some overeager karma junky on Reddit, bedazzled and slapped on Facebook, or ripped off and quoted like Shakespeare. 

"Lignin, the stuff that prevents all trees from adopting the weeping habit, is a polymer made up of units that are closely related to vanillin. When made into paper and stored for years, it breaks down and smells good. Which is how divine providence has arranged for secondhand bookstores to smell like good quality vanilla absolute, subliminally stoking a hunger for knowledge in all of us."  - Perfumes: The Guide

My God, that is beautiful. The only problem is that this quote reads like most campaign speeches, a few key words scattered around nonsense and flattery. 

Where did this idea originate? 

The quote and the idea behind it are from the book, Perfumes: The Guide. Somewhere, in what I'm sure are wonderful pages, is this quote about a proposed perfume line based on the old book smell. This book has nothing to do with books, libraries, journalism, old prints, antiques, or really anything related to books, it's only real similarity is that it itself is a book. 

The book was written in 2008 by Tania Sanchez and while marketing and moving their way through the book-scene were able to land a few articles from the New Yorker, Slate, and then THIS gem by Dwight Garner from the Arts Beat section of the New York Times. The rest, is history.  

The Breakdown

Lignin - a complex chemical compound most commonly derived from wood, and an integral part of the secondary cell walls of plants and some algae. - Thanks Wikipedia

Lignin was derived from the latin: ligum, which means wood. It is one of the most abundant organic compounds on earth and while it does provide support to strengthen the wood, it's not what prevents all trees from adopting the "weeping habit."
Strike 1.
"a polymer made up of units that are closely related to vanillin."
Not really. Vanillin is an extract that is derived from the sulfite process. The sulfite process extracts the lignin from wood by using various salts and sulfites to create wood pulp and then the vanillin is further synthesized from the lignin. 
So yes, in a roundabout way, they are related. Much like you're related to your deceased great-great-great-great grandfather, chemically.
Strike 2.
"When made into paper and stored for years, it breaks down and smells good."
The pages of your book will break down when stored for years. Out of context, this sentence is completely true. However, the process of book pages breaking down organically is EXTREMELY complex and the complexity of the smells that can create coupled with environmental factors is even greater.  
Strike 3. 

The Truth, The Science

Yes, there is actual science concerning the smell of old books. Thanks to the great people at the Centre for Sustainable Heritage through The Bartlett School of Graduate Studies at University College London, we now have published proof what really makes up that smell. 

 

Here is the study: Material Degradomics: On the Smell of Old Books

So, what REALLY creates the smell of old books? 

That answer can be as complex as the books themselves. The researchers concluded that the acidity of the pages was one of the largest factors that contributed to the BREAKDOWN of books, but the smells themselves can come from a list of things.  

This list includes, but is by no means limited to:

  • Environmental factors
    • dust
    • moisture
    • light
    • handling
    • bacterial exposure
    • ...and many many more
  • Elemental factors
    • organic structure of page
    • acidity of pages
    • structure of ink used
    • ...and many many more
Personally, I think I love the smell because of what the smell represents. The smell is the library itself, stacks of books, knowledge, and the pursuit of something greater; and even though it may not be divine providence, it will always subliminally stoke the hunger for knowledge in me. 

How the quote should really be presented

I decided I would make my own. Feel free to bedazzle, OMG, and reminisce at will.  
One last source. I thought AbeBooks put together a really good little video on the topic. Check it out. 

One Espresso Book Machine...hold the Espresso

13 August, 2012 1 comment Leave a comment


Sometimes I learn about things that I find so revolutionary, I can't believe people aren't screaming it from their rooftops. Recently, that thing is the Espresso Book Machine...a machine that can print, bind, and trim a full paperback book in 5 minutes, upon demand. That's right...any book you want, as long as you can find it in PDF form, can be printed on the spot with the same quality as a book you'd find in the bookstore. Incredible, right?

 

This machine was first revealed just 5 years ago in the New York Public Library and can now be found in 54 different locations, 29 of which are within the US. Some have fun names like 'Lurch' or 'Ginger,' and the University of Washington has even named theirs 'Homer,' after the doughnut making machine in Robert McCloskey's book, Homer Price. No matter the name, though, the purpose and the functionality is the same and the prices seem to all be comparable. For customers, the price to print a book is about the same as purchasing a pre-printed paperback at your local bookstore, about $8-20 depending on length. With a minimal account set-up fee and a low, per-page print cost, it is also a phenomenal way to self-publish. So why aren't we seeing more?

