Data Entry Doldrums

It’s POS madness down at Malvern this week, as we go about the cumbersome business of entering more than four-thousand titles into our Point of Sale system. (BTW, if you find inventory management sexy—and what sane person doesn’t?—you really should be reading the Point of Sale Blog, where you can keep up with all the latest industry gossip vis-à-vis thermal paper sensitivity.) Naturally, our POS system looks exactly like the one below, except the pizza is a picture of Solzhenitsyn and the avocado is Anne Carson:

pos6In other colorful photographic news, pictured below we have: evidence of our hard work; a custom-built display stand showcasing a few copies of one of our favorite journals; and Malvern by night, with Mr. Pirate keeping a watchful eye on our brand new counter.

Data Entry

Display Stand

Malvern at Night

Shiver Me Timbers

Ahoy there, Malverns! I hope this day of Wōden finds you well. (That is the nerdiest sentence I have ever written. Ever.) Our householdy week got off to a thrilling start when Cat #3 made the unusual choice to turn on a faucet while we were out, thus flooding half the apartment and causing the living room floorboards to adopt a rather jaunty, pyramid-like appearance. Needless to say, Cat #3 has been ordered to get a part-time retail position to help pay for the clean up. Cat #3 is not very happy about this. (I’d avoid the Forever 21 at Esperanza Crossing for the next few months.)

And from buckling to swashbuckling… allow me to introduce you to the newest, saltiest member of the Malvern team:

Pirate

Yes, we have a pirate! And a very handsome fellow he is. Our beautiful buccaneer has yet to be named (suggestions, anyone?), but I’m sure we’ll have a suitable moniker in time for next week’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed the blue sign to the left of our rogue and wondered if Malvern Books had made the sensible decision to serve rum with its poetry. Alas, we have not: wassailing R not us. The grog license application belongs to our new neighbors, Vapor Joe’s, an “E-Cigarette and Custom Beer Lounge.” Yes folks, if your To Do list requires you to purchase some pirate-approved poetry, do some bong comparison shopping, rent a DVD, and light up an electronic cigarette, well, you will soon be able to tackle all your chores at once down on ol’ West 29th Street. We can’t wait to see you!

It’s A Sign!

It’s official: Malvern Books is all lit up. Thanks to the good people at Ion Art, we now have a spiffy new neon sign, and we couldn’t resist taking a few pics of its arrival and installation:

Sign 1

Sign 2

Sign 3

Sign 5

In other Malverny news, the adorably named Shelf Awareness kindly gave us a plug in a recent issue. (I am using the word plug figuratively, of course; it would have been rather strange of them to give us an actual plug, though lord knows plugs always come in handy.) Thanks to everyone who read the article and tweeted at/about us—prepositions are tricky in this social media age, no?—and/or stopped by this here blog. We’re delighted to make your virtual acquaintance, and we look forward to making your real-life, pants-’n’-all acquaintance when the store opens (which will be very, very soon).

And finally… what have we here? Two cheerful blokes larking about in the Small Press Distribution warehouse?

SPD Order

Yes, indeed. And those boxes they’re standing in front of? Why, it’s only the largest single indie bookstore order ever to leave their warehouse… and it’s on its way to yours truly! Get your hand-trucks ready, Malverinos, there’s some lugging to be done.

Let There Be Light(s)

And at once there was light! Well, not at once. It took quite a while. Lights can be tricky sausages. Here are a few photos from our illuminating day, featuring (from top to bottom) the hive of industry; two determined blokes wrestling with a nineteenth-century French hanging light that weighs about as much as a St. Bernard; and a selection of our Swinging Sixties swingers (by which I mean pendant lights, obvs).

lights3 lights1a Lights

Deliverance

Why, hello there! What have we here? A delivery? Could it be a lifetime’s supply of loofahs? A big ol’ bunch of chutney we bought online whilst drunk? Or maybe it’s that giant self-assembly cat tree we’ve had on our Petco wishlist for-evah?

Delivery 1

Nah, don’t be daft. It’s just books. 1,700 POUNDS OF BOOKS! Malvern Books’ first ever shipment! Here they are in our storage room, waiting patiently to strut their literary stuff on our bookshelves…

Delivery 2

And speaking of shelves, they’re coming along nicely, thank you. Two of them are featured below (yes, they’re a work in progress). We plan on having some more, because although we are by no means spatial savants, we have estimated that these two shelves will not hold all of our books.

