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Back from the Dead, Again

I've been traveling so much I'm not always clear on which city I'm in at any given moment.  I just got back last night from a quick drive to New York to pick up my son from college (2500+ miles in four days).  Next week I'm in Kansas City for Conquest, then four more trips in a row until I collapse.  Luckily Alice will be at the store while I'm gone.

I've built the first of the shelves which someday this summer will be part of the "Buck-A-Book" room we'll have in the garage.  We're moving all of the dollar paperbacks, hardbacks and comics (most of which will only be a quarter) to one place.  It will clear up more room in the store for MORE BOOKS.  We'll have a special opening day sometime in July/August with a "DreamHaven Garage Sale" where we'll be selling all kinds of things.  I need to "de-accession" because I really don't want to be the person who dies with the most stuff.

I went down this morning to the Minnesota Comic Convention at the State Fair grounds.  You know, the REAL comic convention, not the face pantomime comic convention that Wizard falsely advertizes as a comic convention.  No movie or TV stars, no has-been celebrities, no fresh-out-of-rehab nobodies hawking their autographs to people who should know better than to pay $100 for an autographed photo of someone who will be forgotten next week.  Just lots of comic books and related items.  Loads of families with adorable 2-year-olds in Harley Quinn outfits and Batman muscle suits. People just having fun looking through comic books.  It was a great time and I highly recommend the MCBA Comic Convention as one of the last, true comic conventions enywhere.

Be good.

Greg

Back from the Dead

I've been pretty quiet for some time now but I haven't been inactive.  I don't think I've been home longer than two days in a row for manyn weeks and I worked 7 days a week for several months running.  Two weeks ago I went out to New York to see my son William in a play (Stephen Sondheim's Assassins) and try to relax a bit.  It was supposed to only be a four-day trip but because of a change to the play dates it ended up being a 12-day vacation.  It worked very well; Alice handeled the store with little trouble and I actually got some afternoon naps now and then.  Lisa and I also went ot NYC and saw a couple of Broadway plays - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and The Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.  Both were quite excellent and I wish we'd had time for another five or six plays.  But now I'm back (for a few days) and then starts another round of running across the country for various events.  More to follow.....

Greg

Happy Anniversary to Me!

38 years ago I opened my first store.  It was a pretty bare-bones operation; a few comics, some new books, a few used books.  Whatever I had on hand and whatever I could afford to buy for $300 from local distributors.  My best seller was a novelization of an, as yet, unreleased and little known movie called Star Wars.  That and Sword of Shanara which had the princely price of $5.95 (other paperbacks were $1.25 to $1.50). Things have changed a bit since then.

I never intended to build a business to last me a lifetime.  I had no plan, for business or for life.  I didn't have any training in either bookselling or business.  I just made it up as I went along.  I never gave it any thought as to a future in bookselling.  I just did what I felt like doing, pretty much what any 20-year-old would do.

Now, most of my life has passed.  I've made a living, more or less.  It's always been a struggle but it's usually been a joy.  I'm not sure what I'd have done if I hadn't opened a store.  I'm certainly not suited, at this point, to do anything else.  So I guess I'm in it for the  long haul.  Just remember, starting next Tuesday, Alice and I will be open 5 days a week, from noon until 6:30. Thanks for supporting an independent bookstore.

Welcome to my April Fool's joke on myself.

Greg

He's Gone

But not forgotten.

Sir Terry Pratchett died today.  Lisa and I were driving to Milwaukee to attend OperaCon with my old friend, Somtow Sucharitkul, when we got a text from my son William that told us of Terry's death.  William was so devastated that he ended up leaving his class and going to his dorm to cry for 20 minutes.  He says that Terry taught him how to laugh.  I had no idea that Terry Pratchett meant so much to William but it does not surprise me.  We read some of Terry's books to a very young William, he did get to listen to Terry talk and was fortunate enough to meet him and have a meal or two with him.  We will all miss him very, very much.

I think it's my turn to cry.

Greg

big Big BIG News!

Here is my official Press Release:

DreamHaven is Back!

DreamHaven Books owner Greg Ketter is proud to announce a new partnershipwith an old partner.  Alice Bentley, co-founder and former partner with Ketter in our Chicago bookstore, The Stars Our Destination, is now coming to Minneapolis to work with Ketter to allow DreamHaven to once again maintain a full schedule of open days.

