On my first day as an intern at Oak Knoll, I wasn’t so sure about working in a 200-year-old building for a company that published “Books about Books”—a slogan, however catchy, which seemed to indicate academic droning.
Through these three months of interning, my first impressions have proved wrong: the books are interesting and working in this beautiful building was one of my favorite parts of the job.
And as my time here draws to a close, I must conclude that my internship was definitely not boring; it was challenging, interesting, and even fun. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned through this experience. I’m leaving here with invaluable skills, more than I learned in any college class, about editing, proofreading, public relations, and the ins and outs of the publishing industry. Things that would have taken me hours before Oak Knoll, like writing and formatting a press release, I can now do with my eyes closed. Even updating a webpage doesn’t seem half as scary as it did before.
Through the valuable feedback from Laura, James, and Danielle, I also learned a great deal about my own strengths and weaknesses—something that will serve me well as I prepare to enter the real world.
There are many things I will miss about working here. The beautiful old building, the comfortable routine that I’ve established, my little desk, but most of all I’ll miss the people.
I want to thank the other Oak Knollers for everything they have done for me. Thank you for teaching me awesome tricks with InDesign, for giving me constructive feedback that helped me grow as an editor and writer, and for being so understanding when I made mistakes. But most of all I would like to thank you all for making me feel like a part of the Oak Knoll family. I will truly miss this special group of people.
It is with mixed emotions that I announce this Friday will be my last day at Oak Knoll Books and Press. I am sad to be leaving a group of people that has made this job a wonderful beginning for me, but I am also very excited to be soon moving to a new city and pursuing a new avenue in my career.
With just over two years at Oak Knoll under my belt, I can still remember my first day—the smell of books, the new faces, the curiosity as to how I would like my new job, the wonder of how I would remember all the titles and authors and all the other small details that would be required for my job. Many thoughts were flowing through my mind, and while it’s normal to be nervous on your first day at a new position, I distinctly remember everyone at Oak Knoll being so friendly and welcoming that I immediately felt at home at my new job.
I have certainly learned a lot in my time as Publishing and Marketing Assistant, and I cannot thank everyone at Oak Knoll enough for the experience, skills, guidance, and knowledge they have provided me. This bookshop will always hold a very special place in my heart, and I wish the best of luck to everyone, especially James who will be taking over my position. I know he will do a great job.
To all the authors, customers, journals, booksellers, and others I have worked with during my time at Oak Knoll, I have enjoyed getting to know you, and you have also made my experience at Oak Knoll enjoyable.
Well, my time here at Oak Knoll has been enjoyable. And I’m sure it will continue to be after I take on the mantle of Publishing and Marketing Assistant. I feel like I learned so much about the book world in my previous position, but I know there’s still so much to learn.
Obviously, since I’m starting in this new position, it means saying goodbye to Danielle. Word from those that have been here at Oak Knoll for a while is that she’s one of the best Publishing and Marketing Assistants to come through. I hope I can live up to that. The two of us will certainly be working to create as smooth a transition as possible.
I’m never really sure how to end these things, so I’ll finish with this. While it isn’t quite what I thought my mathematics degree would lead to, I’m glad this is how things have turned out for me so far.
The beautiful and historic town of New Castle (also the home of Oak Knoll) was featured yesterday in the travel section of The Washington Post’s online news. Audrey Hoffer, a freelance writer in Washington, wrote an article about the buildings, scenery, smells, and homes all located in the small town of New Castle. As Hoffer’s day in the town was ending, a trip to Oak Knoll was in order to check out our selection of books and revel in the grandeur of our building that was once an Opera House.
“I’m suffused with a sudden sense of pride and nostalgia. I’d come to New Castle looking for a taste of pure Americana. And sure enough, I’d found it.”–A.H.
Click here to read the article.
It’s funny that people always think an English degree will get you nowhere in life. As an English major, I have always felt that my career options were overwhelmingly broad. As several of my professors have said, “Everyone needs someone who can write well.” Through my studies as an English major in the University of Delaware’s professional writing concentration, I have met writing professionals from many different fields—technical writing, editing, blogging, journalism— all of whom do very different things day-to-day.