Shelves

Of course, the arrival of our first shipment was not without drama. It goes something like this: a few days prior to delivery, we meet with Pat, our taciturn but ever-so-efficient contractor, and he casually mentions that we need to install all our pendant lights before we can have an electrical inspection. Sure, makes sense. No big deal. I mean, we haven’t actually bought any pendant lights yet—we want to get a feel for the semi-finished place before we make our selections—but whatever, we’ll get around to it. Sensing our lack of urgency vis–à–vis hanging illumination, Pat sighs. Is it possible our charming bureaucratic naïveté is beginning to irk? Surely not! Pat calmly points out that without an electrical inspection, we can’t get a Certificate of Occupancy. Okay, fine. Again, what’s the rush? We’ll go pick out some lights, install ’em, get an electrician to sign a piece of paper stating that our lights are as harmless as a cotton ball on a cat’s nose, and then the C of O shall be ours. Chill, Patrick! But alas, there’s more. Because apparently one cannot accept inventory shipments without a Certificate of Occupancy. And we have 1,700 pounds of books arriving any day now. Oh, holy mother of poop.

Needless to say, a glorious panic attack was had by all. Some bleepy words may have been uttered. Arguments may have been had concerning whose living room would be most suitable for the temporary storage of four-thousand books. Thankfully, we learned of the existence of a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy, also known as the world’s most splendid piece of a paper, which can be obtained (for rather a hefty sum) in the absence of an electrical inspection. Hallelujah.

Of course, after paying a small fortune for this blessed piece of paper, it turned out we didn’t need it after all. A jolly (tipsy?) electrical inspector stopped by, was utterly unconcerned by the not-yet-pendantic pendant lights, and merrily gave us the thumbs up. This caused us to make the rare harumphyay sound, a combination of a harumph and a yay, which is only ever used to express the combination of relief and frustration one experiences upon learning that one has unnecessarily spent a small fortune in order to avoid filling one’s living room with books. Harumphyay, y’all, but with an emphasis on the yay, because we. have. books.

Malvern Books FAQ: Part I

I wonder who decided it was a FAQ? What’s wrong with a FLART (Folks Like Asking Repetitive Things)? Or maybe even an OPRAH (Often People Request Answers Habitually)? In any case… questions, we get asked ’em. Frequently. Here are some answers:

1. When do you open?

Because we have carpet, a phone, and a flushing toilet, the answer is: soon. Because we do not yet have shelves, the answer is also: not this week! At this stage, we’re going to say September. Check back soon for more information.

Malvern Books

2. You’re opening an independent bookstore in this financial climate? Are you insane?

We get this a lot. And it’s quite possible we are insane, but I don’t believe our crushing looniness is evident in our decision to open a bookstore (it’s much more evident in our passion for Coronation Street and Eggo Drizzlers). It’s actually, believe it or not, quite a good time to be opening a bookstore—the American Booksellers Association tells us indie bookstores experienced record sales in 2012, and articles like this and this suggest your local bookstore is making a comeback. We fully intend to be a part of this revival…

3. Doesn’t Austin already have an independent bookstore?

You’re probably thinking of BookPeople. Yes, BookPeople is an indie bookstore, and a very good one. We like BookPeople (and book people) very much indeed. However, we believe Austin can support another shop o’ books. For one thing, ATX is now the fastest growing city in the country. (Yikes.) And BookPeople often has a fully booked events calendar, which suggests there’s room for another community venue for your literary shenanigans. Also, we’ll be concentrating on small press literature, works in translation, and local authors, so our focus is a little different. If you want Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, you go to BookPeople; if you want Let’s Explore Owls with Diabetes, the intensely moving Latvian poetry collection, or Let’s Give Owls Exploratory Diabetes, the controversial novel by local anti-owl oddball Mike Fisherpants, you come to us. Capiche?

4. What on earth is Malvern? It’s a weird name!

Thanks for that question, Maurice McDungbeetle. You have a weird name too, but whatever. The long story: the name Malvern was chosen in honor of the great Medieval poet William Langland and his epic poem entitled The Vision of Piers Plowman. Alas, very few people read Langland anymore—the want of a firm grounding in medieval literature is clearly what is wrong with young people these days (that and sizzurp)—and we usually get a squinty, quizzical stare when we start banging on about the adventures of young Piers. For this reason, we have decided that the best answer to the question “What on earth is Malvern?” is this:

Malvy

This is Malvern. You can call him Malvy if you want. He has taken up residence next to the public restroom, and we are teaching him to roar angrily whenever someone tries to steal a chapbook. If you rub his nose, it will bring you good luck. Or boils. (Currently too small a sample size to say.) Isn’t he handsome? He can’t wait to make your acquaintance.