Author Event!

With the perspective of a mountaineer as well as a scholar, David Gilligan presents the geological and ecological story behind the ‘beautiful scenery’ of California. Readers who have enjoyed John Muir and, more recently, John McPhee will revel in this interpretation of the dynamic rhythms that shape our planet.

-Dr. Roderick Frazier Nash, Professor Emeritus of History and Environmental Studies, UCSB, and author of Wilderness and the American Mind

Rise of the Ranges of Light: Landscapes and Change in the Mountains of California

by David Scott Gilligan

Come enjoy a reading and discussion with scholar, author and mountaineer David Gilligan on his latest book. In his own words, it’s “a continuation, or modern rendition of, and surely a tribute to Muir’s classic work The Mountains of California.”

California is a place of intense and immediate tectonic activity, varied climate, and diverse habitats, and it is a place where stunning arrays of life meet and intermingle. California is also one of the newest places on Earth, freshly hewn, young and full of vitality, a place where one can literally watch the world in the making.

Rise of the Ranges of Light combines captivating first-person narrative with science writing to tell the story of the ever-changing landscapes of California. Picking up where John Muir left off in the classic The Mountains of California, Gilligan takes the reader on a tour of California’s mountains to show how forces of expansion and contraction have manifested themselves for over five hundred million years to create everything we know.

Event details:

When: Sunday, August 12th–6:30 p.m.

Where: Spellbinder Books

What: Reading and discussion

About the Author:

David Gilligan is a naturalist and a writer. He has taught natural history courses and led exploratory wilderness expeditions for Prescott College, the Sierra Institute, and Sterling College, where he is currently a professor. His work and personal interests have taken him far afield to mountain and northern regions around the globe. His other books include The Secret Sierra, In the Years of the Mountains, and I Believe I’ll Go Canoeing.


Is self-publishing for you?

Print-on-demand technology has made publishing easier and more accessible to writers. If you already have a self-published book, congratulations! If you would like Spellbinder to carry your book, please take the time to read our full description of our policy and philosophy on carrying self-published books before you contact us. If you think you might be interested in self-publishing your book, make sure you understand the advantages and limitations.

Limitations of self-publishing:

  • Books often appear in print without the benefit of professional editing, quality production, proofreading, and evaluation of marketing and distribution. Many books we are asked to carry contain so many typo’s, misspellings, grammatical errors and unclear writing that we cannot in good conscience offer them for sale. 
  • Retail price will likely be higher, which will make the book more difficult to sell. Many of the self-published or print-on-demand books we are asked to carry are overpriced compared to similar books. A surprising number of writers acknowledge they themselves have never paid a similar price for a similar book from an unknown writer and an unknown publisher with no objective reviews!
  • Self-published authors cannot exclusively be writers. They must wear many hats: editor, layout person, printer, packager, marketer, distributor, lawyer and accountant. Or, they must hire people to do these things for them, which can be expensive.  Visit our Spellbinder website for tips on how to promote your book.
  • You must pay upfront costs for printing your book. There is no guarantee that you will see a return on your investment.

Advantages of self-publishing:

  • You have more control of the whole publishing process, and can make your own decisions about marketing, look, and distribution.
  • If an author has a niche market they know well or have more access to than a publisher, then self-publishing might be in their best interest in order to reach that particular market.
  • Your book will be published much more quickly than if you were to wait for a publisher to do it for you.
  • You have the potential to make more money from each book sold. However, there is a downside, which is discussed above. While authors who go the traditional route in publishing make 10 percent off the selling price, self-published authors can make 40 to 60 percent. At Spellbinder, we sell self-published books on consignment, which means we don’t pay the author upfront for the books. However, authors make 70 percent for each book sold.

We are a small bookstore with limited funds, and the number of requests we receive from authors for us to carry their books has increased exponentially over the last couple years.  Therefore, it has become necessary to develop a written explanation of our policies, to save time and avoid misunderstanding. Before contacting us about your book, please take a few minutes to read about our philosophy of and policies for self-published and print-on-demand books at our website.

No bookstore can carry every published title, whether from a major publisher’s list or a self-published author, and many factors influence our decisions. Of principal importance is whether the book will sell in our store.  We consider the subject, production quality, retail price, reading tastes of our customers, terms, and our judgment of the writing and editing. We review thousands of books each year and we decline many books, including those by well-known and award-winning writers, if they are not a good match for our store. Again, if you think your book may be a good match for us, please review our more extended description of policies and philosophy on our store website.