Bentley and Ketter opened The Stars Our Destination in 1988 and in 1994 Bentley became sole owner of the store. She eventually closed the store in 2004 and moved to the Seattle area.  Because she just couldn’t get book selling out of her system, she is moving to Minneapolis to help oversee and revitalize the local bookstore icon.

DreamHaven Books was founded by Ketter on April 1, 1977 in the north end of St. Paul. Moving to Minneapolis a year later, Ketter has weathered various location changes, recessions, road constructions, changing buying habits, new technologies and his own changing tastes.  With mounting debts and dwindling customers, he moved the store to “its final location” at 2301 E. 38th St. in South Minneapolis almost 7 years ago and decided to downsize and run the shop by  himself. Nearly two years ago he reduced hours to only Wednesdays and “Saturdays he was in town” and did much of his business online and at various Science Fictionconventions around the country.

Now, with Bentley arriving in early April, the store will be open Tuesdays  through Saturdays, from Noon until 6:30 pm.  “We’re both very excited to be working together again” says Ketter.  “We’ve been friends forever and have always made a great team. There will be some visible changes throughout the store, as we fight about what’s right and what’s wrong with the current store, as well as less visible things”.  First up will be stocking more new books again, something Ketter has let slip in favor of used and rare books. “The store has the largest inventory it’s ever had and we have to reduce it back to more manageable levels. So there will be special sales in the near future”.

Bentley adds "I look forward to using my love of working retail and my delight with speadsheets as ways to return to immersing myself in the world of speculative fiction. Expect many lists to emerge."

For more information and updates, please check out the DreamHaven website (dreamhavenbooks.com)


Ta Da!
I received a fairly excited call yesterday from my son, William (or "Will" as he's beginning to be known in college) that he was cast in Sondheim's Assassins, playing John Hinkley.  He gets to sing a love duet with Squeaky Fromme.  It looks like we'll be making an extra trip out to New York (Hofstra University) to catch the play; luckily, it's on the one weekend in April I don't have a convention or some other event.

Excuse me, I have to go listen to the original cast recordning now; I've never listened ot the music before.....

Greg

Borderlands Books

Borderlands Books is a wonderful store in San Francisco specializing in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, some of the things I myself specialize in.  Owner Alan Beatts and manager Jude Feldman have built an amazing structure for the SF community in the Bay Area by running a very tidy store, hosting many events, producing a very useful (and funny) e-newsletter and providing a great place for fans to meet each other and feel a part of something.  They even opened a cafe next door a few years ago which serves yummy food.

Sadly, the bookstore is closing before the end of March.  I feel as if a dagger is thrust into my heart everytime we lose a fine bookstore like Borderlands.  Personally I live for books and for bookpeople.  I love to read books, collect books, talk books so every time we lose another great outlet for books I feel a bit diminished.  I've visited their store a few times and I've visited with Alan and Jude at conventions ever more times.  They're both bright, engaging and energetic people (as opposed to to my own slothish self), and I feel reinvigorated after a talk or a meal with them.  I'm sure both of them will land firmly on their feet and do many more amazing things, maybe even something to do with books.  I sure hope so and I look forward to seeing them somewhere downt he road where we can talk about the books, the people who buy them, and what we all want to do when we grow up.

Greg 
George R.R. Martin has shot down a favorite fan theory about the character "Coldhands" in his Song of Fire and Ice series.  

So I still have a chance at being this mysterious character who is possibly a man from the Wall.  George used my name as a character on the Wall on page 466 of the first book ("...but when Hake and Dywen tried to tie one(a dead body)  onto a horse, the animal went mad, screaming and rearing, lashing out with its hooves, even biting at Ketter when he ran to help."   Next, I email George with my suggestion.....

Greg

Je Suis Charlie

I'm just very sad today.

Counting Down.....and down.....and....

Another year gone by.  Where do they go?  It's all whirring by so fast.

I hope everyone has a safe New Year's Evening and a prosperous 2015.  I had hoped to make up the lost business from last Jan/Feb/Mar during the rest of 2014.  It was not meant to be.  So I'm optimistically looking to 2015 to make up the difference.  To that end, I will be having more sales to move more of my ever-increasing stock.  I've marked down a load of graphic novels and more comics, I've put out many new collectible paperbacks and I'm marking down a lot of the existing stock.  I'm marking many hardcovers down to only a buck.  Please buy my shiny books.

Happy New Year.

Greg