One of the most appealing paths to me has always been publishing. In the media portrayals I’ve seen, a publisher is like a god, deciding which books live or die—and who wouldn’t want to be a god? Before I came to Oak Knoll, I also took a publishing class where I learned that there is a lot that goes into editing and publishing a book, magazine, or other publication.
Through my internship here, I hope to learn as much as possible about editing and publishing and to determine whether or not I am suited to a career in either of these fields. I also want to practice my skills in editing and proofreading as well as to enhance my knowledge of InDesign, Photoshop, and other programs.
So far, I’ve enjoyed applying my editing skills to Oak Knoll’s manuscripts and catalogues. It’s exciting to have the chance to work with material that’s going to be published into a real book that people will actually buy and read. It’s great to feel you have helped to create something so concrete.
Hopefully I prove myself useful to the kind folks here at Oak Knoll, who have given me this wonderful opportunity.
It’s not too early to mark your calendars for October 5 through 7 for Oak Knoll Fest XVII. Covering various aspects of the fine book in the 21st century, the fest will consist of fine press printer exhibitions, a special symposium, and educational talks by Jerry Kelly and Carol Grossman. It’s sure to be a great time, so we hope you are able to join us!
Registration will open soon. Continue to stay tuned for more information.
Check out some recent reviews of publications from Oak Knoll!
A massive, near definitive resource that goes places I have never traveled with any other bibliography. Grissom’s scholarship is breathtaking. Oak Knoll Press has touted it as ‘sure to be the definitive resource for Hemingway collectors, scholars and libraries for years to come,’ and I see no reason why it won’t.”– Craig Stark, BookThink
He has been scrupulous in identifying previous omissions and he has corrected the errors of earlier bibliographers. This exemplary study now stands as a solid foundation for future Hemingway scholarship. That it will soon be superseded is difficult to imagine. One last observation: while this title’s price may appear daunting, it has been my experience that making use of reference volume just once often justifies its purchase. I have my copy. Get yours.” –Ralph Sipper, ABAA
A remarkable collection that successfully combines scholarly articles, an exhibition catalogue, and a photographic essay within its covers. The images in the book reinforce the value of using material culture to understand the historical past, and they give life to the subjects discussed in the essays. Overall, this book is a “must have” for those interested in the educational, social, and cultural history of early America.”–Keith Pacholl, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
Fitzgerald’s descriptions for each entry are extraordinarily detailed. The entries are models of technique for twentieth century books. The eight pages of color plates are especially welcome and help to capture some of the charm of the books themselves, many of which were attractively designed and printed. In short, Series Americana, exhaustively researched and painstakingly written, is an essential tool for all research libraries and will provide ample rewards for the librarian, the collector, and the student of American publishing history.”–Russell L. Martin III, SHARP News
It will, I am sure, become a collector’s item in its own right for it is a handsome volume, well printed in a pleasing font on cream-coloured paper with each entry well set out. The bibliographic content of each entry is meticulous and will be of great service to everyone whose research involves cookbooks. At the back are lists of bibliographical reference works, libraries, and background literature. Four indices, arranged under names, chronology, and geography, cover all the ways one might want to use the book.”–Malcolm Thick, Petits Propos Culinaires
This volume is unquestionably a valuable resource. The book is extremely well typeset and the use of a grey rule admirably breaks up descriptions. There are also thirteen full-page colour and two full-page black and white illustrations and a magnificent dust-jacket.” –Philip W. Errington, Book Collector
Check out this interview of Bob Fleck that reveals his history as a bookseller and Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA) member. He talks about the history behind Oak Knoll’s founding, his work and relations with the ABAA, various committees on which he has served, his travels and love for the social aspect of the ABAA, and much more. He also examines the challenges of bookselling and offers advice for those who are interested in starting a business just as he did.
The interview is part of an effort by ABAA member Michael Ginsberg to cover members’ personal histories as well as their involvement in the rare book trade. Click here to watch the interview.
Oak Knoll is excited to kick off 2012 with a set of New Year’s resolutions. We have each taken time to think of ways we can improve over the next year, and we wanted to share our ideas with you. Check out what we plan to do in the upcoming year.