Take the One Book Pledge!

Help keep our community strong by taking the One Book Pledge! Buy one more book from us, and one less from chain stores, other online sellers or other retailers.

We can’t tell you how many of our customers come in and tell us some variation of: “I love your bookstore! I just got a Kindle, but I still love coming into bookstores.”

To this, we politely nod and say something along the lines of, “We appreciate your business.” But what each of our staff struggles not to say (for fear of sounding rude) is that with every book downloaded to a Kindle instead of bought at our store, we have a less likely chance of keeping our bookstore open for Kindle-lovers to come enjoy.

Don’t get us wrong. We have nothing against Kindle owners. But we do stand against Kindles. We realize Kindle owners are book lovers like us! They want to read, read, read!  And of course we couldn’t be happier about that!  But it’s the sad truth that Kindles and (maker of Kindle) could very well be the demise of bookstores. We know Amazon isn’t going away, so we must do everything we can to keep Amazon from erasing us from our community.

This is why we ask you to please make the One Book Pledge. We’re not asking you to throw away your Kindle, stop shopping on Amazon (although it would be great if you did!), or visiting Barnes & Noble. Instead, we’re asking you to simply buy one more book from us and one less book from chain stores, other online sellers or other retailers.

Every little bit helps.

We can’t thank our customers enough for continuing to keep us in the community.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Spellbinder!

Since Valentine’s Day is fast-approaching, we thought we should share an excerpt from one of our favorite books in the store, Listomania: A World of Fascinating Facts in Graphic Detail (Harper Design, $25.99). On page 233, this fabulously funny and interesting book lists “15 Critters with Strange Mating Rituals.” Here are eight for you to enjoy:

PORCUPINE: Female porcupines are only in the mood for one day a year. To check if she’s interested, a male stands on his hind legs and, from 6 feet (2 m) away, urinates on her. If she’s into him, she shows her belly; lovemaking ensues.

WHITE-FRONTED PARROTS: One of the only creatures besides humans to kiss, these birds add their own flourish. After they cuddle, lock beaks, and flick their tongues together, the male vomits on the female to show his commitment.

GARTER SNAKE: A female may be courted by up to 100 males, who form a “mating ball” around her in hopes of getting it on. Only one lucky male gets close enough, but he then has to make a crucial choice: Which of his two penises does he use?

HEDGEHOG: The male hedgehog’s way of attracting a mate involves walking around and around the female hedgehog, sniffling and snorting. This can go on for hours until she decides she is ready to mate; often she just wanders off.

ELEPHANT: These massive beasts are actually pretty sweet to each other–nuzzling, twisting their trunks together, and even “french kissing” with their trunks. Oh, he also samples her urine to make sure she’s in heat before sealing the deal.

AUSTRALIAN REDBACK SPIDER: Females require the males to perform an elaborate dance for more than an hour. During the dance, the male aligns his stomach with her mouthparts. If he stops early, he’s eaten; if he finishes in a timely fashion, he is also eaten.

BLUE CRAB: Female blue crabs only mate during molting, when their shells are soft. Before and after mating, the male cradles and carries the female to protect her from predators, until her shell hardens and she’s safe again.

ANGLERFISH: The male anglerfish attaches himself to a (much larger) female permanently and lives his entire adult life as her sidekick, providing sperm when she requires.

If you like what read, there’s more fun facts to be found in Listomania: A World of Fascinating Facts in Graphic Detail, such as “9 Things that Were Lost in Space,” “8 Animals that Darwin Ate,” “12 Products that Radiation ‘Improved,'” “23 Famous Conspiracy Theories,” “15 Unlikely Intoxicants,” “28 Prehistoric Creatures Named for Famous People or Cool Things.”

Drop by the Spellbinder and pick up or order your own copy today!

And, Happy Valentine’s Day to all you crazy critters!