 

Well, as you might expect, this machine comes at a hefty cost...almost $100,000 per machine to be more exact. But with companies like Lightning Source, access to these machines is readily available. Lightning Source really stresses the impact the machine has on ensuring that a book is never truly 'out-of-stock' or 'out-of-print' as it's main selling point. Their website states, “The frustrations a customer experiences with books being of out-of-stock, out-of-print, and delayed by delivery are eliminated. Readers are getting exactly what they want, when they want it, and publishers never miss a sale.” Extra sales and less frustrated customers is great and all but, to me, the machine's purpose and impact is far greater than making sure a person never has to wait for their own copy of a book.

 

Think about the impact this machine has on books that are pre-printed and then never sold or read? In turn, think about how many fewer trees would have to be cut down or how many less books would have to be thrown away, shredded, or recycled. In my eyes, this machine is as green as they come and I wish that was more of the focus.

 

No matter the reason, I'm glad that stores and universities are picking this machine up and offering it to their communities. I hope that we get an opportunity to see one in action soon. If you find yourself in one of the following locations in the world, I highly recommend you stop in and check it out. Some call it the single best innovation in book printing since Gutenberg. That's right...Gutenberg! So get out there and see what the fuss is all about. 

 

LocationCity and countryType
Bookshop Santa Cruz Santa Cruz, CA USA Bookstore
Brooklyn Public Library Brooklyn, NY USA Library
Abu Dhabi National Library Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Library
University of Melbourne Library Melbourne Australia Library
Darien Library Darien, CT USA Library
University of Michigan Library Ann Arbor, MI USA Library
University of Utah Library Salt Lake City, UT USA Library
Sacramento Public Library Sacramento, CA USA Library
Bibliotheca Alexandrina Alexandria, Egypt Library
New York University Abu Dhabi Library Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Library
Michigan State University Library East Lansing, MI USA Library
Riverside County Library System Temecula, CA USA Library
Juan Bosch Library Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Library
McGill University Library Montreal, QC Canada Library
University of Prince Edward Island Library Charlottetown, PE Canada Library
Kennesaw State University Bookstore Kennesaw, GA USA University Book Store
Lambton College Bookstore Sarnia, ON Canada University Book Store
Brigham Young University Bookstore Provo, UT USA University Bookstore
University of Arizona Bookstore Tucson, AZ USA University Bookstore
University of Missouri Bookstore Columbia, MO USA University Bookstore
University of Washington Bookstore Seattle, WA USA University Bookstore
North Dakota State University Bookstore Fargo, ND USA University Bookstore
North Carolina State University Bookstore Raleigh, NC USA University Bookstore
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, IL USA University Bookstore
University of Pittsburgh Bookstore Pittsburgh, PA USA University Bookstore
University of Texas Co-Op Bookstore Austin, TX USA University Bookstore
University of Alberta Bookstore Edmonton, AB Canada University Bookstore
McMaster University Bookstore Hamilton, ON Canada University Bookstore
University of Waterloo Bookstore Waterloo, ON Canada University Bookstore
Simon Fraser University Burnaby, BC Canada University Bookstore
University of Toronto Bookstore Toronto, ON Canada University Bookstore
University of Victoria Bookstore Victoria, BC Canada University Bookstore
Politics and Prose Washington DC USA Bookstore
Asian Development Bank Bookstore Manila, Philippines Bookstore
Harvard Book Store Cambridge, MA USA Bookstore
Powell's Books Portland, OR USA Bookstore
McNally Robinson Winnipeg, MB Canada Bookstore
Northshire Bookstore Manchester Center, VT USA Bookstore
Chronicles of Crime Victoria, BC Canada Bookstore
Tattered Cover Denver, CO USA Bookstore
Village Books Bellingham, WA USA Bookstore
Schuler Books & Music Grand Rapids, MI USA Bookstore
Third Place Books Seattle, WA USA Bookstore
Boxcar and Caboose Bookshop Saint Johnsbury, VT USA Bookstore
McNally Jackson New York, NY USA Bookstore
Oscar's Art Books Vancouver, BC Canada Bookstore
Books Inn Miramichi, NB Canada Bookstore
Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse La Cañada Flintridge, CA USA Bookstore
American Book Center Amsterdam, Netherlands Bookstore
Blackwell Bookstore London, England Bookstore
Books Sanseido Tokyo, Japan Bookstore
China Publishing Group Beijing, China Other retailer
DA Information Services Melbourne, Australia Other retailer
Newsstand UK London, England Other retailer


**Graph provided by Wikipedia

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