Ah, there are so many that I should have made but didn’t. At least I haven’t broken any of them yet.
I need to learn to smile when a person is standing in my book store and asks “Do you buy books?” I guess they think that my books breed with each other in the late evening hours.
I need to learn to smile when the phone caller asks me the value of a book that has been in the family for decades but they can’t remember the full title or author. Bless Jim Hinck and vialibri.net as now I can just recommend that they visit that site.
I need to learn to smile when the person on the phone says that the book must go out that day, as it is a birthday present for his or her husband/wife/child in two days hence. Nothing like advance planning!
But wait – I’m actually smiling all the time because I have the greatest group here at Oak Knoll and have loved being a bookseller for 35 years. I smile when I come to work – how many people can say that?
Rob Fleck (Antiquarian & Library Sales)
Last year, we purchased two exciting collections from two long-time Oak Knoll customers. These collections helped make 2011 a great year for us and for you, our customers, by adding many important and rare books to our inventory. Our main goal for 2012 is to branch out to individuals or institutions that have collections that they would be willing to part with. We hope that 2012 will be the year of collection acquisition for Oak Knoll. It’s actually all very exciting to me! Send me an email at email@example.com if you have a collection that you’d like us to see.
This year I would like to discover more manuscripts and encourage more potential authors to write new books on the history of the book. We are particularly interested in new manuscripts on bookbinding, book collecting, printing, and typography, but please feel free to propose any project that could be considered a “book about books.” If you have a manuscript or a book idea, please check out our website and send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you, so don’t hesitate to contact me! I also plan to continue on the tradition of being the Oak Knoll party planner (or as Bob calls it “the Oak Knoll social butterfly”), as it’s one of my favorite roles here at work.
Danielle Burcham (Publishing and Marketing Assistant)
It’s been almost two years since I started working at Oak Knoll, and I have learned quite a bit since my first day! While at first it seemed like it took all my time just to learn the ins and outs of the book business, this year I plan to really focus my attention on expanding our audiences. This means finding new businesses and individuals who would have an interest in our books but haven’t yet heard of us. I hope to find more organizations and journals who would like to review our books, and I plan on using our social media platforms to facilitate this. If you haven’t hopped on the social media train yet, what are you waiting for? Follow us through facebook, twitter, and our blog. There is a lot to learn about us just through these sites alone!
While I will continue to maintain my responsibilities cataloging books, taking photographs (in our new and updated style), and providing customer service, I also plan to use my research skills to help our publishing department. I will explore library holdings and assist libraries in finding titles to add to their collections, while also finding new groups who might have an interest in our titles. I may even get more involved with our shipping department, helping to pull and pack books. I guess you could say I have my hand in a little bit of everything that goes on here at Oak Knoll.
Considering that I was raised in the image of Mary Poppins, (you know, “Practically Perfect in Every Way”), I failed to see the need for any New Year’s Resolutions. Fortunately, my colleagues quickly disabused me of that notion, so here I sit pondering my role at Oak Knoll and trying to understand how I can make your interactions with us the best possible. First of all, I will put a smile on my face before answering the phone. I once read that this simple action carries through in your voice, making it more welcoming. I will also try to remember if it is morning or afternoon, although I don’t seem to have much luck with that as frequent callers can attest. Yes, I’m the one who says Good…with a long pause…before the next words are out of my mouth. Maybe, I should just say “Hello?”
All kidding aside, each one of us here understands that without the support and patronage of our bibliophile friends, Oak Knoll would be no more than a memory. We come to work every day enthused and convinced that we will either help one of you find that long desired treasure, get the newly required text book for your latest class, or finally see your name in print as the author of a scholarly text. So, bring on 2012! We welcome it and you with smiles on our faces.
“Today the book business stands at the edge of a vast transformation, one that promises much opportunity for innovation: much trial, much error, much improvement. Long before another half-century passes, the industry as I have known it for the past fifty years will have been altered almost beyond recognition.”—Jason Epstein
This was the opening quote projected on the screen at the Professional, Scholarly, & Academic Books Basic Books Boot Camp I attended this past Thursday in Philadelphia. I found this quote to be a quite inspirational beginning to my day full of publishing education. Sponsored by the Association of American Publishers, this boot camp was intended to provide a complete overview of scholarly publishing and all its facets. It was targeted for those with less than three years experience in the publishing industry, and since I have only been working at Oak Knoll for about a year a half, the Oak Knoll team felt I was the perfect candidate for this seminar.
