Those of us who make our living with words are naturally disheartened when we hear the various “war cries” of hardcore online users and marketers: “Nobody reads anymore” ... “Print is dead” ... “Copy doesn’t matter” ... “Books will disappear.”
The success of James Mustich, Jr. and his eclectic book catalog, A Common Reader — launched in 1986 — is a refreshing exception to these claims.
A Common Reader is a mail order seller of, as their slogan proclaims, “Books for readers with imagination.” They sell mainly through catalog, though there is also a Web site (www.commonreader.com), which now accounts for 15 percent of orders.
Mustich mails catalogs 15 to 17 times a year. The exact same catalog never mails twice; each edition is new — although many of the same books are offered from issue to issue.
Several features make A Common Reader unique. First and foremost are a love for, and almost r...(register to read more)