World Book Night

World Book Night is an international event designed to share the love of books and reading by finding 50,000 volunteer ‘book givers’ to give away a million free books!
April 23rd is UNESCO’s World Book Day, and World Book Night is a non-profit founded by publishers, booksellers, and many others in the book industry throughout the United States, the U.K., and the Republic of Ireland.  Their Board has selected a list of thirty books to choose from – it’s a broad list with a little bit of everything represented on it – and the publishers have donated special editions of their books.  You simply register on the World Book Night web site and indicate your first, second and third choice titles from the list.  If you’re selected as a book giver, you’ll receive 20 copies of your title to give out for free on World Book Night!
To sign up to be a book giver, you must register by February 1st
The registration process is easy and only takes a few minutes.  We at Spellbinder have registered to be a pick-up point for books, and are working with the youth center Wunut Novi to co-host a free book party at their building on World Book Night.  If you would like to participate, please register now!  You are more than welcome to come along to our party, or to design one of your own.  Just remember, the idea of World Book Night is to pass free books along to people who, for whatever reason, might not read very often. 

If you have any questions, check out the World Book Night web site or feel free to contact us at the store.  As avid readers, we think this is going to be really fun, and we hope you can join us!

“The A Word”: Part 3- See it here. Buy it here. Keep us here.

Imagine, if you will, that one day you’re driving down Main Street and you see signs taped on Spellbinder’s windows that read: “Going out of business SALE!” and “Everything must go!” In response, you wander into the bookstore, only to find that most of the shelves are bare. The store looks empty, desolate. You buy a few books, and then realize this will be the last time you buy a few books, or any book, at Spellbinder. The next time you drive down Main Street, you notice that Spellbinder is just an empty storefront. It occurs to you that now a few of the only places in town to browse new books are Kmart and Vons.

Luckily, this is not Spellbinder’s reality.


We’re doing our very best to stick around. And we appreciate the efforts of our regular customers who are doing their best to keep us here! Thanks! But the book industry is evolving, and in response, we’re trying to adapt to the changes. For example, we revamped our web site, started a blog, made eBooks available through our web site, started a freqent shoppers program, and brought more unique gift items into the store.

We’re trying to do our part, but we need our customers to meet us halfway. That means continuing to shop with us, encouraging other people to stop by our store, and telling friends that if they really want an e-Reader, they should buy any model but a Kindle (because that way, you can buy eBooks through us and not exclusively through Amazon!).

One thing we can’t do is match Amazon’s discounts. As a small bookstore and not a megacorporation, we can’t afford to sell books at a net loss like Amazon. We don’t have stock to fall back on. But we can offer certain things that Amazon can’t.  We can provide helpful customer service from real people who really love books. Our knowledgeable staff loves to meet your reading needs and provide you with in-person recommendations and staff picks. We’ve heard from some customers that all they need to do is look at our “staff picks” wall to find their next great read. We’ll even take the time to look up that one book (you can’t remember the name of it) by that one author (who you can’t remember the name of) that had a blue cover (or was it yellow?). An Amazon search engine can’t do that for you.

Amazon also can’t offer that valuable “third place.” The notion of the “third place” comes from the idea that as society becomes increasingly busy, people need a third place other than work and home to connect with people on a real level. We hope that Spellbinder Books provides a sanctuary for those seeking quiet, a meeting place for old friends, and comfortable atmosphere to sit back, sip on coffee and dive into a really good book. We also host events like author readings, concerts, book club meetings, kids’ activities and parties to gather the community in the “third place” we’re trying to create and preserve here in Bishop.

We hope people recognize and appreciate Spellbinder’s services to the community. We try to give back to our customers with small things like free gift wrapping, our frequent shoppers program, and serving as an adjunct visitors center for tourists. But we also give back to the community in big ways like providing local employment, raising close to $10,000 for ICARE and giving discounts to schools. Can Amazon match that?  Nope.

So, if you see a book in our store that you really want, don’t look up Amazon’s competing prices on your smart phone. Instead, recognize that it feels good to be standing in a bookstore browsing through books and that the price you’re paying for your book in Spellbinder will help keep us around a little longer. If you see it here, then buy it here. That way, you will keep us here.  Thanks!

Fleur Jack- Live in Concert!

Wednesday, September 21st

We are excited to announce that we will be hosting Kiwi musician Fleur Jack for her Bishop appearance on her upcoming tour! Singer, songwriter and guitarist Fleur Jack is bringing her fabulous voice and unique style of acoustic folk music to Bishop….all the way from Auckland, New Zealand!!!

Come enjoy an evening of great music– let’s give Fleur our very best Bishop welcome.

Potluck at 6pm

Music at 7pm

Donation at door — suggested minimum: $5.00

To learn more about Fleur and hear a sampling of her music, visit