4 February 08 | Chad W. Post

Along with a few other independent booksellers and librarians, Karl Pohrt — owner of the amazing Shaman Drum Bookshop — went to China to attend the Beijing Book Fair, and give this speech on independent bookselling in America.

Additionally, he’s wrote a daily blog about the trip, which can be found in its entirety here.

Karl’s back in the States now, but has a couple of thoughts about the trip that are definitely worth sharing. Below is the first post. The second one—all about “deep literacy”—will go up later today.


A week and one day later, still jet lagged and sleeping badly, I fly down to Louisville, Kentucky for the American Booksellers Association Third Annual Winter Institute. Sarah McNally, Rick Simonson and Paul Yamazaki are here.

Paul’s report of our trip to his boss Lawrence Ferlinghetti pleased Mr. Ferlinghetti so much that he inscribed copies of Poetry As Insurgent Art for each of us. I am enormously touched.

“This must feel like the ultimate summer camp experience for you guys,” someone tells me during dinner. “You must feel incredibly bonded with the people you were with.”

Actually, it feels much stranger than that. Reentry following this trip has been difficult for me.

It will pass, I suppose.

Rick Simonson is posting a blog of the trip here.

You can read an interview with Allison Hill here.

Certainly we’re not the first western booksellers to visit China, as I was reminded when I saw my friend Tom Hallock, Director of Sales and Marketing at Beacon Press, this weekend in Louisville. In 1990 Tom taught English in Beijing, and he wrote a graceful essay, An American Bookman In Beijing, for the American Bookseller magazine. You can read Tom’s essay here.


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