On Sunday, Sept. 11, the OnMilwaukee.com Intern Team will host the Bay View Bookswap at Humboldt Park from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The event encourages people to bring their used books to swap out for others donated by Boswell Books and those brought in by other people. Participants can take one book for every two donated, and can also buy books for just $1 apiece if they don't have anything to trade or want to buy beyond what they trade for.
All swappers get automatically entered to win a free e-Reader.
The bookswap will feature live music from Keanen Kopplin at 11 a.m. and Tony Memmel at 1 p.m., along with paper-making workshops from the Urban Ecology Center, book discussions with Broad Vocabulary, kid-friendly activities and story times, the Living Photo Booth Project and board and lawn games including giant human checkers.
OnMilwaukee.com recently checked in with Daniel Goldin, proprietor of Boswell Books, and chatted with him about reading, swapping and the emotional attachment some have to books.
OnMilwaukee.com: In the past five years, how has the book industry changed? This is a huge question, I know.
Daniel Goldin: It's crazy. Almost impossible to sum up. Basically, I can't predict what's going to happen six months down the road. It's pretty much day-to-day, there are so many changes. But the biggest change has been the rise of the eBook.
OMC: Has the eBook been helpful or devastating for your business?
DG: It's definitely affected our business. But the hard-copy book business is still large. The entire industry is fragile. We started selling eBooks through Google Books for every device except Kindles, but it's less than one percent of our business. People who buy our eBooks do it because they want to support Boswell. But really, what people like about our store, and why they keep coming back, is because we have physical books and really cool sections and other interesting finds.
OMC: Do people generally prefer eBooks or physical books, one or the other, or do a lot of readers, in your opinion, appreciate both?
DG: There are people who prefer one or the other, as well as people who jump back and forth. There are so many factors, including the cost of the hard copy book vs. the eBook, the quality of the book, the availability of the book. It's really complicated, but it has been interesting as a business person trying to make it work. But as long as we're still talking about books, we're still reading, and that's the important part.
OMC: Why did you want to be a part of the bookswap?
DG: It's a community thing for us. We do a lot of events with the library, too. We'll be hosting eight kids events in public libraries this fall. We don't sell very many books at these events, but part of the deal, like with the bookswap, is that we get the word out about our store and about authors. The bookswap was a good fit for us because we sell second-hand books so we had a lot on hand to donate. Also, I like Bay View and Humboldt Park is such a nice setting.
OMC: How many books did you donate?
DG: About 60. That's about $400-500 worth of books because they would sell for about $8 apiece in the store.
OMC: What's great about actual books vs. eBooks?
DG: Books can be passed around. They can be shared. A lot of people like seeing them in their houses. They are memories. People who don't understand books don't understand this. They learn from TV shows about organizing that you should get rid of the books that you aren't reading, but everyone who loves books believes the opposite. People who love books keep them around, like photos, to remind them of a great experience and so they can revisit and say, "Wow, this is a really great book."
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.