As I arrived in Philadelphia, I started to make a mental list of what I really wanted to take away from the conference. Since my most important job at Oak Knoll is carrying out our marketing plans, I was hoping to gain some valuable insight in to how other publishers market their books. I also wanted to learn what we could do at Oak Knoll to better relate to our customers.
With only about twenty other people in attendance, the setting was very relaxed, friendly, and open. It wasn’t long after our first speaker John Jenkins, President and Publisher of CQ Press, began his presentation that I knew it was going to be a great day. In addition to John, the other presenters Gita Manaktala (MIT Press), Betsy Litz (Princeton University Press), Elizabeth Schacht (McGraw-Hill), Matt Conmy (Springer Publishing Company), and Molly Venezia (Rutgers University Press) spoke on topics including acquisitions, production, marketing, sales, and finances. Each listed the most important details for the various parts of the business, and while I found the each presentation fundamental to understanding publishing, I was most interested in Beth’s portion as it covered marketing. She stressed that creating a solid marketing plan for each book would allow each title to reach its full potential in terms of availability and awareness. She also showed me that the best marketers are good communicators who will stick close to the customer and understand what they need. This was a great point for me to consider in my own position as Publishing and Marketing Assistant
Besides the marketing portion, my second favorite part of the day was lunch! Not only because of the scrumptious sandwiches, salads, and cookies, but more importantly because of the opportunity we were given to solve a challenge that could potentially occur working in publishing. We were broken into groups of three to five people and presented with a piece of paper that stated a problem of which we had to devise a solution. In talking to my group members over lunch, I realized that certain situations may sometimes look like “problems,” but in fact, are only excellent opportunities to use creative thinking and out-of-the ordinary concepts to overcome the predicament. At the end of the day, each group presented their solution to the speakers, who in return, gave us their own input into how they might have handled the situation.
Overall, I was very impressed with how smoothly everything flowed, and how much information was able to be presented in one day. The book camp presented by the AAP was excellent and a great opportunity for those who are just starting out in publishing. Thank you to all the speakers and all the staff who had a part in organizing this awesome day! Hopefully, I will be able to take my new knowledge and put it in effect here at Oak Knoll.
As I am still learning how we can provide better service to our customers, I pose a couple questions to all you blog followers out there. How do you hear about new books? Where do you go to find information on new books? Is there something more we can do to make you aware of new titles we are publishing?
To share your thoughts, post a comment on the blog or send me a message at email@example.com. Thanks!
This past Saturday, The Bookshop in Old New Castle hosted a mini-book fair sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the ABAA. Thirteen booksellers participated in the fair, and author Joel Silver signed copies of his new publication Dr. Rosenbach and Mr. Lilly. The day was very successful, and we were excited to see those involved enjoying the opportunity to sell and purchase books. One participating bookseller, George Krzyminski from Certain Books, had wonderful words to say about the event:
“Speaking only for myself, I did very well, in buying as well as selling – better than some all-day or all weekend events I’ve exhibited at in the recent past. I met at least 3 new customers, quoted them some other material afterwards and met several dealers with which I’d had no previous contact – all to the good. I believe others at the show had similar experiences. We also had the opportunity to purchase & have Joel Silver sign his newest book, “Dr. Rosenbach & Mr. Lilly.” And of course, we all dipped into shopping the shelves at Oak Knoll the entire time…
I repeat Penny’s compliments and thanks to Bob & Millie & Rob Fleck and their staff, to all the other Bookshop in Old New Castle dealers – Bordentown, Kelmscott, Between the Covers- for their willingness to ‘share the space’ and custom with us all – and to all the dealers and their partners and staff that showed up for the workshop & show, who fully participated and had a good, profitably-spent time!”
Thank you, George for your kind words. We are happy you had such a great experience, and we hope all the rest of the booksellers had a great time as well! We look forward to participating in other similar events in the future.
Click here to view more pictures on facebook.